When a trip to Duncan was an adventure

For someone who lived in the small community of Cowichan Lake in the 1920s, a day trip to Duncan was not an everyday occurrence; especially if that someone was a child.

Duncan in the 1920s. The Greens would have shopped at Cowichan Merchants

Duncan in the 1920s. The Greens would have shopped at Cowichan Merchants

For someone who lived in the small community of Cowichan Lake in the 1920s, a day trip to Duncan was not an everyday occurrence; especially if that someone was a child.

For 11-year-old Trevor Green and his slightly older brother Brian, it was not only a treat, it was also an adventure. If the circumstances were right – that is if the brothers needed new “garments or boots” or an unavoidable dental appointment, as Trev once explained – a trip with their mother was in order.

Like many locals at that time, the Greens did not own a motor vehicle, which meant that they made the trip in one of Bill Pourier’s local “stage lines” vehicles. The twice daily return trips to Duncan were made possible through the use of Pourier’s “fleet” of cars; an antiquated Chalmers and two seven-passenger McLaughlin-Buicks.

Since the road wasn’t much more than a trail, the stage left at 8 a.m. from the village and took upwards of an hour to reach its destination. Along the way, Trev (as his mother called him) enjoyed every bump and turn the road made. Years later, he described the route as such: “The road, through the magnificent forest, made sharp turns to avoid great trees, or curved gradually to avoid the steeper hills.”

This was many years prior to the construction of Highway 18.

Trev enjoyed the various stops at the small logging camps set along the old road.

The first stop was Charter Siding (about four miles out of the village; close to present day man-made Mayo Lake), where outgoing mail along with the occasional passenger were, as Trevor would have said, “collected.”

The journey slowly continued through the beautiful forest, with stops at Halfway Crossing (now known as Stoltz Road), Mowatts Swamp, and Mayo Camp (now known as Paldi).

To catch the stage, passengers from Mayo Camp had to walk out to the road and wait for its arrival. At that point, the mail sacks (incoming and outgoing) were placed in a “sturdy wooden box nailed to a tree.”

When full, the stage was anything but roomy. The vehicles were  fitted with two small jump seats behind the front seat of the car, with a board placed across them onto which three or four children passengers were squeezed.

Four “thin or averaged size adults,” as Trevor explained it, sat in the rear, with a fifth adult and one small child crammed into the front seat next to the driver. Not an inch of space was wasted. Passenger luggage was strapped to the outside running boards of the car. Using this method, nine passengers – or ten if they were very slim – could be accommodated in one trip.

Upon reaching Curries Hill, the thick, magnificent forest disappeared, and were replaced with “fields and scattered clearings,” which had been logged by earlier residents.

It was at this point that young Trevor and Brian knew that it wouldn’t be long before they reached the excitement of a day in Duncan.

The conclusion to this story will be in next week’s paper.

Research Kaatza

Station Museum

(Trevor Green papers)

Just Posted

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Cowichan Tribes man Adrian Sylvester is worried that he was targetted by a trailer hitch thrown from a vehicle. (Facebook photo)
Cowichan Tribes man worried he was target of trailer hitch

Adrian Sylvester says no one has reported a missing hitch after one nearly hit him

Mariah Segee (centre) was named 2021 Lady of the Lake last Saturday, with Megan Rowbottom (left) as first princess, and Macey Anderson (right) as second princess. (Submitted)
Lady of the Lake returns to Lake Cowichan

Mariah Segee takes the crown in first pageant since 2018

Darren Campbell's truck was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch (pictured) on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
UPDATE: Cowichan Bay Good Samaritan’s stolen truck recovered

‘Very much appreciated the help from so many people. I hope the very best for all of you’

Threads N Tails owner Lee-Ann Burke’s pet clothing has been featured on the cover of the June/July issue of Pet Connection Magazine. (Submitted)
Lake Cowichan business featured on magazine cover

Lee-Ann Burke hopes the extra publicity will increase sales

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

Graeme Roberts, who was mayor of Nanaimo from 1984-86, died this month at age 89. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Community Archives)
City of Nanaimo flags at half-mast as former mayor Graeme Roberts dies at 89

‘Giant-killer’ beat out Frank Ney in mayoral election in 1984

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read