Rolli Gunderson

Circa 1990–Village of Lake Cowichan councillor Earle Darling and village clerk Pat Akerly (1986 to 1990). Darling served as town councillor from 1984 to 1990 and mayor from 1991 to 1996.

Rolli’s Pages of History: 1990–a blast from our past

Rolli Gunderson reviews the events and happenings of 1990.

Circa 1990–Village of Lake Cowichan councillor Earle Darling and village clerk Pat Akerly (1986 to 1990). Darling served as town councillor from 1984 to 1990 and mayor from 1991 to 1996.

Remembrance Day: Death touches Cowichan Lake during WWII

Rolli Gunderson discusses the young men from around Cowichan Lake who fought and died in World War Two

England, 1945, one-year-old Reggie and his parents Tom and Marj Davis. Reggie was born during the war, and he and his mother made the long trip from the north of England to board a “War Bride ship” to Canada. This is the small diary in which War Bride Marj Davis recorded her and her young son Reggie’s trip from London to a new life in Canada.

Remembrance Day: Diary of a War Bride–Sailing to Canada

Rolli Gunderson shares the diary entries of a war bride who came to Canada in the 1940s.

England, 1945, one-year-old Reggie and his parents Tom and Marj Davis. Reggie was born during the war, and he and his mother made the long trip from the north of England to board a “War Bride ship” to Canada. This is the small diary in which War Bride Marj Davis recorded her and her young son Reggie’s trip from London to a new life in Canada.
17-year-old Lawrence Elves and his sister Verna in 1915, two years before Lawrence took part and survived the battle of Vimy Ridge. Verna later married Bill Palliser and lived for over 50 years in Lake Cowichan until her death in the 1990s. Lawrence lived until age 65 in Victoria.

Remembrance Day: 100 years since the start of WWI

Rolli Gunderson discusses the anniversary of the beginning of the First World War.

17-year-old Lawrence Elves and his sister Verna in 1915, two years before Lawrence took part and survived the battle of Vimy Ridge. Verna later married Bill Palliser and lived for over 50 years in Lake Cowichan until her death in the 1990s. Lawrence lived until age 65 in Victoria.
Photo circa 1983. Seven candidates all vying for positions on town council ready themselves to deliver their speeches at the local all-candidates meeting which is held before every election. From left: 23-year-old Rik Elves (believed to have been the youngest person to run for local office), *Ken Douglas, *Don Gordon, Frank Smith, *Barry Budden, *Earle Darling and *Ted Forrest (father of Mayor Ross Forrest).

Rolli Gunderson: Names and faces from past elections

Rolli Gunderson shares names and faces from past elections in Lake Cowichan

Photo circa 1983. Seven candidates all vying for positions on town council ready themselves to deliver their speeches at the local all-candidates meeting which is held before every election. From left: 23-year-old Rik Elves (believed to have been the youngest person to run for local office), *Ken Douglas, *Don Gordon, Frank Smith, *Barry Budden, *Earle Darling and *Ted Forrest (father of Mayor Ross Forrest).
Kristin Svendsen, Mitsuki Takayama, Nonoka Fujita and Camika Bell enjoy dinner together on Tuesday evening at Centennial Hall. The evening was arranged for the Ohtaki and Lake Cowichan delegates, visitors and families on the Japanese delegates’ last evening in Lake Cowichan. The Ohtaki group was in Lake Cowichan for four days of community events and cultural exchange.

Ohtaki exchange celebrates 25 years in action

Last Wednesday morning a delegation from Ohtaki, Japan left the Cowichan Lake area. The visit marked the exchange's 25th anniversary.

Kristin Svendsen, Mitsuki Takayama, Nonoka Fujita and Camika Bell enjoy dinner together on Tuesday evening at Centennial Hall. The evening was arranged for the Ohtaki and Lake Cowichan delegates, visitors and families on the Japanese delegates’ last evening in Lake Cowichan. The Ohtaki group was in Lake Cowichan for four days of community events and cultural exchange.
During the late 1990's, after an extensive set of renovations, tje Cutthroat Tavern opened in the former Westerm Forest Industries mill office in Honeymoon Bay. A few years later, under new management, the Honey Pot Pub and Restaurant occupied the building until it closed, leaving the building vacant.

