Sissel and Harry
Harry and Sissel were born and raised on two different islands on the west coast of Norway, Harry on Radoy and Sissel on Fedje. They met at high school and married in 1974, almost 20 and 22 year of age.
We have three grown children, David, born in 76, Kristil born in 79, and Rebekka born in 81.
While in Norway Harry studied Business Administration and completed his BA diploma in 1978. He was employed by a bank, Sparebank West; was the managing director of a boat building company, Saga Boats; and worked for an insurance company, Vesta. Sissel studied law at the University of Bergen, without completing the degree. She was teaching at various elementary schools, and employed as a clerk by the Norwegian Post. Read more...
We all moved to Sooke in 1986.The children attended Saseenos Elementary School, Journey Middle School, and Edward Milne Community School. Both of us were involved with various PACs.
We started fish farming in the Sooke Basin and expanded with three farms north of Tofino. In 2000 we sold out of the fish farming business. The same year Sissel received her CGA designation through CGA Canada.
Today our children have spread out. David is married to Marit, lives in Oslo, Norway, and they have two children, Teodor and Ingrid. Kristil is married to Colin, lives in Oak Bay, and they have two children, Mathilde and Duncan. Rebekka is married to Anne, lives in Toronto, and they have one daughter, Gillian.
We owned and managed French Beach Retreats for 12 years, a vacation rental property; Sissel has been working part time as a CGA in Langford and Sooke. We have also been involved with several of the non-profit groups in Sooke, and Sissel is still a director of Kludahk Outdoors Club. The last couple of years we have been retired and are enjoying our grandparent status.
For the last decade we have been talking with neighbours and friends about all of us moving onto our property and create a little community by the water. Then, a while ago, we heard about a similar idea, called co-housing, and that a group was being formed here in Sooke. Sissel took Margaret’s course, but the timing was not right for us to become involved.
Early spring of 2016 we contacted Andrew Moore with the questions whether he thought there was interest in another co-housing group in Sooke. Together with Andrew and Margaret we did some preliminary investigations, set up a public meeting to measure the level of interest, 30 people showed up, and from there the idea has evolved to where we are today.
Coming from Norway were we both grew up in small communities, both Harry and Sissel are interested in politics, although we do not always agree, and community living. We both enjoy reading, hiking, biking and travelling. Harry likes woodworking while Sissel enjoys knitting, gardening and painting/drawing. We both enjoy spending time with our grandchildren and going for walks with Tulla, our adopted grand-dog.
I grew up with the Rocky Mountains as a constant physical presence, so mountains mean home to me. West Wind Harbour not only enjoys panoramic mountain views but also has the delightful bonus of the ocean at its door. I love Sooke’s earthy connections to sea and forest and am very excited to be involved with establishing the West Wind community within sight of my present home at Harbourside. Cohousing is more than an interesting theory for me; my private life is balanced within a sustaining and vibrant community—now times two! I am grateful for the enthusiastic grace of Harry and Sissel in welcoming the expansion of their family home into a new home for many more.
Besides a love of the outdoors, my life is grounded in scientific curiosity and literature. As a nuclear medicine technologist, I had the good luck to work in a wide variety of settings from a small regional hospital in the Kootenays to the Cancer Control Agency in Vancouver to the teaching hospital in Geneva, Switzerland. While my children were growing, I worked in a family medicine clinic in the Maritimes and returned to academia, pursuing graduate studies in English and then teaching at Saint Thomas University, the University of New Brunswick, and University Canada West in Vancouver. I’ve been a student nearly all my life and continue to read, write, and edit. Read more...
I have an international family: two sons, Rob and Chris, plus two accidental daughters who were exchange students in our family, Martha from Germany and Mónica from Cuba. Rob is a helicopter pilot with the RCAF, and Chris is a mining engineer and investment analyst in Sydney, Australia. Martha is a specialist in obstetrics and gynaecology in Göttingen, and Mónica works on the frontlines of the opioid crisis in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
As I handle inquiries for West Wind Harbour and organize workshops with the brilliant Margaret Critchlow, I am surprised how useful disparate past experiences are proving. Who would have guessed that a brief stint writing online learning programs in the IT industry or organizing and refereeing speed skating meets would come in handy? We are very fortunate to have Ronaye Matthew and Cohousing Development Consulting expertly guiding our development—yet more amazing learning possibilities! It is so exciting to correspond with the interesting people from all over Canada and beyond who are interested in our project.
