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Sooke

Sooke, on southern Vancouver Island was the homeland of the T’sou’ke peoples and were favoured to live in an area where clams, game animals, roots, berries, and ducks were in abundance. They are said to be named after the ‘Stickle Back Fish’ that swam in river mouth by their land.
Captain Walter Colqohoun Grant of the Royal Scots Greys was the first independent immigrant to acquire land at Sooke harbour. This parcel of land was eventually taken over by the Muir family, and along with their four sons and one daughter, were largely responsible for the development of the area. The Muirs created markets for lumber from San Francisco to South America, Hawaii, and as far away as Australia. The Muirs built three stately homes on their land; two of which (The Woodside & The Burnside) are still standing today.
While it was Grant who had constructed a water-powered sawmill he is surprisingly best known for the brilliant yellow blossoms that he planted from Scottish broom seeds which can now be found from Alaska to California.
In the early 1900’s salmon fishing was the mainstay of Sooke’s economy. In addition to this, logging of douglas-fir, red Sitka spruce and hemlock also added greatly to the wealth of the area. Until a decade ago, it was the logging industry that contributed the most to the economy of both Sooke and the province of British Columbia.

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Sooke scenery

Real Estate in Sooke

Located just west of the provincial capital of Victoria, Sooke enjoys a robust business sections in the heart of the downtown core. Sooke is comprised of distinctly separate and unique areas such as:

  • The Village of Sooke
  • East Sooke
  • Broomhill,
  • Saseenos
  • Sooke River
  • West Coast Road
  • Whiffin Spit

Sooke real estate has seen significant increases in sales over the last few years largely due to several factors such as:

  • Vibrant business core
  • Quality of life
  • Buying power compared to nearby Victoria or Vancouver

Sales of all types of homes including single family, condos, townhouses as well as manufactured homes have seen a consistent increase from year to year. While prices overall have only increased by about 5% in the past couple of years, it is expected to continue in the coming years.

The demand for housing in the Sooke real estate market is steadily growing. The factors fueling this increase include:

  • Low interest rates
  • Regional growth
  • Vibrant markets in nearby Victoria as well as Vancouver

The purchase of Sooke real estate is becoming increasing popular with families that are being squeezed out of skyrocketing prices in more expensive areas such as Vancouver and even Toronto. Real estate in Sooke is more popular than ever among couples who are looking to affordable retirement as well as young families wanting to provide stability and a better quality of life for themselves and their children.

Attractions and Resources

Sooke has much to offer families and adults of all ages in terms of outdoor activities, culture, sports facilities, community resources, and excellent schools.

Edward Milne Community High School on Sooke road serves approximately 700 students from the town of Sooke and surrounding areas. The elementary school includes kindergarten to grade 5 students.

Policing in Sooke is the responsibility of The RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) and the town works with a dedicated volunteer fire department. Sooke does have a municipal water system in place however there are a number of areas that use private wells.

The temperate climate and natural landscape provides an abundance of activities for residents of all ages. Several beaches, Saturday markets, a great museum, art galleries, and whale watching are just some of the activities that one can experience. Other amazing adventures, most of which can be enjoyed year round, include:

  • Zip lining
  • Guided water tours
  • Surfing
  • Biking/hiking the Galloping Goose trail
  • Chartered sports fishing
  • Kayaking, and so much more

For a quality way of life that is steeped in history, Sooke is quickly becoming the place for young families to lay down roots and for couples looking for their dream retirement home.

Local Resources and Information

Area Attractions

Alyard Farm

As part of the East Sooke Regional Park system, Aylard Farm offers an easy walking trail. You can stop at a white sandy pocket beach to have a leisurely picnic and watch river otters at play. Ocean views, a rest shelter and easy walks through lush farmland, and old apple orchard and a costal forest environment make for a perfect day trip. Visitors can also use Aylard Farm as a starting point for the more challenging hike along Coast Trail. Eagles, geese, heron, sea lions and migrating grey whales also make this area their home and it’s always a special treat when they are spotted.