Rolli: What a difference a decade makes

Rolli Gunderson details the differences between Lake Cowichan in 1994 and 2014.

During the late 1990's, after an extensive set of renovations, tje Cutthroat Tavern opened in the former Westerm Forest Industries mill office in Honeymoon Bay. A few years later, under new management, the Honey Pot Pub and Restaurant occupied the building until it closed, leaving the building vacant.
On its way to Youbou, the CN Extra 1000 engine slows down near King George Street in Lake Cowichan for locals who were on hand for its final run, which took place on March 27, 1988.

From rails to trails

Rolli Gunderson continues to discuss the history of the railways, detailing how they've been turned into hiking trails.

On its way to Youbou, the CN Extra 1000 engine slows down near King George Street in Lake Cowichan for locals who were on hand for its final run, which took place on March 27, 1988.
In March of 1988 the last run of the Canadian National Railway (CNR) train from Youbou paused on the overpass (and cement pedestrian tunnel) that spanned South Shore Road in the heart of the village of Lake Cowichan. It was the end of an era that began in 1925 when the first CNR train arrived in Youbou. Long since removed, all that is left of the old overpass and cement girder today is a small wall of cement, inlaid with rock, which forms part of the entrance to the Cowichan Lake Forest Memorial Park.

All aboard the last train from Youbou

In March 1988 the last train from Youbou moved slowly through town on its final run before hastening on into oblivion.

In March of 1988 the last run of the Canadian National Railway (CNR) train from Youbou paused on the overpass (and cement pedestrian tunnel) that spanned South Shore Road in the heart of the village of Lake Cowichan. It was the end of an era that began in 1925 when the first CNR train arrived in Youbou. Long since removed, all that is left of the old overpass and cement girder today is a small wall of cement, inlaid with rock, which forms part of the entrance to the Cowichan Lake Forest Memorial Park.
Emily Carr (who sketched herself on the left and a friend in the drawing above) wrote in one of her journals that during a “sweet July day” in 1895, she and a friend reached Lake Cowichan for a three-day stay. After riding the train from Victoria to Duncan, the women rode their bicycles to Lake Cowichan. The note Emily scribed says “Three of us start in sweet July, looking for rest and relief, leaving behind, all disturbance of mind, all sorrow and care and grief.”

Emily Carr’s bicycle trip to Lake Cowichan from Duncan

In 1895, a budding young artist and poet named Emily Carr, packed up her sketch book and pencil and took the train from Victoria to Duncan

Emily Carr (who sketched herself on the left and a friend in the drawing above) wrote in one of her journals that during a “sweet July day” in 1895, she and a friend reached Lake Cowichan for a three-day stay. After riding the train from Victoria to Duncan, the women rode their bicycles to Lake Cowichan. The note Emily scribed says “Three of us start in sweet July, looking for rest and relief, leaving behind, all disturbance of mind, all sorrow and care and grief.”

‘Grantie’s been shot’: Body found near Sutton Creek

One dark October evening Grantie had been shot and his body found in Sutton Creek (near Honeymoon Bay).

Youbou town site circa 1945.

Years ago Youbou thrived; booming little community

1945:Youbou was a thriving community with an ever-expanding lumber mill Industrial Timber Mill (ITM) and large logging operation.

Youbou town site circa 1945.
From left : Frank, Trevor, Louisa and Brian Green. Known to friends as Louie, Louisa Spencer Green — wife of Cowichan Lake’s first permanent pioneer Frank Green — was a strong, hardworking, dependable, somewhat impatient and outspoken woman whose solid character allowed her to survive the difficulties of pioneer life.

Cowichan Lake characters of the past

Cowichan Lake characters of the past: Louie Green and the nasty Count

From left : Frank, Trevor, Louisa and Brian Green. Known to friends as Louie, Louisa Spencer Green — wife of Cowichan Lake’s first permanent pioneer Frank Green — was a strong, hardworking, dependable, somewhat impatient and outspoken woman whose solid character allowed her to survive the difficulties of pioneer life.
On the far left, in the bottom row, wearing a floppy hat sits young Janie Griffin — along with several others — enjoying a day of boating on Cowichan Lake in 1916.