To have the opportunity to make a conscious decision about the community I live in is a privilege; to participate in the formation of a cohousing community—not only the physical design but also building the human connections essential to a vibrant community—that is a rare gift, indeed. With energetic and interesting people with whom to share life’s little pleasures, with mountains and sea outside, and with piles of books inside, I’m living my dream.
Brian and Irene
Brian and Irene decided to leave the family farm in Manitoba and join the West Wind Harbour Cohousing community after spending a month’s holiday in Sooke in 2016. We fell in love with the area - flowers in February! - and subsequently researched the “new-to-us” concept of senior cohousing. We were thrilled when we heard via the Harbourside website that a new Sooke senior cohousing project was starting up, and decided to take a road trip back to the area to learn more about it. The opportunity to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle year-round appeals to us especially as we age, and Sooke offers many attractions such as a strong arts community, an indoor pool, and a variety of local services and amenities.
We have both spent considerable time assisting our parents as they aged, and we watched as they struggled with trying to find a balance between independence and assistance. Over the last few years, we have put a lot of thought into what we would like our later years to look like, and had been unable to feel satisfied with what we came up with until we learned about cohousing. Read more...
Apart from the idea of living on Vancouver Island, we have both been drawn in by the concepts of intentional community, consensus decision-making, and respectful communication that are an integral part of cohousing. From our point of view, the challenges are far out-weighed by the caring support and friendship offered in community, and we feel extremely fortunate to be able to be a part of this project. We have quickly formed solid bonds with others over the last few months and look forward to developing these relationships as we live in community together.
During our working years - Brian as a draftsperson and Irene as a music educator - we had the opportunity in the mid-80s to return to the family farm in western Manitoba with our young family. The farm had been in Brian’s family since 1882, and it was exciting to be able to carry on the tradition. We specialized in organic grains and later added sheep to the mix, supplementing the farm income with off-farm work. Brian set up his own drafting business, designing homes and small commercial buildings, while Irene taught music and band (and anything else that was thrown her way) in local schools.
Over the years, we have enjoyed camping, hiking, canoeing, and playing music together. We’ve shared these activities with our 3 children and 7 grandchildren (who range in age from 1 to 21), and we’re proud to say that our eldest grandchildren have even formed their own bluegrass band and entertain at local events! The whole family is excited about our move to Vancouver Island and can’t wait to come out to the west coast for a visit.
Linda and Rick
Rick and Linda are both retired healthcare administrators. Linda managed dental / oral surgical practices and Rick was a senior healthcare executive. They met after Rick retired and moved from Winnipeg to Sooke. Linda was to discover the beauty of Sooke as she visited from West Vancouver getting to know her future husband. Having worked in Comox, Rick always knew he would make his way back to the island. Linda had similar dreams after spending many years on the beautiful, but cold Prairies. They both grew up on the east coast, Linda in Nova Scotia and Rick in Maine. They both had fathers with maritime careers. Linda’s father was a Canadian naval air navigation officer on the HMCS Bonaventure. Rick’s father was a Master Mariner skippering ships around the world. Read more...
Between them they have three adult children all doing well following their dreams either academically or already finished university and building a career.
As it is for almost everyone, it was a big decision for them to embark on the cohousing journey. The tipping point for them was seeing the completion of the Harbourside cohousing project here in Sooke. “To be able to live in an intentional oceanfront community having co-laboured with other founding members to bring the dream to reality will cement life-long friendships. As an added incentive, being able to work with the same consultants as were used in the Harbourside project gave us the confidence and trust we would end up with a sister waterfront project that was just as wonderful as the first."
