Harbourside masthead.

The People of Harbourside

While senior-focused, our community includes three generations. Our ages range from "shy of fifty to better than eighty-five." We are physically active, creative, independent individuals who value privacy as well as connection with each other. Here are profiles of some of the households in our community:
Portrait of Ralph

Ralph
was born in Portland, Oregon. He studied at Portland State University and USC Los Angeles for a BA in Television. He then did an 8 year stint in the US Navy. Much of Ralph's career was spent in radio and that part of his resume is too vast and colourful to recount here - except to say that he was one of the godfathers of FM 'Rock Radio', and worked as The Nazz with the infamous Wolfman Jack on the Mexican 'Border Blasters'. Ralph came to Canada in the late sixties/early seventies and worked as a commercial fisherman up and down the Pacific coast. His fine Sooke property has been an integral part of his current venture into eco-tourism and seafood.

For more about Ralph, click here.

Photo of John & Margaret.

Margaret & John
met in a meditation group in Sooke in 2004 and haven't run out of things to talk about since. They enjoy spending summers cruising the inside passage on Savory, a steel sailboat John helped build. John was born and raised in California. He's a lifetime social activist who came to Canada in 1968. John has lived in Sooke for 30 years now, although he takes trips on his boat - as far afield as Mexico. He is a cycling enthusiast and when he's got some time you might find him in one or other of Sooke's coffee shops. He and Margaret make yoga and swimming part of their routine. Margaret was Professor of Social Anthropology at York University in Toronto for 25 years. Fieldwork took her to the SW Pacific islands of Vanuatu. She lived in a bamboo house with her family in a rural village, developed deep local friendships, and came to understand that "it takes a village" to be fully human. Cohousing is her new village.

Photo of Ellen and Warren.

Warren & Ellen
have lived, worked and played and raised three young adults in Sooke over the past 20 years. Now we are excited to participate in the development of Harbourside senior cohousing as we plan for the next 20 years. We were drawn to this project by the amazing people and the ideas and innovation that this project represents, and the prospect of aging well together in a mutually supportive environment. Warren is in his 60s and originally comes from New Zealand where he taught arts and crafts at a middle school. In his 32 years in Canada he has worked in construction and on newspapers, and homeschooled our three kids. Warren loves singing and playing early music and enjoys photography and drawing. He has studied the Feldenkrais method and practises yoga. Ellen is a family doctor working in Sooke, and also practices yoga to keep life balanced. Ellen really enjoys the boundless opportunities our region offers for an active outdoor lifestyle, with hiking, skiing, swimming, cycling, and boating, and with wilderness right at our doorstep. Warren is able to build and fix most things, and Ellen is a keen gardener and interested in growing as much of the food we eat as possible. We enjoy spending lots of time with all of our adult children (Arwyn, Dylan and Anna) as they launch their post university lives.

Photo of Susan.

Susan
was born and raised in New Zealand and came to Canada with two young children. Two more children were born here, and she is now a grandmother of four. She lived in Vancouver and in the Gulf Islands before moving to Sooke in the nineteen-eighties. Susan is a semi-retired midwife who sees cohousing as an intelligent way to live in a vibrant, supportive community. She is also a lover of horses, a gardener, an avid reader, and a yoga practitioner.

Photo of Donja and Doug.

Donja and Doug
moved to Victoria from the backcountry of San Diego County to find a good education for their daughters. They fell in love with Vancouver Island and Canadians and decided to become "North Americans" by having dual citizenship in both the US and Canada.

Doug has climbed on several major expeditions including the 1983 Men and Women's expedition to Everest, Doug's 1990 expedition to K2 and many climbs on Denali. He has worked for the National Outdoor Leadership School since 1968 and sat on its board for 6 years. Currently, he is "Mr. Compost" at Abkhazi Gardens as well as at the SunRiver allotment garden in Sooke.

Donja has worn many hats but considers herself a serial volunteer, a semi-retired mother, and a jazz singer. She has been a director/governor on several non-profit organizations and is finishing up her long stint as a governor for Glenlyon Norfolk School. Her current project is training for a backpacking trip in the Russian Mountains of Northern California and the fall walk around Cowichan Lake.

