The following is a continuation of last week’s story about how adventurous the trip from Lake Cowichan to Duncan used to be, during the first half of the 20th century.
At this time, a road not much more than a trail connected the communities.
A fleet of cars, including Chalmers and McLaughlin-Buicks, were owned by Bill Pourier, who packed people in like sardines and drove them between the communities.
All quotations are attributed to Trevor Green from his recollections of a day trip to Duncan.
Upon descending the long and winding Currie’s Hill, the old McLaughlin-Buick reached a scheduled stop near Hillcrest, where an additional passenger or two might be squeezed into the vehicle, along with young Trevor, Brian and the rest of the Lake Cowichan folks.
Presumably, a few passengers had departed at earlier points, leaving a bit of space for the additional passengers.
They last leg of the trip to Duncan was underway, and it wasn’t too long before the old vehicle made its way past Queen Margaret’s School, which was in those days considered “well out in the country.”
It was at this point that “the first faint suggestion of black-top as well as a few straggling streets lights appeared.”
The area surrounding the Government Street hill area down to the present day law courts (also known as ‘the round building’) was still covered with thick virgin forest on either side of the road.
From there, it was just a short distance to the railway station, which today serves as Duncan’s museum, where Pourier parked his vehicle.
Since the train stopped at the station twice a day, Pourier was able to “intercept” (as Trevor would have said) new passengers on their way from Victoria to the Lake.
At noon Pourier and his new load of passengers crammed into the old stage vehicle and headed back to the Lake, making all the same stops, dropping off mail sacks and picking up or dropping off passengers.
Once back home Pourier turned around and did the entire trip again.
For the Green boys and their mother, if they had time after their shopping and appointments were finished, they might have lunch at Clay’s (a restaurant or café of some sort), which was, located upstairs in the Oddfellow’s building (which is still there) on Station Street.
Although there was a very limited menu, “the good plain food was served on heavy white china, with sturdy cutlery.”
After lunch, there might be time for the Green brothers to explore Duncan a little before catching the afternoon stage back at the Lake and their home at Greendale.