Sungayka – A Songhees Cairn at Loon Bay
Loon Bay is on the north east shore of the municipality of Oak Bay and the west shore of Cadboro Bay. Located between the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and Spurn Head in the Uplands neighbourhood, it is the site of another of several cairns marking Songhees First Nation history and culture in Oak Bay. The cairn can be found at the edge of Beach Drive opposite Exeter Road. It’s theme concerns traditional use of Cadboro Bay by the Songhees people.
The inscription on top of the cairn reads:
Cadboro Bay was called Sungayka, meaning “patches of snow.” A village existed here in Loon Bay for at least parts of the last 1500 years. Qoqwialls, a game similar to lacrosse, was played on its shores, and berries were picked nearby. A Songhees elder named Kweekwukw was the last to liver here, in the 19th century. On Spurn Head across Loon Bay, a fortified trench defensive site was used by the Lekwungen people of Cadboro Bay in times of warfare.
Oak Bay Heritage, Artwork by Charles Elliott, Temoseng, BC 150 YEARS
In keeping with Uplands, the setting is manicured green lawns and an expensive veneer. Boring in many ways (especially compared to the place it must have been when the Songhees lived here), and difficult to photograph with indifferent light. While I was there on a weekend morning there was a steady stream (well perhaps a rivulet) of joggers and no walkers on the sidewalk. The joggers did not spare even a glance at the cairn and I wonder how many people it will engage in a meaningful way.
[Edit: I see on the Songhees website that Sungayka was a village at the location of the Yacht Club, and that other named village sites are located futher into Cadboro Bay. I have corrected the map].