is an incorporated district municipality situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island
. About a 45 minute drive from the city of Victoria
(the capital of British Columbia
), Sooke is considered the westernmost of the Capital Regional District
's "Western Communities
." It is situated to the north and west of the Sooke Basin
, an ocean inlet often mistaken for a lake by first-time visitors. The District of Sooke's political boundary contains the entire basin up to the high tide mark even though Sooke only encompasses about 1/2 of the directly adjacent shore. East Sooke
is the unincorporated area to the south of Sooke which encompases the remaining uplands of the basin and is a peninsula of land that separating Sooke Basin from the Strait of Juan de Fuca
. Recent changes have led to some privately owned properties in East Sooke
legally joining Sooke against the desires of the majority of East Sooke residents (according to the prior referendum on whether or not all of East Sooke should join Sooke).
The population of Sooke is roughly 9,700. The town core straddles the Sooke Road
for about one kilometer. Off the highway, Sooke is a mix of growing residential subdivisions, small hobby farms
, larger working farms, light industry, and wilderness.
Sooke is proud of its past as a logging and fishing community, and All Sooke Days has been a popular annual event featuring lumberjack sports and competitions. Logging is still an important activity in the areas north and west of Sooke, and a small fishing fleet is still operated out of the Harbour. Many residents, however, are active in the local hospitality industry, or are commuters to jobs in the Victoria area. As such, Sooke has largely become a suburb of Victoria.
The current members on the Sooke Council are:
- Mayor Janet Evans
- Councillor Rick Armour
- Councillor Sheila Beech
- Councillor Ron Dumont
- Councillor Rick Kasper
- Councillor Brenda Parkinson
- Councillor Jen Smith
Sooke is a part of the School District 62 Sooke
There is one high school in Sooke, Edward Milne Community School, with 700 students. The junior high school, Journey Middle School, has a student base of around 500. There are four public elementary schools in the municipality of Sooke (Saseenos Elementary, Poirier Elementary, Sooke Elementary, and John Muir Elementary). Sooke Elementary is scheduled to be closed July 2008, and Saseenos Elementary is scheduled to be closed July 2012.
Tourism and recreation
Sooke's popularity as a scenic tourist destination has existed for generations. Famous destinations in Sooke, such as the Sooke Harbour House
, Whiffin Spit Park, and the Sooke Potholes Regional Park
and adjacent Sooke Potholes Provincial Park
attract visitors both locally and from around the world. The area's popularity has increased as a base for visiting the wilderness parks of Vancouver Island's southwest coast — the West Coast Trail
and the new Juan de Fuca Provincial Park
Mountain biking is growing in popularity in British Columbia, and Sooke is establishing itself as a destination for the sport. Local advocacy groups are working to have areas such as Broom Hill set aside as parkland.
The Galloping Goose Regional Trail, part of the Trans-Canada Trail, runs through Sooke and is a popular cycling route to Victoria.
Neighbourhoods of Sooke
(in order from east to west)
- North Sooke
- Milne's Landing
- Sooke Downtown Core or "UpSooke"
- Broom Hill
- Whiffin Spit
- Otter Point
- Kemp Lake