***A Sad WindPhone Update August 2022***
You may have come across a wind phone in your journeys either online or by foot. The history dates back to Ōtsuchi, Japan, the site of the first wind phone created by garden designer Itaru Sasaki to help him cope with the sudden loss of his cousin after the tragic events of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Replica phones have popped up all over the world, including one in Port Moody installed in 2021.
Sooke residents briefly had access to their own wind phone along Charters Creek and Sooke River Road, however, without explanation, it has been removed. There was evidence of public dispute over the wind phone, some expressing disappointment of it being mounted to a living tree, others expressing how valuable it is for an individual’s mental health during the grieving process when dealing with the loss of a loved one.
Evidence of the impact the wind phone has made on the community in its very short time is abundant in the screenshots of the public comments made on social media outlets.
The trail is still beautiful and peaceful, but at the end, you will only find a rock with a little sign that says “Good-bye We will miss you — Telephone of the wind.”
Do you ever wish you could reach out to a lost loved one? Say the thing left unsaid? Sooke has a new addition to its trail system to do just that. Visit the “Telephone of the Wind,” where anyone at any time is welcome to speak to lost family and friends in solitude. The wind phone’s surroundings offer a gentle, secluded opportunity to release the unsaid and share thoughts that may feel locked up inside.
Ōtsuchi, Japan, is the site of the first wind phone, created by garden designer Itaru Sasaki to help him cope with the sudden loss of his cousin. It was later opened to the public after the tragic events of the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami and has received over 30,000 visitors to date. Replica phones have popped up all over the world, including one in Port Moody installed in 2021.
Although the person who installed “The Telephone of The Wind” is anonymous, we do know Sooke’s little white phone was donated by a local business, Reynold’s Antiques and Collectibles, and permission to hang the phone was given by the CRD Real Estate Manager.
You can find the wind phone near Sooke River Road, next door to the Juan de Fuca Salmon Restoration Society, on Charters Creek Trail, which was built to observe the salmon in the fall. Visitors are welcome to speak into the receiver amongst old-growth trees, natural ferns and mossy surroundings whilst the calm babbling of the creek keeps company.
The creators of the Sooke wind phone ask that visitors acknowledge and treat the natural surroundings with respect and keep a considerate distance from those who may be using the phone.
Along Sooke River Road, there is a small turnout for access to the Charter Creek turnout. You can find a larger parking lot just over the bridge at the Salmon Fishery parking lot.
The trail is short, easy and beautiful. You will make your way over a couple of bridges and pass old-growth trees, all while walking along a babbling creek. The Wind Phone is only 2oo meters from the road.