Built in 1910, this shingle-faced structure was intended as a gathering place for group events. While not Sooke’s first hall (the old Charters Hall, one-half kilometre to the east was first), this one was built right smack where the three-storey Fedosenko building stands now at the corner of Sheilds Road.
It was a business venture, built by a group of three investors, Mrs. Carrie Throup, Dr. Richard Felton and John Murray, JP.
Note: the names Throup, Murray and Felton are remembered today by three streets bearing these names.
This photo was taken in 1915, during what was termed “The Great War” and the strong patriotism of the day may have been the reason for the prominent display of the British Ensign. The brick chimney is indicative of a wood-burning heater, and an outhouse at the right took the place of plumbing. Coal oil or gasoline lamps would have been in use.
Early meetings of the Sooke and North Sooke Womens’ Institute were held here, as well as early services of the Anglican Church, agricultural and flower shows and concerts. In the period when All Sooke Day was first started in 1934, a dance was an important part of the day’s program, and it was customary to hold one dance at the Charters Hall and another, featuring a different dance band, in this building. Not many cars were around then, and groups of revellers, young couples, would walk between the dances as they chose to vary the evening’s entertainment.
When the Sooke Community Association was incorporated in 1935, one of their goals was to build a hall large enough to accommodate a regulation basketball court and a large dance crowd. This early pioneer hall and the adjoining land were then purchased by the new non-profit community organization, which had a fine new hall in place by 1937.
The new venue was celebrated with a Hall Opening Dance on April 9th of that year, with a crowd, happy and proud, numbering 700 party-goers.
Sooke Region Museum