The Sooke region is encompassed by the Capital Regional District (CRD) and includes Sooke and East Sooke, joined around the sheltered Sooke Harbour, as well as the outlaying areas of Otter Point and Shirley further west. The Sooke town core is governed by the District of Sooke, incorporated in December 1999.
Since the arrival of European settlers in the 1850s, the population of Sooke and Vancouver Island have grown significantly. In 2000, the population of East Sooke to Port Renfrew was approx. 10,000. The 25-54 age group represents the largest percentage of the population in the area, showing a robust work force potential.
The Sooke region was once Native North American territory and the T'Souke Native Band is still very active in the community today. The town history is well documented by the the Sooke Historical Society and the Sooke Region Museum.
At one time, a majority of Sooke residents were employed either directly or indirectly by the resource extraction industries of forestry, fishing and mining. With their downturn in the 1970s, Sooke's economy has shifted to tourism. Sooke has seen major population growth since 1990 and now many residents communite to work in Langford and Victoria.
The Sooke community has a vibrant volunteer spirit with several established annual community events.
Sooke's relaxed, rural lifestyle and relatively affordable housing make it attractive to seniors and young working families, who want to live in a small community with city amenities and opportunities nearby.
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As a rural community, only businesses and homes in the Sooke town core are serviced by city water mains and a sewer system, which began construction in 2004 and services 5500 residents. Homes and businesses outside the core are dependant on drilled wells for water and their own self-contained on-site septic systems.
Sooke does not have municipal garbage service. Garbage removal can be provided by Alpine Disposal. Recycling is provided by the CRD via blue box curbside pickup every two weeks. Check the CRD website for your recycle pickup days.
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Electricity is provided by the Crown corporation BC Hydro, generating 90% from hydroelectric dams. Home phone service, internet and/or cable television is provided by Telus or Shaw. Most of Sooke now has cell phone reception, expanding personal phone options.
Sooke region's emergency services include RCMP, ambulance service and five local fire departments: Sooke, Otter Point, East Sooke, Shirley and Port Renfrew.
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Outdoor recreational opportunities abound in Sooke with our year round mild climate and access to nature. Sooke has a swimming pool, arena and SK8 park. Sooke is also home to multiple sports teams for hockey, baseball, soccer and football.
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As part of School District 62, the Sooke region has five elementary schools (K-5), one middle school (6-8) and one high school (9-12). UVic, RRU and Camosun College offer world class post-secondary education within an hour commute to Victoria.
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There are several active churches providing services in Sooke. During the pandemic, many services have moved online.
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Sooke offers a library, post offices, museum,
Sooke has a clinic, but getting a doctor is difficult. Westshore Urgent Primary Care Centre is the closest walk-in clinic, 30min away at 582 Goldstream Avenue in Langford. Victoria General Hospital is the closest hospital, approx 30-45min away. Sooke offers multiple dentistry, optometry, massage, acupuncture, physiotherapy and chiropractic practitioners.
Sooke has a small, robust and growing local business scene in the town core with grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, liquor stores, pet stores, banks, hair salons, home and hardware stores, gift shops, cafes, gas stations and a laundromat.
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As a rural community, most residents require the use of a vehicle. Roads are moderately maintained. Mountain/Snow tires are required from October through April on the highway between Sooke and Langford as well as past Sooke. Sooke also has limited bus service on a couple of the main roads by BC Transit (Bus #61 Sooke).
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Much arable land has been removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) for housing development, so the area does not produce enough local food for the entire community. There is a honey farm and several small scale organic farmers, some of which sell at the Saturday Market or Thursday Night Market. There are chicken farms, but no cattle or pig farms.
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