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Posts tagged ‘pictures’

The Whiffin Spit Christmas Tree – A West Coast Christmas Tradition

The Whiffin Spit Christmas Tree

When I first came to Sooke to look at the house I eventually bought, I took a walk out Whiffin Spit. I knew nothing about the community that would become my home and my chosen place to start a family. I didn’t even know what Whiffin Spit was, I was just driving around exploring and found this cool seaside park with a light at the end of the path. It was just after Christmas, and as I meandered along the path, in addition to the many friendly people I saw and lots of dogs, there it was, this tree. Read more

[Pics] Prestige Hotel And Convention Centre Sooke Nears Completion

 

Prestige Sooke Hotel Entrance

The pillars look even larger than from the road

I was invited to take a hard hat tour of the brand new Prestige Oceanfront Resort and Convention Centre on the waterfront in Sooke. Their first Vancouver Island property, Prestige has pulled out all the stops and has created something incredible on our shores.

Everything is going to be top-notch and elegant. The hotel is much closer to the harbour than I had anticipated – the views are simply stunning and most rooms will enjoy a great view of the harbour, basin, East Sooke, Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains.

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Prestige Hotel and Conference Centre in Sooke Takes Shape [Photos]

The Prestige Hotel is slated to open in February 2011

Every day I drive by the site of the new Prestige Hotel and Conference Centre on the waterfront in Sooke. It’s been fun and exciting to watch it all come together. This amazing facility is scheduled to open in February of next year, and since my last update, they’ve announced some more exciting features:

  • The restaurant in the hotel will be Sal’s Prime Steakhouse – just looking at their menu makes my mouth water!
  • A Bistro called The Mix by Ric’s (as in Ric’s Steakhouse) will feature tapas, martinis, and a lounge
  • There will be a coffee bar and bakery
  • Indoor pool, hot tub and fitness facility
  • Waterfront spa

I stopped on the way home last week and snapped a few pictures of the construction:

Work on the exterior cladding has started

Look at that view!

Immediately beside the hotel will be a public boat launch, whose construction is also underway. The District of Sooke recently updated the progress of construction and the project scope in their District Quarterly Newsletter.

I can’t wait to see what this place is going to look like when it’s finished!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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What’s Building In Sooke? Projects Update [Photos]

A while back, I wrote about the BC Spirit Square that was announced for Ed Macgregor Park in Sooke. The oft-vandalized BC Government sign visible from the roadway had been sitting there for months with not a lot of action behind it in the park. Well, as I was passing by the other day I got a glimpse of the outdoor performance space that was promised as part of the Spirit Square:

The outdoor stage in the new Spirit Square

In addition to the stage, washrooms, lighting and drainage/erosion control are being installed. Ed Macgregor park is getting better and better – imagine the Sooke Philharmonic Fling concert being played on a nice new stage, and being able to walk from downtown along the waterfront boardwalk to enjoy it!

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Every day I drive past the site of the new Prestige Hotel being built along the waterfront in Sooke. As I’ve written before, this is an amazing development and will be a welcome asset to our town, for visitors and locals alike. Work has been progressing steadily since October on the project and it appears that the foundation is nearing completion:

The Foundation of the Prestige Hotel in Sooke near completion

I hope to take some more photos as construction on this project continues.

Sooke is definitely moving up in the world – with its stunning natural beauty, relatively affordable housing, and small-town charm, it’s no surprise.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Moral Dilemma

I missed a Horrible MLS Photo yesterday. I had a bit of thinking to do on the future of this part of my blog.

On Friday, I had a call from a member of our real estate board who had noticed one of his pictures on the blog last week. He wasn’t upset about the fact that his photo had ended up on my blog, but was more concerned that I was skating on thin ice by pointing out the inadequacies of other members’ photography skills, which could be construed as discrediting another member, which isn’t allowed under our code of ethics.

I explained that I never ever mention the name of the REALTOR®, the address or even the MLS® number of the subject photo. In fact, I rarely even know these things myself; I usually just scan the photos section of the listing without looking at such details.

Often, the photos are from out of the area or are e-mailed to me by readers.

And the whole point of this exercise (other than entertaining you, the reader), is to encourage real estate agents to get better at what we do. I’ve even posted some of my own photos before.

This agent that called was concerned that I was poking fun at other agents in our area, which is inappropriate, especially now that I’ve been elected as a director for our real estate board. It really struck me when he told me that he had in fact voted for me. I felt like a complete jerk.