Doug and Donja look forward to a long and fruitful life helping to build the community at Harbourside

Photo of

Priska
Priska's background is in molecular biology, and she studied and worked in Germany, Sweden and England before immigrating to Canada 10 years ago. Three years ago she moved to Sooke to be closer to the Sooke Hills, the lakes and the river and her partner, Mark.

Priska is now a potter working out of a shared studio in the Highlands, creating functional pottery decorated with designs taken from nature. Dance, the Sooke Community Choir and photography all help fill her new life. With family and her past all on the other side of the world she can see that the beauty of rural living might lead to isolation as we age, and this is where cohousing can provide community and friendship for this next chapter.

Photo of Mark.

Mark
I was born in England and my family immigrated to Canada in 1948 when i was one year old. I grew up in Cordova Bay where we all worked on the local farms in summer. After graduating from the University of Victoria in 1969 I spent many years travelling and lived in India for 12 years, in love with the Himalayas, yoga and meditation. I began to study astrology there and later practiced astrology and did gardening to make a living after returning to Victoria. Ten years ago I moved to Sooke to be closer to nature, my source of healing and peace. The preservation of wild places through organizations like the TLC and Wild Pacific Salmon Society is important to me. Those times of my life when I lived in communities with some shared values and intention have been happy times, and I look forward to more in the future.

Photo of

Kaye
I emigrated from England in 1969 with my husband and golden lab. After two weeks of travelling across the Atlantic and then across Canada by train, we arrived in a very small community called Parson, which is located 38kms south of Golden BC. What a culture shock! We both had teaching jobs in the local 4 roomed school, and lived in the small "teacherage" that was provided. We eventually bought an acreage, built a house and lived and taught in the Golden area for the next 34 years.

I moved to Sooke in 2005 and I love it here, the people, the incredible hiking, the forests, the ocean and all the other activities that are available here in Sooke. I enjoy yoga, hiking, tennis and badminton, quilting and fabric art.

I had been feeling that I needed to change my living arrangements, so the cohousing development seems to be a perfect answer, I am very glad to be a part of it.

Photo of

Alice
Alice was born in the United States in the early 50's. Emigrating to Canada in the early 70's, she worked her way across the continent in a variety of jobs, drawn west to the Gulf Islands.

She met her partner, Steve, in 1974 and they made a life together, fishing in the islands, moving on to the Lightstations as Lightkeepers in the early 80's. They raised 3 sons on the coast, on Galiano, Ruxton and Vancouver Islands working and living at Chatham Point Light Station for 21 years.

Steve died suddenly in 2010, and Alice decided to take their recently obtained sailboat on a journey, taking a leave of absence from her Lightkeeper position, and her other occupation as fisherman, leaving their salmon troller in the good hands of the next generation, young friends on the coast.

She has recently sailed back to Oahu after a westabout circumnavigation..."a pilgrimage with women comrades 'round the belly of this beautiful planet", on her sturdy 38'vessel True Blue. She plans to sail back to BC from Oahu in the spring of 2014.

Alice considers joining Harbourside Cohousing "an investment in community" and appreciates the good will and intelligence that is going into the project.

Photo of Shirley

Shirley
Shirley was born in Saskatoon Saskatchewan. I have a BA from U of S and a BSW from the University of Calgary, a few years later-- things were delayed by marriage to Bob and raising five children! I worked as a social worker in Saskatchewan and Alberta. After retirement we enjoyed many interesting travel experiences and lots of volunteering. Bob died 2 years ago. Since three of my adult children live in BC I've decided to make the move from Lethbridge to Sooke and join Harbourside Cohousing-- an interesting and exciting concept. I enjoy fitness activities, music, theatre and volunteer activities.

Photo of Arlene and Bob

Arlene & Bob
Arlene and Bob Stamp joined the Harbourside community in 2014, two years before construction was completed. We had been actively seeking out aging-in-place alternatives and settled on Harbourside because we felt comfortable in the community and liked the project location. We were also attracted by the cohousing concept which allows us many social benefits and community support as we age along with the freedoms of strata ownership.

Bob is a retired history and education professor and Arlene is a retired visual artist and designer. We have two grown children, both married with families living in distant cities. We have been involved in two other collaborative projects, both during our years in Calgary; the first was an alternative elementary school and the second was a 'lifelong learning' group for seniors. Harbourside feels like a very good fit for our senior years.

Photo of Bev and Michael.