Both Rick and Linda are active in Sooke’s volunteer community. Linda is pursuing her painting and Rick is sharing his photography hobby with Linda. They both enjoy living in a landscape and nature photographer’s paradise and look forward to capturing more eagle images from our deck at West Wind Harbour. They both are avid ocean kayakers and enjoy biking Sooke’s excellent trails.
I’m attracted to Westwind Harbour for many reasons- most importantly, the community that is gathering in our beautiful coastal haven by the sea. I found cohousing over 20 years ago with a friend who became my next-door neighbor at Windsong in Langley. It reminded me of the tightly knit village on the edge of Quebec City where I grew up. Our family celebrated my son’s 10th birthday on move-in day at Windsong in 1996. He still lives there with his wife and my one year old granddaughter, Gemma
I moved into my next cohousing home at Quayside in North Vancouver 5 years ago. One of my favourite volunteer activities there is chairing the Thriving Team, where we pay attention to ways we can increase our collective quality of life. I guess I’m just a co-houser for life! Read more...
In the rest of my life, I have a thriving coaching business that takes me into interesting places to work with leaders and their teams. I also teach the Executive Coaching Program at Royal Roads University- just 30 minutes from my future home. My corporate work takes me on the road frequently, which is why I appreciate my home even more.
I also love travelling for pleasure, and have been on all continents except Antarctica. On my most recent trip to Ireland I spent a week in cooking school. I have a beloved collection of international recipes to share with my new neighbours.
My hobbies include following my daughter Juhli and her Company B Jazz Band to great concerts, and my son, Chef Russell to his restaurants. I look forward to being fed and entertained for the rest of my life! Another passion is conducting ceremonies - celebrations of life, weddings, and other milestones. I am looking forward to celebrating many moments of delight with my community at Westwind Harbour.
I have divided my life, geographically, into thirds. My early years up to university were spent in the North shore area of Massachusetts. For the next third I lived in the Colorado Rockies with a few years sprinkled in Hawaii and Oregon. My next third was spent living on the coast of Maine. Then we are at my present, where I now live, on Vancouver Island.
My main career was in the Mental Health field doing case management, administration and direct work with my consumers for about 25 years. At the age of 45 I returned to school for a degree in Horticulture and finally had found my “calling”. One never retires from loving and growing plants and sharing knowledge with others. Read more...
My closest family is my brother who lives In San Francisco, so I look foreword to being part of this Cohousing project, knowing I will have others of like mind to become my new family (a wonderful community!) and have the piece of mind to be able to “age in place.”
I chose the Sooke area to be closer to Victoria and have those city amenities available to me . Most of my life has been spent close to the sea with the wild outdoors nearby to also enjoy with my Black Lab, Sophie.
My interests include reading, music, cooking, plant life, kayaking and laughing when ever I can. This new community brings many of us with similar interests together so we can enjoy our lives together with just a knock on the door or a walk down the hill.
Janet and Michael
Michael graduated from U. of Guelph in plant science and pursued graduate solar studies at U. of Calgary. ‘Hanger on’ at a commune in the Kootenays starting in 1969. Became a vegetarian in 1971. Travelled the ‘hippie trail’ to India in 1972. Formed a little company in 1976 to promote more responsible living through efficient energy/resource use. Focus has been the design of net zero housing and the promotion of composting sanitation. The latter has been but an excuse to enjoy the outdoors by providing facilities across Canada’s parks. These evangelistic efforts continue somewhat abated to this day. Built a wonderful 3,300 square foot shop/apartment that treats its own wastes, produces more power than it consumes and is self reliant for water through rainwater collection. Doing this feels good.
Janet grew up in a large Italian family (in St. Louis, USA) and that has been a key influence in her life & value of Community. She lived in intentional community in St. Louis as a young adult, and during her years working with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in the Pacific Northwest. Some of her experiences included working in a migrant Hispanic community clinic in Oregon, as well as with Alaska Natives in an Eskimo Village, guided by the values of simple living, social justice, spirituality & community. Read more...
After loving life in Portland Oregon for many years, she moved to Canada to marry Michael and raise two lovely daughters that she admits are her greatest teachers.
