Excerpts from Youbou’s 1940s I.T.M. Bulletins

Under the headline The Stork Lands in Camp 3 a delicately worded 1944 birth announcement “stork left two dainty bundles in pink ribbons”

The company town of Youbou

The company town of Youbou

Under the headline The Stork Lands in Camp 3 was the following delicately worded 1944 birth announcement stating that “the stork left two dainty bundles in pink ribbons” at Camp 3 in October — a daughter each was left at the homes of Mr. and Mrs. Conger and a Mr. and Mrs. Morgan.

On July 27, 1944, during lunch time, a forest fire broke out in the timber of the Hillcrest Lumber Company south of Honeymoon Bay. Two hundred hastily recruited men extinguished the fire within the hour. The scenario emphasized the extremely dangerous and dry conditions of the woods at that time. It was the first major fire in the Cowichan Lake area that year.

August 1945: “One of the oldest landmarks in Lake Cowichan village, the eight-roomed residence owned by Ken Gillespie, was completely destroyed by fire on July 4. Mr. Gillespie built the house on the bank of the Cowichan River in 1912.” In 1988 a memorial cairn was erected in memory of Gillespie on the former Gillespie property, a small section of riverbank property on South Shore Road adjacent to the present day Bargain Shop.

1945: “Of the 214 new arrivals (newborn babies) who checked into the Duncan Hospital (Kings Daughters Hospital), thirty were born to Youbou parents.”

May 1946: “The community of Youbou (as was described) lies on gently sloping property between the lakeshore and Mt. Holmes with lovely maples, dogwood and evergreens shading the attractive homes and driveways. A delightful setting, this sawmill community boasts sixty homes in the company owned town site with an additional 175 privately owned homes immediately east of the company land.” With a population of one thousand, residents enjoyed the convenience of the nearby general store, movie theatre, post office and coffee shop. There was also a community hall, six-room school, and church. Twice a day return bus service to Duncan was a major convenience for many, as was the company provided electric power and running water piped in from the mountain streams.

1946: Industrial Timber Mills (I.T.M.) owned the Youbow sawmill and woods operations (logging interests) around the lake. It “operated forty miles of logging railroad. The logging equipment included five Climax locomotives, 105 (rail) cars, five skidders, two trackside units, six cold-deck machines, and three diesel logging trucks with trailers, trucks and speeders. The company also owned a steam tugboat, the Wm. G. Moore, and the C. C. Yount, a diesel powered auxiliary tugboat.”

1947: Youbou’s second annual May Day celebrations began with a colourful parade then the children’s maypole dancing followed by the crowning of the May Queen ceremony. Celebrating the Queens Birthday, May Day was one of Youbou’s most popular events. Two of the many children who participated in the events included the 1946 May Queen, Betty Kral (Smith) and her princess Ann Campbell. Both women still live in the area.

1947: Over fifty members of the British Air Cadets and their officers visited the “large scale lumbering operation at Youbou as guests of British Columbia Forest Products Company.” When the two busloads of cadets arrived at Youbou (from Patricia Bay near Victoria) they were divided into two groups then taken on tour of an active logging operation at nearby Wardroper Creek.  They later toured the Youbou lumber mill before being served lunch at the sawmill cookhouse. The young airmen were apparently impressed with it all and “very surprised at the brief space of time required to convert huge trees to lumber.”