Observing the steady stream of people voting last Saturday, I remembered a similar scene 23 years ago.
We have been an incorporated municipality for more than two decades now, and our community has changed incredibly in that time. With many others following in their footsteps, these are the faces that started it all.
Here are Sooke’s first mayor and the first six councillors after the December 1999 election. They look pretty pleased with themselves, quite naturally, as they made history. Second from the left is Mayor Ed Macgregor, wearing a white sports shirt. Ed Macgregor Park on West Coast Road is named after him.
As things turned out, Macgregor was re-elected for a second term and sadly died from a heart attack in 2003. The memorial service was held in Edward Milne Community School’s gymnasium, with at least a thousand mourners in attendance.
Standing at left is Lorna Barry, twice elected councillor, having previously served from 1991 to 1993 as regional director before Sooke was incorporated. Barry passed away in 2020. Standing next is Jeff Stewart, a local grocery store manager who served one term.
Next, Ron Dumont served as a regional director for the area from 1973 to 1975 and was elected for two terms on Sooke council. Readers will be glad to know that he is recovering well from a recent motor vehicle accident.
The Farmer father and son duo is next. With a happy grin, Marcus Farmer was re-elected once again, and then after he left Sooke retailing, he went on enthusiastically to run a business on Mayne Island. Sooke’s longtime pharmacist John Farmer, sporting a flashy tie, also served two terms and then left politics, enjoying a happy retirement with lots of time now to spend with grandchildren.
Janet Evans, far right, is the personality who has served the longest, elected twice to council and then taking the mayor’s role after the death of Ed Macgregor. Evans served nine years as mayor and, while now retired, continues to take an interest in local politics.
We now have a different slate to manage Sooke’s affairs, and no doubt we will all be watching with interest to see what lies ahead for this ever-changing municipality.
Elida Peers is the historian of the Sooke Region Museum. Email email@example.com.