Janet has worked for 30 years as a Nurse Practitioner in both Canada and the USA. Currently she works as a Health Consultant/Energy Practitioner with clients all over the world. She looks forward to sharing music, dance, kayaking and other adventures with her CoHo buddies!
Together Janet & Michael have lived in a village of 450 an hour from Calgary where they have appreciated the safety net of support offered by everyone knowing everyone.
They are keenly drawn to group learning/living situations and appreciate the physical proximity to facilitate caring and fun, connection and growth. That’s why marrying was a good idea! That’s why adopting two amazing girls from China (Maya and Xian) was smart. That’s why Westwind Harbour is so attractive!
Vicki and David
We met in high school and 47 years later we are still hanging out together. David was born and raised in Niagra-on-the-Lake on a small family farm and Vicki was born and raised in St. Catharines.
We have a married son, who has his own son, who is now 10 years old, living a short distance from us.
We have done many adventurous things over the years including living on a sailboat for 2 years. When David retired from being a construction contractor, he went back to school to become a psychotherapist. Vicki sold her embroidery business at the same time and started a food truck which specialized in Liege Waffles.
We have spent the last 6 to 7 years fostering “At Risk Youth” in our home and community.
What brought us to this project was the desire to be proactive in designing our “real” retirement. We see cohousing as the new normal for aging in community.
Cohousing has never attracted me, even though most of my family lives in 3 different co-housing communities in BC. I attended the Building Community workshop in July 2016 to see what my sister Carollyne was getting into. To my surprise, I fell in love with the people who were attracted to this project. The rest is history….
I’ve been an artist all my life, and had the privilege of studying in some of the finest schools in Canada, beginning with L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in my home town, Quebec City. My formal studies culminated in a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr in 2010. I translated my love of art into film production where I have worked in Set Decoration for my whole career. My claim to fame is working on X-Men 3 and too many others to count. Ask me for stories… Read more...
I am passionate about adventure travel to many parts of the globe, most notably climbing the Annapurna Pass ( elevation 17,929 ft.) at age 60. Following the climb I spent a month in India. My travels piqued my interest in international cuisine, which I love to share with my family and friends. I have a wide circle of friends and a close-knit family who gather to share meals, stories and laughs on a regular basis. (there’s a birthday a month we could be celebrating)
I am very grateful that my sisters, and their families followed me to the West Coast, which we all call home now. One of the most satisfying times in my life was when my mother came to live with me for the last 10 years of her life. We grew a special bond that made her passing very hard for me.
What I bring to co-housing is a spirit of adventure, joie de vivre, and life experience that will contribute to many projects, and many more conversations about living the good life in community.
Rin and Coral
I love to run! Marathons! Triathlons! The feeling of being on my own in a beautiful location with plenty of time by myself to use to think! I like to bike, to swim and to go on long walks too. I love people and i am quite a hermit. My happy place is to sit by the hearth with a book, maybe two or three books at a time...all on different themes and probably one in Dutch. I love good coffee! and hermit cookies. I also enjoy quietly smudging oil pastels with my fingers and making landscapes.
I am a father of three wonderful daughters, Bonice, Ellen and Monique. I am also a grand-father and a great-grand-father. I raised my family in Saanich and i taught for many years at Camosun College as an Organic Chemist. After i retired i worked at Royal Roads University in the Environmental Science Program. I taught myself new aspects of chemistry to do this work.
I have been interested in the idea of cohousing for a long time as a way to live that connects me with others and allows me to share our life experiences. It is also a challenge for me because i do enjoy my solitude so i am going to be stretching myself. I bring to this project my peaceful presence and the vulnerability of being an elder.
I love being outdoors. Walking, hiking, biking and swimming. I use my yoga mat quite a bit to ground myself. Knitting also helps me slow down. Rin and i meditate most mornings to start off the day. And i often have my nose inside a book! reading about adventures lived and to discover new ways to think and to eat!
I enjoy making coloured pencil drawings and allowing my watercolours to speak. I also love writing and illustrating. One day i would like to illustrate and to write a book! I taught art for many years as well...in Africa, in B.C....with teenagers and with adults.
