Monday, December 21, 2020 – Whiffin Spit, a popular park and destination for walkers, sightseers and nature lovers, and home to a magical tree that is trimmed each year with decorations from members of the community.
Around December 1st, the ornaments adorn the tree and as magically as they appear, early in the new year they are removed, only to return the following year. It has become a community marvel as one resident recently shared, “viewing the tree has become a family tradition. I hung a home-made ornament on my first visit several years ago and to my amazement, it is still there today!”
Another resident tells a story of their first visit to Whiffin Spit, which happened to be on a cool December day. “When I first arrived in Sooke, I knew nothing about the community that would eventually become my home. As I explored, I came across this amazing seaside path. In addition to the many friendly people and dogs I saw, there was this tree. A lone Sitka Spruce, windswept and decorated will all sorts of ornaments. It was clear to me, that this was something special.”
From ornaments fashioned from fishing gear and floats to honouring loved ones through photos to the traditional Christmas bulbs, the tree marks a display of island culture and Sooke’s community spirit. There is something special in this tree and something special in this community.
There is care in the stewardship of the tree, of the ornaments and in the sense of community that it inspires. As we look ahead to a new year, after a year that will go down in the history books for many reasons – among them, resiliency. We can turn to our neighbours, waving hello from a distance, or on a walk along Whiffin Spit take a moment to admire the ornaments adorning a tree – there, we see a reflection of our community and a symbol of spirit, pride and joy.
Whiffin Spit is accessed at the end of Whiffin Spit Road. The Spit is situated between the Sooke Harbour and Juan de Fuca Strait; it offers a scenic coastal walk along the shoreline. Wildlife from shorebirds to sea lions can often be spotted during your walk. During winter months, the public should expect the trail to function as a nature trail as seasonal storms wash debris ashore. Parks staff tend to the site regularly, with enhanced maintenance completed at the end of each season.