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 our founding households:
Photo of 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.

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 Wynn.

is a retired banker who has chosen to live close to her only two grandchildren. She made the move to Sooke from North Vancouver in 2005 after living in the same home for 35 years, and now she looks forward to living in cohousing. Wynn is active in the community, serving on the board of directors for Ayre Manor Lodge where she also co-ordinates the tuck shop with other volunteers. She belongs to the Sooke Garden Club and enjoys sharing a plot with a friend at Sun River Community Garden.

Photo of Sheila.

was born in England and came to Canada with her parents when she was very young. She went to school on Vancouver Island. Sheila has raised 2 sons in Victoria and had a successful career as a Nurse and an Office Manager. She is a music lover, plays the piano and the organ, and is a member of the Sooke Community Choir. She belongs to a hiking group, to Tai Chi & book clubs, and enjoys travelling.

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 Dal & Noelle.

Dal and Noelle
met when Noelle moved to Victoria from Ontario after finishing university and Dal sold his fish camp on Sonora Island and was hired as a Special Education teacher with the Sooke School District. We moved to Sooke and made it our home. During the last 20 years we have built our own house, raised 3 sons, worked and loved and immersed ourselves in the community. We have enjoyed all that the West Coast has to offer in Sooke, fishing, hiking, dirt biking, camping, sports, music, art and community. We look forward to the next 20 years right here in this vibrant town as part of the Harbourside Cohousing community.

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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.

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.

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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 Gail.

I have lived in Greater Victoria since 1981, after living mostly in southern Alberta. My adult son currently lives with me.

I've been a Registered Nurse for many years, of late, working in both Home and Community and Vascular Access (which means I'm good with needles). Interacting with the elderly and palliative clients has given me pause to reflect on how I would like to spend the next chapters of my life. I believe that being part of a cohousing community will be an exciting and fulfilling choice.

Being raised in a family where giving back to the community was simply part of life I have been a frequent volunteer. I was once given priority going through a police check-stop when I showed my Snowy Owl pin and declared I'd "been to Brownies, not drinking". My little sister and I were the first match to have eleven years together with Victoria's Big Brothers, Big Sisters organization. Teaching CPR to high school students was always more interesting than teaching medical staff.

I am currently active with the local non-profit African AIDS Angels. I enjoy travelling, hiking and have recently begun dabbling in watercolours.

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Born in the Netherlands; my family came to Canada in early 1950's to southern Ontario. I grew up in a farming environment with a lot of range to roam , so developed a love of nature.

I graduated University of Toronto and University of Victoria - worked as a Registered Nurse - now retired.

Always enjoyed outdoors - lived throughout B.C. - Cariboo, Chilcoin, Yukon. Hiked Chilkoot Rail alone, hiked the West Coast Trail with four others (8 days). At home in the wilderness/nature, but realized as we age it is beneficial to embrace a more co-operative existence. Have travelled to several countries. I know plants - I am a certified herbologist.

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Born at the Danish-German border on a tiny island in the North Sea, I moved to Canada in the early 1970s. After canoeing across Canada, I fulfilled my calling and became a professional forester. Since 1983 I have worked for Canadian and German government organizations in South and Central America, Russia and Central Asia on nature conservation, environmental and minority issues.

My favourite vacation is a long distance cycling trip, but I also indulge in ocean-kayaking, x-country skiing and cooking for others. And I enjoy spending active time with friends. Having bred dogs in my childhood and running a dog team in Northern Alberta, I am really looking forward to having a dog again after 30 years without.

I had a home in Victoria from 1987 to 2004, before life and work lead me back to Germany, but I always planned to retire at the West Coast. I have known about and been interested in the concept of co-housing for years and always wanted to do just that in the future, just not yet. Now is the time for more concrete plans on retirement and I found out (on the internet) about the co-housing project in Sooke. It must be serendipity, the right group of people and a wonderful project, came along at the right moment for me and I am glad to become a part of it.

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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 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.

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Jack was born and grew up in Montreal, Quebec. He studied science and economics at McGill. Since then, like his parents and grandparents before him, he was employed in the food business: First dairy farming in Ontario, then grain and livestock farming in Saskatchewan, then the grain, seed and livestock feed business out of Winnipeg, Manitoba and finally general agricultural business consulting.

