SOOKE HISTORY: The Richard Cains’ legacy

Richard Cains, a Newfoundlander, arrived in Sooke in 1890, and from that time until this week, when his grandson Richard (Dick) Cains passed on at the age of 97, the Cains name has been a staple of our community’s history.

The photo shows the vessel Britannia, one of several boats built by Cains, as it was anchored at Goodridge Peninsula in 1942. The backdrop for the photo is the Canadian National Railway, now the Galloping Goose, on its route just a bit east of Coopers Cove.

While Richard Cains was a mariner who sailed around the Horn to reach our west coast and became a sealer, his real love was boatbuilding. In 1902 he built a 60 foot sloop called Western Slope, an event so significant in the tiny Sooke community of a few hundred souls that a school holiday was declared at her launching

In 1896 he married Margaret, one of six daughters of William Bell Charters. They raised a daughter Jessie who married Sooke farmer, Ralph Strong, and two sons, William and Kenneth, who established Sooke’s first service garage in the mid-1920s. The Cains brothers operating for half a century at a Sooke Road location that later became a welding shop for Rasmus Rabien and headquarters for Sooke Backhoe. Today this structure has been converted back, and is a four-bay service garage known as West Shack.

William Cains married Irene Arden, and raised a son Richard who earned a degree in mechanical engineering, expanding his interest beyond the garage to sawmilling and land development. He married a girl from another well-known family, Mary Stephenson (yes, sister to Sooke’s longtime fire-fighting volunteer Bill Stephenson). Those who have bought homes with a wonderful view at Mount Matheson, owe their fine subdivision location to Richard Cains the younger. One of those streets bears the name Cains Way, while another is called Western Slope.

As Richard and Mary raised three daughters, Diane, Heather and Debbie, but no sons, and as Ken and Jean Cains had one son Stanley who was childless, there is no one left to carry on the Cains name in Sooke today. In 2005 a tiny waterfront lot on Water Street was dedicated by the family to the District of Sooke, and a Heritage Shield sign honours this history.

Aboard the Britannia in this 1942 scene are Cains members, and Strongs, Lorimers, Charters, Stephensons, and Hansons, while the venerable “Poppa” Cains stands guard on shore.

•••

Elida Peers is the historian of Sooke Region Museum.

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Saanich woman runs marathons to make dreams come true

Hempler gutted her way through 122 kms with minimal breaks, to support Help Fill a Dream Foundation

Tsartlip canoe team pulls for international glory in Australia

Geronimo Canoe Club paddles to Victoria to kick-start fundraising

Average housing prices would have to drop by $413,000 for Victoria to become affordable

Alternatively, salaries need to increase to $134,000 per year, more than double current levels

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Revamped B.C. Lions set to battle veteran Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Lions’ first test of the season will be a big one

No business case for Trans Mountain expansion, says former environment minister

Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday

LETTER: British Columbia’s forest industry crisis being made worse

Andrew Wilkinson warns of regulatory overload by John Horgan’s NDP

Convicted B.C. child abductor Randall Hopley back in custody 6 months after release

Correctional Services Canada could not provide further details due to privacy concerns

Three Albertans land ‘monster’ sturgeon in B.C.’s Fraser River

For angler who landed the exceptionally large sturgeon it was an ‘incredible dream come true’

Most Read