Bev and Michael
The Harbourside venture represents the fulfillment of a long held dream to live in community for Michael after he ended a 14 year involvement in a spiritual community in the Kootenays over 40 years ago. For Bev, Harbourside offers the opportunity to recreate the close neighbourhood feeling of a small town (Golden, B.C.) where she raised her children alongside friends sharing caring and mutual support and forging life long friendships for 22 years. Bev was raised in Calgary and considers herself to be "a Prairie gal". Michael grew up in England and arrived in Victoria in 1958 where his family settled. They met in Calgary in 1989 and were married in a mountain meadow in Yoho National Park in 1995. Michael is the "bonus" dad to Bev's son who works in Victoria and her married daughter with 4 grandsons who live in Calgary. Michael also goes by "Moki" (Hawaiian for Moses) - that's what his grandsons and close friends call him.

We moved to Sooke in 2004 from Calgary where Bev had retired from her work as an administrative assistant to the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Continuing Education at the University of Calgary and where Michael had recently closed his psychotherapy practice. We have enthusiastically embraced the strong sense of community and volunteerism here in Sooke by joining the Sooke Region Food CHI and its community garden project at Sunriver Gardens. We are involved with the Taoist Tai Chi group here and attend a local meditation group. In addition, Michael was a co-founder of the Sooke Transition Town Initiative and is still active on their Core Team, working to raise the sustainability and resilience of the Sooke community in these times of great change and challenge. We both love the natural beauty of the area and continue to explore and hike. We both have family and friends in Victoria and enjoy the relatively easy access to all that is available there, while appreciating the village feel of Sooke.

We are both "people" people who are keen to contribute to the co-caring aspect of Harbourside which we view as the "heart" of our community with the potential to offer everyone a caring and fulfilling environment to age in place.

Photo of Jean.

Jean
Moving to Sooke in 2014 after spending decades in the city searching for a cohousing was like finally attending a retreat. Quiet, unhurried – a truly relaxed atmosphere.

I signed on the dotted line to purchase my unit after a few days of sightseeing, classes and meetings. I had arrived! (the physical structure was still to be built) The plans, the concept looked good to me.

It didn’t take long to meet new friends and join a hiking group, aquatic classes and volunteer for Meals on Wheels, Emergency Support Services, Arts Council and also with newly established teams at Harbourside.

Being part of this extended family has given me the opportunity to learn new skills, utilize the ones I already have and be a proactive member of the community. Harbourside residents are my second family – my home away from home. I am filled with gratitude to be part of this caring community where we work, play, sing and laugh together – and retreat to the quiet of our unit when we want.

Photo of Ann

Ann
There once was a co-houser ... Ann
Who, when asked if she could, says 'I can!'
She runs to her flat
Which has this and that**
And returns with a grin and a plan.

** Including... many baskets of wool, six knitting projects in action, a full drawer of pliers and scissor-type implements, 31 other drawers of miscellaneous yet highly useful or decorative 'objets', several books on governance structures and decision-making models, a white board diagram outlining an overview of Harbourside teams and how they are inter-connected, a sufficiency of partly read books, an insufficiency of time, many balls of coloured string, a storage cupboard with rolls of wire and stacks of decorative papers but no towels, freshly made soup in a pot on the stove, (Yum! ... would you like a bowl? It's ginger carrot), an exquisitely intricate bleached cat skull, a flock of completed papier-mâché creatures, a patio bursting with plants and a sweet little dog named Juno.

Photo of David

David
David is a retired social work educator with a special interest in community development. Born in Bristol, England, David trained as a social worker in the UK and then led a team of community developers working in the coal mining communities around Wakefield in Yorkshire.

In 1975, David emigrated to Canada and settled in Edmonton, Alberta where he lived for the next forty years. During that time he was employed as a Social Planner with the City of Edmonton, as a Preventive Social Services Consultant with the Alberta Government, and for 26 years he taught in the Social Work Program at Grant MacEwan Community College, (now MacEwan University).

Following his retirement David worked at Kwara State University in rural Nigeria where he established a Centre for Community Development. While in Nigeria David’s main task was to meet with local people, help them articulate their needs and obtain the resources to address their concerns. The most pressing of those needs were access to clean water, primary health care and the acquisition of marketable skills.

