In the early years of Cumberland's Victoria Day holiday, sports played a huge part of the celebrations. Attendants were invited not just to watch, but also to be active participants, in a whole host of races, games, football matches and a tug-of-war, with prizes given to the victors. In 1918 there were 31 separate events with prizes ranging from silver cups to cash. The 100-yard Single Ladies' Race had a first prize of $4 and a second prize of $2. While it boasted the same amount for prizes, the Married Ladies' Race was only 75 yards long. First Aid competitions were held with [...]
This spring, celebrate the 50th anniversary of a valuable service that many Comox Valley residents use every day without much thought or effort: door-to-door mail delivery.A survey held in January 1971 revealed that there were 2,475 residences in Courtenay and 1,076 residences in Comox, pushing the region over the required minimum of 2,000 homes and qualifying them for the service.Preparations began in February. Circulars were hand-delivered to inform households that they must display their house number clearly and install proper mailboxes or slots for receiving their mail.The shift in delivery required sweeping changes in the post office's operations and handling of mail. All [...]
Coke ovens at Union Bay, ca. 1905. CDM 979.3.31. Union Bay's Chinese Community For almost sixty years, a Chinese community thrived at the edge of Union Bay. Many of the men who lived there had originally come from Guangdong province to Canada to work on railway construction and later located to Union Bay to work for the Dunsmuir’s Union Coal Company. Some men were trimmers, who would climb into a ship's hold to spread the coal evenly as it fell through chutes from the coal cars. Others worked as rakers, pulling coke from the sulfurous, searing-hot coke ovens with heavy rakes. These jobs were tedious, grueling and dangerous. Over one hundred men lived in this community in the 1890s. By the 1950s, only a few remained. [...]
We are pleased and proud to announce that our book Step into Wilderness – A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley has been shortlisted for the British Columbia Historical Federation’s Lieutenant Governor’s Writing Competition. Awards will be revealed June 5. You can read more about it here.
Local historian Isabelle Stubbs sometimes reminisced about bridge closures and detours in the "Coffee Cup Chatter" column she wrote for the newspapers. Isabelle and family were relatively new to the Valley in 1923 when the bridge crossing the Courtenay River was closed. Folks could either detour miles out of their way over the Condensory Bridge or try a shorter but more labour-intensive route. Isabelle recalled that "...a footbridge was built just north of the condemned structure while repairs and a new bridge was completed. During construction, farmers brought milk, eggs and farm produce to the Courtenay Hotel, then used wheelbarrows or carried the [...]
Volunteer Appreciation Week April 18-24 What a strange year it has been! We are grateful to our volunteers who continued to support the museum in 2020, sometimes in very creative ways! Their dedication and assistance allowed our organization to weather the unprecedented ups-and-downs of a global pandemic, while continuing to support our community and preserve its stories for future generations. In a historic year that was both unpredictable and (let's face it) frightening, their commitment has been invaluable. We're thankful for the talents and hard work people share with us at the Courtenay and District Museum and we look forward to welcoming back our [...]
Here now is an image from the museum’s newest book Step into Wilderness – A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley. Photo credit: Annie Sutherland was left to raise five children on her own after World War I. She supported her young family through informal nursing, cleaning and cooking, like at this board of trade trek into the mountains. Photo: 2000.119.4. Page 63. Quote: "Over the years, the board of trade, today known as the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, has supported business on all levels, from roads and infrastructure to tourism and economic development. In 1922 alone, Comox [...]
In honour of Earth Day on April 22, a column by naturalist Jack Hames from the Comox District Free Press of September 27, 1972. In this article, Hames shares some thoughts on birds, bats and bugs as well as man's "earth poisoning policies". With legacy support from the Bickle Family and the Comox Valley Echo.
A mountain cottontail or Nuttall's cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii) The Easter bunny is a familiar symbol of springtime, and you might notice rabbits starting to appear in your backyard, but these animals haven't always lived on Vancouver Island. They may look cute and fluffy but they're an invasive species that can cause a lot of damage -- so how did feral rabbits end up in the Comox Valley? British Columbia is home to a few native species of wild rabbits including White-tailed Jackrabbits and Nuttall’s cottontails. However, the rabbits spotted today on Vancouver Island are neither of these species but instead are descended [...]
Spring is almost here! What a great time to connect with the outdoors and wildlife like that found at Lazo marsh. This 40 year old article from the Comox District Free Press March 25, 1981 edition provides some of the back story to the area locals know as Radford's swamp. Click for Larger Image Click for Larger Image Click for Larger Image Click for Larger Image With legacy support from the Bickle Family and the Comox Valley Echo.
By Christine Dickinson The first school in the Comox Valley opened on Mission Hill in 1871. The first teacher was S. F. Crawford, who divided his time between farming and being a schoolmaster. After 10 years, Crawford moved on to open the school on Denman Island. Crawford’s successor in 1882 was Agnes Deans Cameron, a young woman, who came with good recommendations, high ideals and strong opinions. She had been the first girl to graduate from Victoria High School, and was a fully qualified teacher at 16. At just 18 years old, Aggie Cameron already had two years of teaching behind her at the [...]
Here now is an image from the museum’s newest book Step into Wilderness – A Pictorial History of Outdoor Exploration in and around the Comox Valley. Photo credit: Jane and Jimmie Paterson with Bob Sutherland at Kye Bay 1920s. Photo: CDM Sutherland Collection. Page 140.