What a photo! While the kids were out enjoying a swim at Cowichan River’s Little Beach on Greendale Road, “Thousands of frogs recently appeared and some stopped their migration for a while to play with the likes of Jimmy Perello, 10, who invited a number of the wee amphibians aboard his raft.” So cool. (Lake News, Aug. 13, 1980)

Flashback: Summertime fun: Youbou Regatta, toads, and shutdowns

Remember these stories from Cowichan Lake?

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old newspapers with the assistance of the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives so we can jog your memory, give you that nostalgic feeling, or just a chuckle, as we take a look at what was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by.

This week around the Cowichan Lake area…

10 years ago

It was sad news for more than one community, as local girl-turned-reporter/photographer Ashley Gaudreault helped Lake Cowichan Gazette editor Tyler Clarke report in the Wednesday, Aug. 11 paper.

“After a week of searching, Lake Cowichan RCMP have reported that the body of a Victoria man who drowned after jumping off a cliff into Cowichan Lake, August 1, has been found. Coroners have positively identified the man as Jan Sedivy, a resident of Victoria, born in 1983. The body was found Sunday, Aug. 8.”

It ended up being two civilian divers that located the body after a police search yielded no results.

“Two divers located the body at a depth of 195 feet in very close proximity to where the man was seen jumping the first of August,” Lake Cowichan RCMP Sgt. Dave Voller said.

“The two civilian divers, one from Duncan and the other from Victoria, had read about the missing body in the media, and headed out to Cowichan Lake to do their part.

“At their own volition and expense, they found the body within seven minutes,” Voller said.

“The speed that the divers found the body, versus the unsuccessful week-long search RCMP dive teams spent looking for the body, is due to a Canadian Labour Code restriction, allowing RCMP to dive down no deeper than 130 feet, Voller said.”

“When you’re restricted to 130 feet, it becomes an issue,” Voller clarified.

In other police news coming out of that edition was this gem:

“Duncan resident Millie Ash-Timmerman didn’t intend on giving a bear a ride in her car Saturday, July 31. She was also a little bothered when she found out the bruin had eaten her bakery goods. After leaving her SUV parked in Lake Cowichan with its window open for a while visiting friends, Ash-Timmerman returned to find her reading glasses, also finding a bear, chowing down on some baked goods she had in the back seat.

“I just shut the door and ran back up to the house, which wasn’t far away,” she said. Upon returning to the vehicle, she found it covered in slobber, but left pretty neat, considering the circumstances.

25 years ago

“Regatta wows ‘em again!” was the headline on the front page of the Aug. 16, 1995 Lake News.

“Threatening skies and cool winds greeted the crowds lining the parade route at the Youbou Regatta. The parade itself was greeted with warm applause and loud cheers. The parade winners are as follows: First in the children’s category was the Flintstones float, containing Michael Stokes and Kevin stokes as Fred, Jonathan Close as Bam-Bam and Chantal Gaudreau as Pebbles, 2nd Terri Vincent as “Good”, 3rd, was Jeremy Arthur as “Evil”.

The accolades went on from there with what seemed like another idyllic annual regatta.

Also on that front page, an “Accident ties up North Shore”.

“A mini motor-home flipped over on North Shore Road Sunday evening, tying up traffic for more than half an hour before being removed by Daly’s Esso Center of Youbou.

“The driver, Arthur Burley, of Golden, was taken to hospital, said Sgt. Ron Merchant, RCMP. He is scheduled to appear in court in October on an alcohol-related charge.”

40 years ago

Even 40 years ago the heat made headlines in this neck of the woods.

“Hot spell heats woods as folks seek the shade” was the headline, though that hardly seems news anymore.

“The Cowichan Lake area had enjoyed more than a month of almost uninterrupted sunny weather and local residents and tourists alike have been flocking to the beaches. But campers enjoying the beautiful outdoors around the lake have been getting sloppy.”

Man, this could really be written any time, couldn’t it?

“Lake Cowichan Forest Ranger Frank Ullman said Tuesday forest patrols have discovered a record number of abandoned campfires this year.”

Not good.

“It’s up into the 40s, where only three or four years ago we found only 13,” he said. He puts the blame on a false feeling of security created by the wet weather of early summer.

“Such sloppiness in cleaning up the remains of a camp-out can be one of the reasons for a closure of the woods to all campers, Ullman said.”

The same is likely true for today, so be forewarned.

Also 40 years ago this week a lot of men were out of work. “BCFP gives 300 workers vacation with rare shutdown” was one headline while “Closures extended, 1,000 men affected” was also printed in big, bold type.

The first explained the BCFP mill at Youbou shut down for two weeks for repairs in the powerhouse while the latter dealt with scheduled closures plus the hot weather that meant an “extended summer holiday for nearly 1,000 Cowichan Lake area loggers.”

Those shutdowns included BCFP camps at Port Renfrew and Caycuse.


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