You likely drove past it hundreds if not thousands of times. Perhaps you filled your gas tank or had an oil change at the service station which stood on the corner of Cowichan Lake and MacDonald Roads for nearly half a century.
Built by Reg Pilcher back in the 1940s (or earlier), the service station (gasoline pumps and mechanic service) was, for it’s day, of modern design. One distinguishing feature of the white stucco service station was the prominent curved, right front corner of the building.
When newly opened, one lone gas pump with the written logo B A Peerless Ethyl, printed on the pump, stood out like a sentinel.
According to former local resident Les Pilcher, now of Duncan, his father operated the service station for a number of years before selling the business to Charlie Omdal and Dave Graham around 1945. (Graham was the grandfather of Palsson Elementary School teacher Carolyn Graham.)
By the mid 1950s the business had been sold to Max Krakowec, a master mechanic who previously had owned and operated a service station at Shawnigan Lake.
Named Cowichan Motors (1958) Ltd., by Krakowec, his son Romeo eventually took over the business from his father, who died in 1980.
Now retired, Romeo and Marlene Krakowec operated the garage for many years before it burned to the ground in 1988.
In it’s place the Krakowec’s built a modern new building, much larger than the original one built so many years before by Reg Pilcher. In addition to more gas pumps and enlarged mechanic service area, the new building featured a large 24-hour store — a first for Lake Cowichan.
The business continues to operate today under the original name Cowichan Motors (1958) Ltd (Esso), although under different management.