David is divorced and has two adult children, Kathy who is a psychologist living in Edmonton and Kristina who is an archeologist/researcher living in Vancouver.

Photo of Adrienne & Frank

Adrienne & Frank
Adrienne is a retired nurse who enjoys playing piano. She likes to volunteer in primary school teaching piano to young students whose parents can't afford music lessons. She’s also good at gardening and bookkeeping.

Frank is a retired broadcast technician who enjoys making videos and sound recordings, doing yoga and boating. He's also handy at home maintenance.

Photo of Marisa & Hank

Marisa & Hank
Marisa & Hank met on a BC Ferry in 1988. Their combined family includes three adult children, all homeschooled and fiercely independent. In past lives Hank has been a builder/contractor, custom-cut mill operator, stump farmer, lighthouse keeper and hazelnut orchardist. Marisa is a family doctor with focused practices in sexual health and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy, also working in professional development and administration.

After 21 years of small-scale farming in the Pemberton valley, moving to Harbourside presents a positive opportunity to be back on the ocean, have time for expanded conversations, thin possessions, read some of the accumulated books, learn to play piano, try out kayaking, explore new terrain, be a little closer to what a city has to offer, listen to music, draw, write, bake bread, exercise, meditate... and don’t forget to walk the dogs.

Photo of Claire & Yibo

Claire & Yibo
Claire and Yibo (Robert Majzels) are relatively new to the West Coast and to Harbourside. We are originally from Montreal, but have lived in many different places in North America and in Asia. Claire is fluent in Mandarin and has published two books on contemporary Chinese culture.

Both have worked in a variety of jobs over the years including, in Yibo's case, as a community organizer and as an associate professor of English literature and creative writing, and Claire as an associate professor of Chinese studies and comparative literature, and as a Canadian diplomat in China. Yibo is an experimental writer, the author of numberous novels, as well as a translator into English of Quebec and Acadian authors. Claire is an author of fiction, and a wannabe standup comedienne. We came to Harbourside to live by the sea, away from the big city din, and to experience co-housing. We're here for the long haul.

Photo of Tom & Claire

Tom & Claire
...In the blink of an eye: From angry runaway kid, To cheerful urban & country hippy, To devoted single dad of four, To active supporter of disenfranchised, To blessed husband of soul mate Claire, To satisfied senior citizen, Now here I am at Harbourside, settling in to stay, hoping to be a good neighbour. (Tom)

Born in England, I moved to Canada 32 years ago. Tom and I met 26 years ago and have lived and worked in various parts of B.C. We moved to Harbourside in mid-2019, after downsizing from our "too-much-work" home in Courtenay. Living in our new smaller space has been an easier adjustment than expected. I am newly retired (as a speech-language pathologist) and am finding walking clubs, choirs, Nia classes to join. The co-housing lifestyle - particularly sharing common spaces, doing activities together and gently supporting each other - is a good fit. Sooke is so welcoming with its friendliness and tight community feel. The view, forests, river and ocean provide endless enjoyment. (Claire)

Photo of Veronica.

Veronica
I was born in Manchester, England and emigrated to Canada in 1975....teaching and travelling were my abiding passions. After running my own businesses for over 25 years, I now value my free time doing the things i love most, community engagement, a good book with my dog George on my lap, golf and theatre.

The companionship, privacy and support at Harbourside totally encouraged me to join!!

Photo of Rob & Brenda.

Rob and Brenda
are avid sailors and volunteers with the Coast Guard auxiliary. Rob grew up in Toronto and is a retired army engineering officer. He has a Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering and also spent a few years as a Professor.

Brenda is a retired Air Force aircraft engineering officer with a Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering. She grew up all across the country as her father was in the military. They have worked on military bases in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

Rob's most interesting and challenging job was running the most northern permanently inhabited settlement in the world (the military version of cohousing!), while Brenda's was flight testing new g suits and new parachutes for Canada's fighter jets.

For recreation they enjoy hiking and bicycling, a good book, a game of Euchre or Hand and Foot, and Netflix series. Winters are spent cruising the Bahamas on their sailing catamaran that they store in Florida. They came out to Sooke totally on a whim for a winter stay and fell in love with the surroundings, so they decided to take a leap of faith and join the Harbourside community, much to the surprise of their two adult daughters back in Ontario.