Over the past 75 years the Sooke Community Hall has seen a lot of people and events within its walls.
Volunteer organizations use it for their monthly meetings. Kids have gone there for sports, and celebrated their success in annual banquets. Thousands of people have gathered over the years, for dances, festive events, or to mourn a dear departed friend.
“The construction of the hall more than 75 years ago is testament to the volunteer and community spirit that still thrives in the community today,” said Karl Linell, Sooke Community Association president.
It was the need for a community hall that spurred the creation of the Sooke Community Association in 1935. Early members of the association took on the task of organizing All Sooke Day – to bring the community together in celebration every year, and to raise funds to build and operate a community hall.
Volunteers began constructing the hall in 1936, and the completed hall opened its doors in 1937.
Today the hall is used by many local non-profit groups for meetings, storage and events. Every year, for example, the Lions Club sponsors a hard times dance. The Contact Loan Cupboard houses a stock of medical equipment that can be borrowed if needed. Meals on Wheels volunteers prepare meals in the kitchen and deliver to Sooke residents three times a week. The Sooke Fall Fair, which has grown into a weekend-long event in September, is held in the hall and the neighbouring Legion hall every year.
In celebration of the 75th anniversary, the Sooke Community Association is holding a day long Open Hall on Saturday, April 28, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. That night, the Sooke Lions Club is holding a dance beginning at 8 p.m.
The Open Hall will feature salmon BBQ samples and a Mini Logging Show. There will also be kids’ games, demonstrations by local sports groups, and displays by the many groups who use the hall.
“We’re really excited about welcoming the Sooke community and visitors to see how the community hall plays such a central role here, and also to have some fun and enjoy the day,” Linell said.
There is no charge for the Open Hall events and logging show. Dance tickets are $7.50 each and available at Shoppers or Peoples drugs.