The Ruined Lodge at Sooke Potholes

Last Sunday, James, Monique, Julie and I visited Sooke Potholes. It’s a regional park (there’s also a provincial park–I need to work out their relationship, geographic and otherwise) along the picturesque Sooke River, which drains into Sooke Basin just east of the little town of the same name.

The park gets its name from the potholes which dot the river’s length:

Glacial action during the last ice age 15,000 years ago is responsible for the formations, as the moving, melting ice packs stripped the surface area and carved a path deep into the natural bedrock. Huge boulders carried along by the rushing river became lodged, were swirled against the canyon walls and consequently carved out the potholes that can be seen today.

It’s an extremely popular park for swimming, as well as the moderately-dangerous activity of cliff diving. Some young person occasionally kills themselves when they misjudge a jump into one of the many pools.

The park has one other unusual feature–a kind of modern ruin. It’s the remains of a lodge that Albert Yuen started developing after buying the land in 1981:

The heavily timbered lodge, the first step of Yuen’s resort, still sits unfinished overlooking the Sooke River, just beyond Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. The 20-year-old structure will likely be removed because it’s in bad shape, Turner said.

Here are a couple of photos of the remains:

Whenever I see this site, I’m struck by how it looks, on a superficial level, much like the ruins of a 500-year-old keep.

Photos by James and Harold.


  1. Shhh that’s a local fave!!

    I love the masonry. Perhaps it is romantic, but I think it will last far longer than simple reinforced concrete would.

    I recently saw a bit of documentary about a Japanese island called Hashima, a mining company settlement that housed over 5,000 people and was then abandoned in the 1970s. The concrete highrises are now crumbling. Here is a link to some information and photos:

  2. this castle is phenomenal. the quality of work is unmatched. destroying this “because of disrepair is a joke”. this site should be used for something in the community. thats the biggest fire place ive ever seen. the walls and steps are perfectly square and fit. world class workmanship.

  3. Yep it’s incredible how fast things fall apart in nature. It is fascinating to say the least.

  4. any one who has been there and actually went down those steps would know that that place is amazing simply from the view of those three waterfalls. i think that is my favorite place in the world.

  5. I visited this place many years ago, back when it was only an unfinished building and not the modern ruin it is now. We crawled all over the roof and had an awesome time. It’s sad to see only the stonework left, interesting though it is.

  6. I went there several times in the late 90’s. The view is truly unmatched. My husband and I renewed our vows in 2000, standing just outside of the building as because of deteriotaion we were not allowed inside.

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