Sooke Harbour House, Wiffen Spit, Sooke, BC 1929
The original site of the Sooke Harbour House served as the migratory camping ground of the T'sou-ke Indian Tribe. The T'sou-ke Tribe used the area as a summer fishing ground and as a location to gather indigenous foods to use during the winter months. In 1790, the Spanish, under the direction of Captain Manuel Quimper, landed briefly in the area. The region remained largely unsettled however, until 1849 when Captain Grant of the British fleet, came ashore. Over the years other European immigrants followed Captain Grant, including Andrew Muir. He became Vancouver Island's first sheriff and eventually purchased an 89 acre lot that included the area where the Sooke Harbour House now stands. The property changed hands in 1925 when Czechoslovakian immigrant Anthony Kohout purchased the property and established a successful auto camp and teahouse. In 1929, to provide his guests with hotel style accommodation, Anthony Kohout built the Sooke Harbour House. Since its completion, the two-storey clapboard farmhouse operated as an inn and dining room. In 1979, current owners and Innkeepers Frederique and Sinclair Philip, purchased Sooke Harbour House, a house with five small guestrooms, no private guest bathrooms, and a small dining room. They began catering largely to Sooke and Victoria customers. In 1986, just seven years after the initial purchase, Frederique and Sinclair built ten additional guestrooms, pioneering the now common practice of providing larger, more luxurious guestrooms featuring fireplaces, sitting areas and bathtubs for two. Sooke Harbour House became one of the first full-service, small inns to offer breakfast, lunch and dinner for in-house guests.
In 1988, the original five guestrooms were renovated to offer the luxury and pampering for which Sooke Harbour House had developed a world-wide reputation and in 1998 a further 13 rooms were added bringing the total to 28. Watch this interview with the co-owner Frederique Philip that covers much of the philosophy of the Inn: