1948-1950 Lake Cowichan abuzz with construction and development

The Reed Block, (as it was then known to Lake Cowichan citizens) on South Shore Road, was constructed in 1948.

Situated on what is now called South Shore Road

Situated on what is now called South Shore Road

The Reed Block, (as it was then known to Lake Cowichan citizens) on South Shore Road, was constructed in 1948 by long time resident Fred Reed. It featured two street level storefronts as well as a billiard hall and men’s barbershop in the basement.

A pharmacy and a men’s clothing store were just two of the businesses that once occupied the space. Today the same building, which was enlarged in later years, is the location of a dollar store and hair salon with a fitness center in the basement.

At the same time a  little further up the street, Mr. McKinley was constructing a new business building. In September, 1950 Harry Smith’s newly constructed building housed a new billiard hall and a confectionery store. It was later the site of a popular clothing store called Tot’s n’ Teen’s. Just a few steps away from present day Lake Cowichan Secondary School, the same building is now the location of J&V’s Burgers and Pizza.

Further up South Shore Road was a British-American oil storage station facility under construction.  Work was also progressing on the new Anglican Church on Cowichan Avenue.

Additionally, work was nearly completed on the new movie theatre, presently an apartment building.  Plans were underway for the construction of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #210 directly across North Shore Road from the new movie theatre.

The biggest construction project in the village was a much-needed six-room addition to Lake Cowichan High School (now Lake Cowichan Secondary School).

On the site of present day Village Market property was a newly built forestry station. A few years ago, the forestry station was relocated to the corner of Wellington Avenue and Coronation Street and presently serves as the Lake Cowichan Trans Canada Trail office and the local radio station.

With the completion of Lake Service Garage and Lake Cowichan Hardware the village was most certainly booming.

While many new residences were also being constructed, Lake Cowichan’s Town Council was trying to keep up with the fast pace of growth that was taking place in the area. By 1951, plans in the works included the addition of 51 new street lights within the village, a sidewalk expansion along South Shore Road and a brand  new power line to serve one side of the river (with the other side to be completed the following year).

The areas’ “big lumber mills” dotted along the lakeshores were, as was described in a 1950 issue of the Lake Cowichan Bulletin, “far from being quiet.”

It was a time of growth and employment opportunities, which made for very optimistic, vibrant and well-off communities.