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2012 Sooke Slow Food Cycle

Tour Route & Workshops

Purchase a ticket for the whole tour.  Plan your ride to catch pre-scheduled workshops or drop-in anytime. Those without tickets are welcome at each location for a $5 donation. Please bike, walk or car pool if at all possible. Limited parking is available at tour locations marked with *** three stars.  

Route Map Map of 2012 SSFC Route

This year’s 33 km loop route begins and ends at Edward Milne Community School.  First enjoy the lively, inspiring scene at the Collective Transition Expo & Marketplace, then hit the road for demos, workshops, knowledgeable chit-chat and, at a few of our venues, sample-sized food treats. As with last year, please pack a lunch. As you’ll discover, when we say ‘slow food,’ we mean learning how to grow your own rather then snacking on loads of free samples (though there will be some along the way).

The map follows secondary roads, bike trails, a section of the Galloping Goose and relatively brief portions of the West Coast Road. A few hills offer moderate challenges yet otherwise the route is largely flat, pleasant and suitable for both fast-paced riders and leisurely family groups. We’re recommending that families with very young children focus on the early stages of the tour covering approx. 12 km of mostly gentle riding. Otherwise moderately healthy riders will be good to go the full trip.

At registration, you’re free to pick and choose from a menu of pre-scheduled workshops that will be offered at certain of our venues during the day. Then make tracks to catch one session after next as you investigate favorite subjects and themes. Or simply drop-in to our host facilities for friendly and informal tours packed with practical wisdom and takeaway handouts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (unless otherwise noted in the list below).

Here are our 2012 tour stops in order on the EMCS loop route: 

1. Edith & Victor Newman oceanfront home garden and Blue Raven Gallery. The designing mind of Edith with help from gardner Marlene Barry created this masterful landscape after collecting whimsical yet unwanted treasures from roadside free piles and other sources. Elbow grease and imagination have created a garden and food production area that you will not want to leave. ***

2. Sooke Classical Boating Society. Garb an oar and join volunteers from the town’s historical boat society in replicas of twin-mast 18th Century Spanish longboats of the kind that landed on our shores in the 1790s. Each boat will head out on hour-long tours of the harbour. Expect colourful commentary from your hosts, wildlife sightings and, if the winds cooperate, some time with the sails hoisted. Sign up at EMCS registration for one of 32 available seats. Four departures in all: the first two at 11 a.m., the second two at 12:30 p.m. Paddlers must be aged 14 or older. First dibs on seats go to SSFC cyclists, then first-come, first-served on site for a $5 donation. ***

3.  Charters River Salmon Interpretive Centre. Ride a forested stretch of the Goose, park your bike with our volunteer at the top of a trail, then wander down to check out this impressive year-old riverside interpretive centre. Pop into the salt water aquarium to meet a few hatchery smolts and learn about the building of Sooke’s fresh water flowline, constructed in 1911-15. Without its liquid gold, food growing in this region would not only be slow, it would be impossible (rainwater collection systems aside). Open until 12:30 only. ***


4. Sooke Region Museum. Speaking of the flowline, the workers fed themselves by cooking in stone ovens they built for themselves along the way. As he did last year, museum director Lee Boyko will again be serving pioneer-style biscuits hot from the museum’s stone oven. When you’ve finished enjoying these hot, flakey delights, step into the museum (admission’s free) to view local archival treasures, displays and colorful exhibits focusing on the T’Sou-ke First Nation, 19th century pioneer life and Sooke’s 20th century history as a fishing, logging and farming centre.  ***

5. Sunriver Community Garden. A friendly meet-and-greet with Sunriver’s gardeners as they man stations around this celebrated community green space.  Pizza from the cob oven during the day will be a mere appetizer for Sooke Region Food CHI’s day-end  Taste of Harvest Feast.  This is a limited seating, separately ticketed meal @ $20 per adult; $10 for children and teenagers.

6. InishOge Farm. Four pre-scheduled workshops  throughout the day at this permaculture farm complete with animals, food gardens, and cob and natural building. Hosted by a newly transplanted young family from Vancouver now living on 20 acres of growing and living space in the midst of a magical faerie forest, meadows, wetlands and creeks.

7. Sooke Bike Skills Park in John Philips Memorial Parks. Meet backers and boosters of the project from the Sooke Bike Club, check out the plans, and learn more about the public process that will unfold in the weeks ahead.  Yes, Sooke just might have a bright future as a mountain-biking destination.***

8. Steve & Wendy Sahlstrom’s newly installed residential backyard garden at the top of Stone Ridge Estates. Raised beds, composting, easy-build greenhouse. Thanks to the Sooke Garden Club.

9. Green Man Adventures @ Ella Beach (smoked salmon and freshly harvested mussels from an oceanside pit roast w. side orders of pickled kelp and herbal teas) ***

10. Woodside Farm. Tour the historic Muir farmstead, gardens and 85-acre property with 61-year resident Pete Wilford. Hay rides to the beach every half hour from 11 a.m . onwards. Plus meetings with remarkable farmyard animals – Lucky the llama and Harold the donkey included. A perfect outing for the family. ***

11. Sooke Harbour House. Edible garden tours and walkabouts inside & out at the legendary small inn, rated #2 best resort hotel in Canada in the latest Travel + Leisure readers’ poll. ***

12.  The Apple House. A lovely backyard setting next to the pioneer cemetery and behind one of the town’s oldest homes. Homesteader Deb Wood welcomes visitors during breaks in an annual chore: feeding freshly harvested seaweed to her compost system (now duplicated in a rural village in Kenya thanks to an exchange student who took one of Deb’s workshops). Learn about compost cakes, a smart system of crop rotation and how to make comfrey and stinging nettle compost teas to speed the process.

13. Double D Garden Centre. Master gardener Karen Longland will focus on four-season container gardening. Imagine that: Pickable fresh salad greens available within easy reach for much of the year. Plus Beekeeping 101 with Carol Harding. An encore Sooke Cycle presentation of one of last year’s buzzworthy stops.

15. AJ’s Garden. Local artist AJ takes you behind the painted rock and past his garage mural into a nice, smartly run backyard set-up suitable for family playtime yet also featuring permaculture vegetable beds and a smart greenhouse that the owner built himself from recycled materials. Drop-ins all day along with pre-scheduled tours on three pre-planned themes. *** (Ed McGregor Park)

16. Little Vienna Bakery. Lessons in how to begin and maintain an organic sourdough starter dough. The bakery’s still using the original batch created when it opened in 2004!