So I had a bit of a dilemma on my hands. On the one hand, I don’t feel I’m doing anything wrong. Usually my comments are more helpful tips on how to make the photo better rather than biting remarks ridiculing the agent that took the photo (whose identity is never revealed). On the other hand, I do have a duty to respect and represent the agents who elected me to sit on the board for the next two years, and I feel I’m held to a higher standard in that regard.

What I’ve decided is that I’ll continue the Horrible MLS Photo Of The Day. However, I will no longer use pictures from the Victoria Real Estate Board, and wherever possible, I’ll search for them outside the province. I will also begin to accept reader submissions from outside our trading area. I will also make sure that my comments about the photos, if any, will be constructive in nature and not demeaning.

And my policy stands as it always has, that if you’ve found one of your photos on this blog and want it removed, simply let me know and I’ll take it down.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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A Day Trip To Port Renfrew

Last Saturday, we took a day trip with another couple up to Port Renfrew. About a 45 minute drive from Sooke, Port Renfrew is a beautiful little spot, and is basically the “last stop” on the highway along this part of the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Well known for halibut and salmon fishing, as well as the southern terminus of the West Coast Trail, Port Renfrew is the West coast in the raw. Wild, rough, and breathtakingly beautiful (knew a girl like that once… 😉 )

Our first stop was Botany Bay and Botanical Beach. The tide was dropping, so it was a good time for a hike through the rainforest (it was sunny) to the shoreline. Upon arriving at the rugged, windswept coastline, we were treated to a show by three or four grey whales, which were basking in the water no more than ten metres offshore! I chose the wrong lens to bring along – my wide angle – which makes for some great scenic shots, but not very good shots of the whales. We walked along the coastline of the bay, taking in the warm Fall weather and watching the waves crash against the shore. I snapped a few pictures, and narrowly avoided being soaked by a wave or two.

Jagged Coastline around Botany Bay

Jagged Coastline around Botany Bay

Ultra-green seaweed in the tidepools

Ultra-green seaweed in the tidepools

I love rocks, and the geology of Port Renfrew’s beaches is amazing. Lots of igneous (volcanic) rock around the shoreline, combined with sedimentary rock scattered about. The tidepools at Botanical Beach and Botany Bay are famous for having lots of life in them. Unlike many tidepools, which are only refreshed when the tide comes in, the tidepools here are flushed regularly by the strong waves and currents, even when the tide is out in some cases. This keeps the water fresh and their inhabitants alive.

Life in the tidepools

Life in the tidepools

Amazing rock formations

Amazing rock formations

Tidepools and rock formations

Tidepools and rock formations

After leaving the beaches and the park, we took the new road from Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan. The last time I drove this road, it was nearly all gravel and was quite rough on my car. It’s nearly all paved now, and it was a quick 25-30 minute drive to Cowichan from Renfrew. Along the way we stopped to marvel at the Harris Creek Spruce, a giant old-growth spruce tree that is simply amazing. It’s apparently one of the largest trees on the Island.

You cant tell how big it is from this picture!

You can't tell how big it is from this picture!

Our day completed with an awesome dinner and a beer in Duncan, at Craig Street Brew Pub. If there are any entrepreneurs in Sooke reading, we need a brew pub!

A quick drive down the Malahat and back to Sooke completed our circle tour. I highly reccomend you try out the new road. I think the next time I go camping up around Lake Cowichan, I’ll take the road from Renfrew. It’s got to be just as quick if not faster, and there would be less traffic.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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District of Sooke Launches New Website

Not long after re-directing the old http://district.sooke.bc.ca website to http://Sooke.ca a year or so ago, the District of Sooke embarked on a re-design project for the tired-looking (and content-lacking) site. Earlier this month, the newly-designed Sooke District Web Site was launched.

Pictures And West Coast Colours Feature Prominently

Pictures And West Coast Colours Feature Prominently

The new design looks great, and has an intuitive layout including a search box, with west coast inspired colours and lots of pictures on the front page.

Although the basic content hasn’t changed a whole lot, I’m sure with a modern interface it will be easier for District of Sooke staff to add things like council minutes and agendas, election info, and bylaws.

There is a great section on Sooke history, and a Sooke photo gallery which includes local photography of Sooke beaches, Sooke wildlife, flowers, and even historical photos from Sooke’s past.

Bravo to the District staff for improving an important information resource for residents, businesses, and visitors alike.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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