Standfast Bible Student Colony, British Columbia
1923 – late 1920s
Associated names: Standfast Bible Students, Standfast Bible Students’ Camp, Star Brethren, Star Construction Company, Canadian Young People’s Society. (Note: Sooke Region Museum uses Standfast)
Location: In Sooke, near the intersection of Whiffin Spit Road and West Coast Road. 48.376111 N, -123.737778 W.
See also: Rainbow Valley Colony BC.
Standfast Bible Student Colony was established in 1923 by a group of 60 bible students from Alberta and Saskatchewan. The colony was one of many located across North America by individuals who had banded together to give up their worldly possessions and live more simple lives, while awaiting the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. The colony was founded on principles of love, justice, brotherly cooperation, and a desire to achieve greater spiritual progress.
The students operated a number of communal enterprises, including a garment factory, cheese making factory, bakery and fish reduction plant. The community also had a dentist, school and meeting house (or tabernacle). While a number of houses were present, a significant number of the colony’s 300 to 400 residents lived in some 70 tents.
Within two or three years, dissatisfaction among some members began to arise and the colony was abandoned. Some accounts suggest that the colony did not survive the poor economic conditions of the Depression; however, others suggest the cause of the colony’s abandonment was a lack of funds. Some members rejoined mainstream society, while a number relocated to the Port Renfrew and San Juan River area of Vancouver Island where they established the Rainbow Valley Colony.
by Jennifer L. Wardle
- Brook Farm again. 1932. Vancouver Province, 5 October, p 6. (no author found)
- Lawrence, Joseph C. 1959. A brief history of Sooke District: The south-west coast of Vancouver Island from Metchosin to Bamfield including Sooke, Otter, River Jordan and Port Renfrew. Victoria, BC. (no publisher found)
- Peers, Elida. 2010. Standfast Bible Students’ Camp. Sooke News Mirror, 18 August, p 13. Source: Sooke Region Museum.
- Peers, Elida. 2013. Rainbow Valley woodcutting 1920s style. Sooke News Mirror, 10 July, p 6. Source: Sooke Region Museum.
- Scott, Andrew. 1997. The promise of paradise: Utopian communities in B.C.. Vancouver, BC: Whitecap Books.
- Sooke Region Museum. 2007. The Sooke story. The history and the heartbeat. 3rd edition. Sooke, BC: Sooke Region Museum.
- Vowles, R., K. Shepherd, R. Hill, F. Jacobsen, S. Bullen, G. Govenlock, M. Rushton, S. Maughan, V. Jessiman, H. Arthurs, N. Peterson, W. Neilson, J. Robinson, M. Jensen, M. and E. Peers, eds. 1985. 101 Historical buildings of the Sooke Region. 1st edition. Sooke, BC: Sooke Region Historical Society.