Irene and Brian

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.


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.