“All Sooke Day” Ladies
The physical strength and mental dexterity of women is highlighted through the region’s strong sports tradition. Sports have always been high on the priority list for Sooke people, which can be recognized on a drive through Sooke noting the busy playing fields.
While the popular event All Sooke Day began as a community picnic in 1934, it later formed a championship loggers’ sports event.
Wednesday was chosen as event day, when the department stores in Victoria closed at noon. Logging events demonstrated the skills of experienced loggers and logging enthusiasts. Women participated in competitions such as Jill and Jill or Jack and Jill Hand bucking, the Ladies’ Sprint, Ladies’ Nail Driving, Ladies’ Axe-Throw, and the Ladies’ Tug-of-War. Some participated for fun, but others developed specialized skills in logging sports. The ways in which women became involved in logging sports, which was predominantly a male interest, were varied. Some were secretaries of logging companies, their husbands were loggers, or some might have been members of the Sooke Loggers’ Club.
In the early days of the event, women wore long dresses as they sprinted, hammered at hefty four-inch nails, or kept themselves steady while pulling on a rope. In the hand bucking competitions, entrants attempted to cut through a log as fast as possible with a crosscut saw. In nail driving, two rows of Douglas-fir planks created the platform for the hammer–wielding women.
The Sooke Community Association ran the All Sooke Day festival for almost seventy years before it came to its end in 2002.