Jack and his wife Beth raised four daughters and one son before separating in 1978. They now have seven grandsons, seven granddaughters and one great grandson. The family is spread across Canada from Peterborough in the east to Calgary, Kelowna, Medicine Hat, Victoria and Hornby Island in the west.

Jack's interests have included sailing, canoeing, camping, biking, skiing, music, travel and reading.

Photo of Arlene and Bob Stamp.

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.

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Catherine and John
Catherine grew up in Calgary; John grew up in Buffalo, New York; and they met in Pennsylvania. Catherine studied painting and printmaking. Her interest in the visual arts evolved into a career in educational media at Penn State University and later at New York University. She continues to paint, and for several years has been studying traditional Chinese calligraphy. John's studies in English literature led him into the field of education and careers as a teacher and administrator. Following retirement he spent two years serving with the Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan. He continues his love of the outdoors and pursues an interest in literature.

In the mid-1990s they made their way from the U.S. to Canada, settling on Salt Spring Island where they enjoyed West Coast living and had some wonderful sea kayaking adventures. In 1999 they moved to Calgary to be closer to Catherine's aging family. During the years in Calgary they enjoyed gardening, boating, skating and cross-country skiing, as well as visits from kids and grandkids who are scattered across the US from Seattle to Virginia. Now they're looking forward to the next adventure: a return to beautiful BC and the opportunity to join the Harbourside community.

Photo of Karla and Chris

Karla and Chris
Karla and Chris are approximately 10 feet 11 inches tall, weigh about 300 pounds, and are 142 years old. They have: degrees in education, geophysics, and mathematics; diplomas in electronics engineering, fine arts, and an accounting designation; plus a total of five spouses, past and present. They both love the wilderness, hiking, and cycling; they appreciate the arts and efforts toward sustainability. At Harbourside they are looking forward to new friends and experiences.

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.

Most of Jean's younger years were spent in Saskatoon where she was schooled, married and raised three daughters. She and her family moved to Sherwood Park in 1970. In her 30+ years of employment in Alberta's capital city she has worn different hats.

Employed at Mapleridge Treatment Centre for teenage girls for four years she then went on to further her education at the U of A graduating with a major in Art and minor in Psychology. Then obtaining a position as secondary English educator prompted her to return to university for more English classes.

After 5 years of instructing teenagers she changed occupations to be with seniors as a tour director. North America with its breathtaking vistas, young heritage and plentiful activities became her playground of pleasure and also challenges. Her 22 years as a gypsy wanderer-tour director holds mountains of memories for her - most of them happy.

During this time Jean made a few more diversions off the beaten path. Four years were spent with REDA (Rural Education and Development Association) facilitating workshops for teachers on Developing Skills in Co-operation. Here she was also editor of a quarterly newsletter promoting cooperation skills, games and practices. These publications were sent to public schools throughout Alberta. This position was sponsored by various co-operatives in the province.

In 1999 Jean took a 6 month course in the theory and practise of meditation delivered by a Buddhist monk. This was followed by a trip with her classmates to Thailand. They were escorted in and around Bangkok visiting temples, universities, day-care centres, shopping malls and a day at the beach. The trip was topped off with a 3 day hike up the Doi En Te Thon Mountains just outside of Chaing Mai. On her return Jean locked up her condo and went to Richmond Hill Ontario to instruct theory and practise of meditation under the direction of the monk she had learned from. She then returned to Edmonton and tour directing with a broader scope on life.

For a number of years during the month of May you would find Jean walking the halls from class to class at the University of Alberta Education Building. Here she attended ELLA classes (Education for Lifelong Learners). To her, learning something new is exciting - particularly when there are no tests. No pressure. Just enjoy. "Attending the variety of classes makes me feel 20 years younger. I would recommend it for others who are in the second half of their lives".

"I have travelled thousands of miles to find a place where there are people living in a close community with whom I can share an affinity. It was a long and eventful life-journey that brought me to Harbourside but it was well worth the while."