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East Sooke Regional Park

This oceanfront park is truly a hidden gem right in the heart of downtown Sooke on southern Vancouver Island. Easy walking trails, a fabulous boardwalk perfect for watching the sunset, along with events like movies under the stars in the summer months make this park a popular spot for nature lovers, wedding photo shoots and photographers. Take a minute to chat with local residents walking their dogs and stop to watch local crabbers and those who have come to do some fishing. Take some time to relax on the grass by a lovely little garden and some pear trees.

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Ed Macgregor Park

This oceanfront park is truly a hidden gem right in the heart of downtown Sooke on southern Vancouver Island. Easy walking trails, a fabulous boardwalk perfect for watching the sunset, along with events like movies under the stars in the summer months make this park a popular spot for nature lovers, wedding photo shoots and photographers. Take a minute to chat with local residents walking their dogs and stop to watch local crabbers and those who have come to do some fishing. Take some time to relax on the grass by a lovely little garden and some pear trees.

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Sooke Harbour House

Sooke Harbour House on the beautiful west coast of southern Vancouver Island is truly the epitome of luxury. From ocean and garden view rooms that are pet friendly to guest rooms that have been individually decorated, and private balconies, every day feels like a day in paradise. There is fine dining at its best using local and organic ingredients as well as many nearby activities and in-house workshops; your first stay at Harbour House will not be your last. Weddings, special, and corporate events will surpass even the most discerning of guests with attention to every detail by dedicated staff. It is truly an oasis of luxury that is less than a one hour drive from the provincial capital of Victoria.

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French Beach Provincial Park

About 20 km west of Sooke, along Highway 14, you’ll find French Beach Provincial Park. This 55 hectare oceanfront park has two areas, the camping area and the day use area. The day use part of French Beach offers a swath of pebble beach along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where visitors can take a dip in the cool water. There is a playground for the kids, as well as an accessible picnic area on a broad green lawn. Fishing is possible here, but canoeing and kayaking is strongly advised against, due to the strong ocean current. There are accessible pit toilets close to the parking lot, as well as next to the playground. In the camping area, which is open year-round, you’ll find 65 vehicle-accessible plots, as well as pit toilets, and firewood. Potable water and a sani-station are available during the summer, but not in the cooler months. All campsites can be reserved online, for $26 per campsite per night, at Discover Camping.

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Ella Beach

Ella Beach on southern Vancouver Island is a hidden oasis that is mostly only known and frequented by the local residents in and around the town of Sooke. One can walk along the beach or hike by towering cliffs as you get closer to town. Being in a beautiful sheltered cove, Ella Beach is a great spot for enjoying some amazing sunsets. You can watch sea lions and seals frolicking in the water as well as eagles and other ocean birds flying overhead. The beach is also home to a number of large Douglas Firs and Sitka Spruce trees which never grow more than 80km from the ocean. It is truly amazing to see how these magnificent trees have not only survived but adapted and flourish in what is otherwise the harsh salt-spray environment of the ocean.

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Tugwell Creek Honey Farm

This unique and innovative honey farm and Meadery is located in Sooke on southern Vancouver Island. They produce their own mead (honey wine) from the organic berries and honey that is made from their colony of wild foraged bees. One can take a guided or self-guided tour where you can see just how the bees make the honey (behind a glass wall) and then enjoy samples in their tasting room. Enjoy a day outing to Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery and learn the important role that bees have in our food production and the sustainability of our precious environment.

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Sooke Potholes

Located at the end of Sooke River Road, 5km from West Coast Highway 14, the Sooke Potholes Regional Park is one of the Capital Regional District’s most popular swimming holes. There are several scenic pebble beaches there, as well as the swimmable natural pools for which the park is named. The water is clear, and is surrounded by incredible rock formations. Picnic tables are available near the beginning of the park, as well as many kilometers of multi-use trail, courtesy of the Galloping Goose. Close to the ruins of the conference center, you’ll find two lookouts with incredible views that have to be seen to be believed. There are a handful of pit toilets and port-a-potties throughout the park. Although there are a few parking lots, finding a spot can be difficult, so it’s best to go early in the day.

