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Gordon and Castley empire in Lake Cowichan becomes ‘just a memory’

“Greendale Road it is now called,” wrote Trevor Green in his journal of February 21, 1965.
Gordon’s Store once sat on the site of today’s Lordco Auto Supply on South Shore Road in Lake Cowichan. The general store carried absolutely everything including dry goods

Greendale, Trevor’s World:

“Greendale Road it is now called,” wrote Trevor Green in his journal of February 21, 1965.

He was referring to the road that he lived on his entire life. Trevor was a son of pioneer Frank Green, who had homesteaded a large swath of treed land here in the late 1800s. Greendale was the name the Green’s chose to call the homestead.

As the area developed over the decades new houses sprung up along the road that bordered the Green’s property. In later years it was called the Lake Cowichan Road, and then later referred to as the Old Lake Cowichan Road, and still later Greendale Road.

If old Frank Green had his way, there never would have been a road at all. Maybe a trail to town, but not a road! Alas, as time went by the Green property slowly diminished in size, thrice losing land for the building of the trail that later became Greendale Road, and later “two highways” now called Cowichan Lake Road, and Highway 18 which opened in the early 1970s.

Upon learning of the new name of the road, Trevor commented that it “had taken on the guise of a concours d’elegance.”  He was referring to the stream of prestigious cars and their occupants, “driving up and down endlessly.”  He added,  “from the most blatant of Hot Rods spitting forth flame and mayhem to the glittering patriarchal (stately) Buicks, Pontiacs and Chevrolets. Their proud owners looking neither to the left nor right, but going inscrutably ahead emulating the glossy full-page advertising (of cars) in the current magazines and newspapers.”

Although Trevor was likely pleased that the road was named after their property, he was not overly happy about the increased traffic the road brought to his part of the world.


Gordon’s Store:

Another neatly articulated and recorded memory of Trevor’s was his jottings of May 12, 1966 when “at long last the signs advertising an upcoming public auction, which was to take place at Gordon’s Store (site of present day Lordco auto supply store), were posted.”

The store, a thriving business, that once sold everything from soup to blasting caps, now sat “empty in desolate ruin.” There were many broken windows with glass, dirt and litter scattered about the inside of the building.

Not long after the auction sign was posted, Trevor Green was asked to check the inside of the “poor old store.”  In doing so, he and Mats Johnson — who was asked to accompany Trevor — made their way across the dusty floor which was strewn with glass, rocks and “millions of old sales slips.”

On their way through they noticed a few rusty coins (totalling .50¢) scattered about. As they opened the old safe, which had one handle missing, they came upon a “neatly stacked pile of ledgers covered with mold and mildew.” Trevor was later able to report (to who I’m not sure) that nothing of importance was found in the old store.

Green had spent many good years employed at the general store that carried groceries, clothing, meat, hardware and anything else one wanted, under owners Stanley Gordon and later Mr. Castley. He had a fondness for the store and found it difficult to see the end of the “once great and powerful Gordon and Castley empire. Soon it would be just a memory,” he lamented.