With all of the programs on television about the new gold rush, it may be of interest to local students to know that Sooke had it’s own gold rush.
In 1864 gold was discovered in Leechtown in the hills past the Sooke potholes. A town of 3,000 sprang up quickly and led to lots being sold in the town site of Sooke. Many settled in Sooke after the gold rush was over. Interestingly enough though, is that the modern day has seen placer miners seeking gold in the Sooke River. They still pan for gold.
What is it that makes gold so special? Why do men and women seek their fortunes in the wilderness hoping for a flash in the pan of the elusive golden metal?
This is the theme for the annual Sooke Regional Historical Society essay contest. The Lure of Gold is the topic and coincides with the 150th annniversary of Leechtown.
Students in elementary, middle and high school or home-schooled can win cash for their Lure of Gold essays. A high school student’s entry could win them a total of $300. Elementary school students will be awarded five $50 cash prizes. Entries should be 50 to 150 words. Middle school students could wion one of three $75 cash prizes. Essays should be 100-300 words. High school entries should be between 300-400 words. Students from East Sooke to Port Renfrew can enter.
Over $1,000 in cash prizes will be awarded by the Sooke Lions Club, Royal Canadian Legion Br. 54, Sooke Community Association and the Vancouver Island Placer Mining Association. The VIPMA is awarding $500 in prizes.
The entry deadlines for elementary and middle grades is February 15 and for high school entries April 15. Awards will be given out at the Sookre Region Museum Open House on June 22. Entry forms will be in next week’s Sooke News Mirror. More information can be obtained by calling 250-642-6351.