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Dateline Cowichan: Eighty years ago we had a pretty idyllic life

Vance Buhler took this aerial shot of the Mill Bay Marina, circa 1950.  - courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives
Vance Buhler took this aerial shot of the Mill Bay Marina, circa 1950.
— image credit: courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives

It stands to reason that life was for the most part tranquil in the Cowichan Valley 80 years ago, and the weekly Cowichan Leader reflected the serenity of the time.

Big news for the third week in June, 1934, featured stories from Chemainus, South Cowichan, Maple Bay and Duncan. In Chemainus, some 250 people enjoyed Pimlott’s orchestra at the Chemainus Baseball Club’s dance in the recreation hall. Local residents were conspicuously absent, however, and what the Leader termed a social financial success was mainly due to support from elsewhere.

Heading up the committee were William Allester, Jimmy Webster, Walter Murray and J. Dolly.  In the south, Duncan’s C. R. Day won the Lower V form prize at Shawnigan Lake School, while P. A. Matthews, younger son of Capt. and Mrs. A. B. Matthews of Westholme secured the junior sports cup.

At Maple Bay, James Aitken’s property was invaded by a thousand men of the Canadian Scottish Regiment who bivouacked there for tactical exercises. The public was invited to hear massed bands play the Retreat Saturday and Sunday evenings. And in Duncan, Miss Fyvie Young was appointed supervisor of Cowichan Health Centre, replacing the outgoing Bertha Jenkins.

1934: theft

Several suits and Cowichan sweaters were taken from Mr. W. B. Powel’s clothing store on Craig Street after thieves gained access through a trap door in the roof, probably reached from the Vidal Building on Station Street.

1934: lights

When the B.C. Electric Co. submitted figures for the installation of a street light in the business centre of Shawnigan, the Malahat Board of Trade declared the cost excessive and decided against it.

1934: bootleggers

“I was unable to get relief from the government because I had an army pension of $11.25 a month, so I started making home brew and selling it in order that my family should not starve,” said a veteran accused of supplying liquor to an Indian (sic).

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