Sooke has been marketing itself as an alternative to Tofino (using the name “Wild Coast” to describe the region), and in many ways the strategy is working as Sooke transforms into a bustling area with new hotels and residential developments in the urban cores. A huge housing project is also underway by the T’sou-ke at Becher Bay. The heart remains, however, through the protected areas such as East Sooke Regional Park, Whiffin Spit and Race Rocks.
Victoria doesn’t need to build its image, as it has already established itself as a genteel centre of British colonial culture and architecture. Quirks, though, pervade the coast here. Gun turrets look south to non-existent enemies. A military test range shoots out armed missiles into the ocean for practice, but is nice enough to shut down when orcas swim by. An island ecological reserve shares space with a staffed lighthouse and communication towers. If you have a sense of humour as well as a sense of adventure, the coast from Sooke to Oak Bay has numerous highlights for a rewarding visit by paddle, while numerous trails make a stay on land a potential adventure as well.