For 25 years i have been practicing massage therapy, 16 years now in Sooke. I am a RMT by training but i think I am always learning about embodiment with the people who entrust me to unwind places of mind-body tension. It is a miracle every-time...witnessing how people heal themselves. I liken this work to that of a sherpa; i accompany a journey. Read more...
Rin and i have explored quite a few cohousing projects in theory and WWH is the one we chose to jump into. Partly because of its location on a lovely waterfront property, partly because of the intriguing folk who are gathering, and partly because we are getting older and it is time to live the experiment and to surprise ourselves with our discoveries...challenges and all!
Georgina Patko specializes in implementing strategy for non-profit organizations. With over 25 years of experience in non-profit management, helping them become more efficient and effective, she has a passion for making things happen.
Raised, educated and a huge lover of London, England she is often surprised by her passion for the west coast and the tranquility of the scenic environment of the Gulf Islands. ‘I guess it provides a yin to the yang!’
Georgina has been a Rotarian for 20 years, belongs to the University Women’s Club and is a member of countless other organizations. She is a social animal and happy to be involved in new projects and always curious about learning new things. She’s a dragon boater, avid reader and spends many happy hours at the gym each week. She’s looking forward to spending time working on her stained glass hobby when she has more time to relax!
She has three wonderful adult children: Josh, Tessa and Zoë.
Patricia and Linda
We first met in 1981 in London, England but did not get to live together until 2003 and we married in 2006. As a same-sex couple (Linda British, Patricia American) we could not find a country in which we could legally live as a couple so we immigrated to Canada in 2005. We are drawn to the cohousing community as we are well aware of how important community is to health and wellness as we age. We have had a home in Sooke since 2004 and love the coastal living and proximity to hiking, boating and biking. Our dog, Dudley, joined us in 2007 after we adopted him in the US. As we contemplated the next chapter of our lives, we were delighted to find a cohousing community right here. Read more...
Linda: I have lived and worked in four countries (so far): U.K.; France; USA and Canada. I have a son in France. One would think I had had enough of travel but no, the bug is still there... I have worked in health service finance, ESL and technical writing. I am a regular attendee at the Sooke pool and enjoy word games and, of course planning the next trip. I love being by the water and taking photos of wildlife. I hope to bring practicality and humour to our future community, as well a variety of cuisines to the community dinners.
Patricia: I am a retired medical doctor, a specialist in internal medicine, occupational and environmental medicine, and had my own consulting practice in Seattle for over 25 years. I am on the clinical faculty of U. of Washington as well as U. of British Columbia. I have lived most of my life in various cities around the US, but am now very comfortable in semi-rural Sooke. I enjoy part-time teaching at the UBC medical school in Victoria, aquafit at SeaParc, exercising, biking, and walking/hiking and dinners with friends as well as reading and travel. I bring to the community curiosity and willingness to try new things, as well as the desire to contribute to the health and wellness of the community.
Born and raised in Germany, I have gradually moved further west from Toronto, where I started my new life as a Canadian, first to Thunder Bay, then to Minneapolis, then Calgary and soon to Vancouver Island. It has been my intention to retire out here for many years. I love nature, outdoor activities like camping and hiking, and living close to the ocean. So the dream is becoming a reality and the prospect of living in a co-housing community makes it an even more desirable future. Co-housing is the perfect lifestyle choice for me.
Most of my professional life has been spent in some capacity as a human resource development professional. My life as an adult educator in private and public sectors has given me the chance to learn about several industries from "the inside". I have taken on people development projects in health care, telecommunications, hospitality services, railway and, most recently, oil and gas. I am a committed life-long learner, and I expect to explore learning opportunities well past my recent retirement. Read more...
I have two adult sons, who are my pride and joy and who I have raised as a single mom for most if their lives. Emmett is a lawyer, married and living in Calgary, and Denholm graduated as a Software Engineer from the University of Victoria last year. He too loves this part of the world as much as I do and has chosen to stay in Victoria to start his career.
My sweet little dog is the only family member still living with me, and we plan on enjoying many adventures together with our new-found freedom, both at home in our new community and in our travel trailer when we go camping.