The Madonna’s”

The Madonna’s”

Lake Cowichan trivia, interesting milestones

In years past, Lake Cowichan’s main street, known to all as South Shore Road, was called Riverside Drive.

ν The first formal visitors’ centre at Lake Cowichan was a tiny, one-room wood structure with no restroom, located at the entrance to town near Darling Tire. Although small, it served the purpose until newer and larger premises came available.



ν In years past, Lake Cowichan’s main street, known to all as South Shore Road, was called Riverside Drive. It was a continuation of today’s Riverside Drive, a residential street that runs from the car bridge along the river.



ν At the time of its incorporation in 1944, the Village of Lake Cowichan had a mere 660 residents. Over the course of the next few decades the population rose to around 3,500 (at its height) before slowly declining. According to Statistics Canada census 2006, Lake Cowichan had a population of just under 3,000.



ν 1965 was the year the first Lake Days was inaugurated. The annual event had taken place for many years prior to 1965 but had never before been referred to as Lake Days.



ν In June of 1985, Ron Kenyon arrived at Lake Cowichan to take over the newly purchased Lake News. With the help of his wife Sheila, and daughter Sue, they operated the newspaper for many years until Ron’s retirement. Up until then, it had been the only newspaper in town.



ν The community of Lake Cowichan got its first library 78 years ago. It began with a few donated books set out in a small section of a one-room business.

Run by a volunteer and operated in a very casual manner, it was exactly the opposite of the modern day library such as the Vancouver Island Regional Library system.

It was very unusual back then for a small town to have a library of any sort let alone one that marked beginnings of nearly 80 years library service to a community.



ν It was August 1986 that the old school — sometimes referred to as the Bridge school — was moved from the school grounds (where the Evergreen apartment building now stands) to the Kaatza Station Museum property where it is now known as the Bell Tower School.



ν In October of 1989 Lake Cowichan and Ohtaki, Japan officially became twin villages. The twinning was formalized when Mayor Don Gordon and Ohtaki’s  Mayor Tatebayashi signed the official twinning proclamation at a gala civic event held in Lake Cowichan.

Twenty-five years later, the twin communities remain connected.



ν This year marks the 70th anniversary of the school that until recently ­was known as Lake Cowichan Secondary School.

In August 1944, a new school (much smaller than it is today) opened under the name Cowichan Lake High School. With the opening, it was finally possible for Cowichan Lake area students to complete their Grade 12 requirements locally rather than having to leave to finish their education elsewhere.

Over the years and as the area’s population gradually increased, so did the square footage of the school. In the following decades many additions and improvements were added to the original building which is still part of today’s school.


Coincidently, August 2014 is also the 70th anniversary of the incorporation of the Village of Lake Cowichan (which was later designated a town).