The Swanson family float house bedecked with Anna Swanson’s lovely flower boxes. Photo taken at Cedar Cabins on Cowichan Lake during the early 1930s. Front row

The Swanson family float house bedecked with Anna Swanson’s lovely flower boxes. Photo taken at Cedar Cabins on Cowichan Lake during the early 1930s. Front row

The Swanson family tree branches out

In August 1960, long-time Cowichan Lake resident Carl Swanson celebrated his 75th birthday.

In August 1960, long time Cowichan Lake resident Carl Swanson celebrated his 75th birthday. Family and friends from near and far gathered at the Swanson home on Cowichan Lake’s Marble Bay (now Bayview Village) for a surprise birthday celebration for Carl. At least 80 names were mentioned in the local newspaper as attending the event.

As a young man, Carl left his homeland of Sweden venturing out by sailing ship around the notorious Cape Horn and on to Canada. settling in North Vancouver.  After meeting Anna Borg, who had left her home in Goteborg, Sweden for Canada, the young couple married and had three daughters Edith (Mrs.Walter Tiesu), Bonnie (Mrs. Ed Marley), and Ethel (Mrs. Jack Davis) who were all born in North Vancouver.

In 1913 they moved to Youbou (they lived in a tent for the first while) where Carl found employment as a saw filer. The family later moved to Lake Cowichan where they took up residence in a float house anchored near the present day weir. They later moved the float house around the lake to wherever Carl, a logger, was working at the time. Years later Ethel recalled her mothers beautiful flower boxes on the float house, the gardens and the eggs from her mothers chickens and ducks.

The Swanson girls either walked to school or rowed their boat down the lake, tying up at Scholey’s Store (where Jakes at the Lake restaurant now stands).  They then walked to the school (the first area schoolhouse), which was located near today’s Evergreen Apartment building.

In addition to the smaller boat, Carl also owned a larger one called the Grey Streak. Like most of the town’s residents back then, the Swanson’s did not own a motorcar so the Grey Streak served as the family vehicle.

Carl and Anna later operated a floating dance hall. It was moored on the river behind today’s town municipal office and was, for a time, called Noah’s Ark after it’s next owner Rev. Maynard. The Swanson’s also operated Swan Café, which was set up in a residence that occupied the property of today’s post office. Daughter Bonnie, whose real name was Anna, ran a beauty parlour out of the same residence.

Another Swanson venture included the purchase and operation of Sunset Auto Court. Located on the North Arm of  Cowichan Lake. The beautiful property was later subdivided into single-family lots where many lovely lakefront homes were built.

“In the mid 1930s, the northern portion of the North Arm waterfront had been bought by a Mr. and Mrs. Carl Swanson — respected Scandinavian pioneers — who developed what was known as Sunset Park, erecting several comfortable cabins, for seasonal visitors, and for permanent occupants.  Mr. Swanson piped water down from Meade’s Mountain, for domestic use, and also, with great ingenuity, installed a small pelton wheel to generate electricity for his buildings. “This venture worked fairly efficiently, I believe, except at certain seasons of the year…” Excerpt from the Trevor Green Journals.

After the sale of the auto court the couple moved to Marble Bay where Carl built a beautiful home (as described by Henry Lundgren, emcee at the 75th birthday party). On October 31, 1965, just five years after Carl’s 75th birthday and a year and a half after Anna died, Carl passed away at age 80.

Although it’s been 99 years since the Swanson’s came to Cowichan Lake, there remains a Swanson presence in the community to this day. Several descendants, including grandchildren, Marie Monti, Larry, Don and John Davis, several great grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and great-great-great grandchildren make Lake Cowichan their home.

 

 

Just Posted

The province has come through with funding for Duncan Manor’s renewal project. (File photo)
Funding comes through for Duncan Manor’s renewal project

Money will come from the province’s Community Housing Fund

The former St. Joseph’s School site will remain an art studio at least into early next year. It will take some time before being converted to an addictions recovery community. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Addiction recovery facility will be all about building community together

Society on a clear path with members’ experiences to provide valuable help

Seniors in the Cowichan Valley are being moved into the new Hamlets. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
New Hamlets in Duncan admitting seniors

Residential-care facility has 88 beds

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
Arrests continue to mount at Fairy Creek as protesters complain about RCMP tactics

Number of arrests approach 200 in ongoing southern Vancouver Island logging protest

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read