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Sooke Region Museum

At 2070 Phillips Road, along Highway 14 about 40 minutes’ drive from Victoria, you’ll find the Sooke Regional Museum. Open daily, the museum’s hours are 9am to 8pm on Thursday, and 9am to 5pm Friday to Wednesday, and admission is by donation. The museum is instantly recognizable from the iconic Triangle Island Lighthouse, which stands at the corner of Highway 14 and Phillips Road. Built in 1910, it once graced the highest point of Triangle Island on Vancouver Island’s northern tip. Moss Cottage, the oldest pioneer home west of Victoria, is a popular feature of the museum. Visitors to the cottage can interact with “Aunt Tilly”, a charming interpretative guide in period costume who will chat while bustling about her turn-of-the-century household chores. In addition to the permanent exhibits, new and travelling exhibits are often hosted here, and as well as community social events.

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Sooke Marine Boardwalk

Sooke Marine Boardwalk in Sooke on southern Vancouver Island sits high above the ocean floor giving visitors a unique perspective of the ocean and area wildlife such as resident harbour seals and bald eagles flying overhead. It is a popular spot for local crabbers and fun to watch them reel in their traps teeming with their catch of the day. You can access the boardwalk from Ed Macgregor Park where people often stop for a leisurely picnic before heading to the pier. A romantic sunset stroll can be the perfect way to end the day after a romantic dinner or spending some time at a local pub in downtown Sooke. You may want to bring your camera along to capture the amazing ocean views as well as the beautiful colours of the setting sun.

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Sandcut Beach

Located on southern Vancouver Island, Sandcut Beach is part of the Jordan River Regional Park system along the Juan de Fuca Strait. Take a walk along a trail through a forest of Cedar trees and coastal Hemlock. Spend some time at the amazing waterfall where most days you will find children swinging on a rope. Stop for a picnic lunch on one of the many logs along the shoreline or by a campfire. This mostly pebble beach has some wonderful sandy areas where you can go for a swim and maybe even see a pod of whales. Make sure you have your camera ready when you arrive at the waterfall!

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Quimper Park

Quimper Park is a lovely park on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and located in Sooke on southern Vancouver Island. It is close to the downtown core and the perfect spot for a leisurely walk after enjoying a wonderful lunch in one the local restaurants. Benches along the way are ideal for stopping to take in some amazing views along the ocean front.

While at Quimper Park make sure to take an easy, leisurely walk along the Whiffen spit that takes you, on one side, along the Juan de Fuca Strait and the other side; the well protected Sooke Basin. You will see many of the residents walking their dogs and it’s not unusual to stop for a chat along the way. Be sure to bring a camera and binoculars if you can for that one-in-a-million photo or to spot whales in the distance.

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Matheson Lake Regional Park

Matheson Lake Regional Park is a quiet refuge established amongst a bushy rainforest at the base of a steep mountain. The park covers 157 hectares, including a fresh-water lake and heavily-forested ground at the base of Mount Matheson in Metchosin. It’s a perfect place to lay in the sun and or swim, the park brags excellent fishing and hiking opportunities. There is a super walk through the forest around the lake with helpful information points and amazing scenic views at various points along the walk. You’ll pass large some of the Douglas Firs, which have an edge of over 20 feet, and some are over a hundred years old! The Park also has a nice little beach and lake to swim in, located at the end of trail from the parking lot. The lake is clean, an attraction for swimmers of all levels including local athletes in a hot summer day to enjoy a refreshing dip and a picnic on the sandy beach area. The incredible mirror image the lake provides of the surrounding mountains and forest is truly awesome! The lake is protected by the surrounding hills and large trees which makes this a quiet refuge for people wanting to escape. It’s a wonderful spot!

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