Happy childhood the E & N Railroad Station

Janie was no more than four-years-old when she arrived here at the Lake in 1915 with her parents Mr. and Mrs. Frank Griffin

On the far left, in the bottom row, wearing a floppy hat sits young Janie Griffin — along with several others — enjoying a day of boating on Cowichan Lake in 1916.
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, from left: (standing) Walter Tiesu, Mr. Helgison, Andy Nilsen, and Carl Swanson. Middle row, from left: Edith Swanson Tiesu, young Len Tiesu (first grandchild of Anna and Carl Swanson), and Ethel Swanson (later married Jack Davis). Back row, from left: Mrs. Carl (Anna) Swanson, Mrs. Fred (Sophie) Swanson, and Mrs. Andy (Asta) Nilsen

The Swanson family tree branches out

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

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, from left: (standing) Walter Tiesu, Mr. Helgison, Andy Nilsen, and Carl Swanson. Middle row, from left: Edith Swanson Tiesu, young Len Tiesu (first grandchild of Anna and Carl Swanson), and Ethel Swanson (later married Jack Davis). Back row, from left: Mrs. Carl (Anna) Swanson, Mrs. Fred (Sophie) Swanson, and Mrs. Andy (Asta) Nilsen
The Riverside Inn’s formal dining room was at the far left end of building.

1958: Places to shop and things to do in Cowichan Lake

1958: Places to shop and things to do in Cowichan Lake area

The Riverside Inn’s formal dining room was at the far left end of building.
The Simpson log house (purchased from early residents, the Stokers), is set on a lovely acreage on Cowichan Lake near Marble Bay. Now the property of the University of Victoria, the estate was willed to the university by Suzanne Simpson who died in the early 1970s. The house once held Simpson’s lovely heirloom pieces of crystal, china, silverware, cutlery and fine furniture that she had inherited from her French parents. Most of the treasures were destroyed several years before her death.

Treasure lies at lake bottom

Mrs. Suzanne Simpson arrived here with her husband George Buchanan Simpson in 1912.

The Simpson log house (purchased from early residents, the Stokers), is set on a lovely acreage on Cowichan Lake near Marble Bay. Now the property of the University of Victoria, the estate was willed to the university by Suzanne Simpson who died in the early 1970s. The house once held Simpson’s lovely heirloom pieces of crystal, china, silverware, cutlery and fine furniture that she had inherited from her French parents. Most of the treasures were destroyed several years before her death.
The company town of Youbou, as it looked in the late 1940’s. A section of Bald Mountain reaching into the lake can be seen on the left. Rising smoke from the Honeymoon Bay lumber mill can be seen on the right background.

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, as it looked in the late 1940’s. A section of Bald Mountain reaching into the lake can be seen on the left. Rising smoke from the Honeymoon Bay lumber mill can be seen on the right background.
Some readers may recall the exciting regattas held in the 1950s and 60s at Ashburnham Beach (also referred to as Rounds Beach) near Honeymoon Bay. In later years they were held at, or near, Lakeview Park. For a number of years they were held annually while other years, occasionally. This August 1988 picture shows a number of drag boats gathered at Lakeview Park awaiting the races at which more than 5,000 people attended. Today, drag boats are frowned upon here on Cowichan Lake.

Cowichan Lake life in the 1950s

It was 1958 and teens were listening to songs like the Everly Brothers hits Bird Dog and All I have to do is Dream

Some readers may recall the exciting regattas held in the 1950s and 60s at Ashburnham Beach (also referred to as Rounds Beach) near Honeymoon Bay. In later years they were held at, or near, Lakeview Park. For a number of years they were held annually while other years, occasionally. This August 1988 picture shows a number of drag boats gathered at Lakeview Park awaiting the races at which more than 5,000 people attended. Today, drag boats are frowned upon here on Cowichan Lake.
Cec Ashley and Mesachie Lake raised Nancy Robertson, a granddaughter of Hillcrest Lumber Mill founder Carlton Stone, at the recent Hillcrest reunion at the Mesachie Lake Community Hall.

Another memorable year for the Hillcrest reunion

Close to 70 people came out to the Hillcrest 12th Annual Reunion held last month at Mesachie Lake

Cec Ashley and Mesachie Lake raised Nancy Robertson, a granddaughter of Hillcrest Lumber Mill founder Carlton Stone, at the recent Hillcrest reunion at the Mesachie Lake Community Hall.
Pop-up banner image