Saturday, March 24, 2012

Florence Nightingale would have approved . . .

Cowichan District General Hospital
3045 Gibbins Road,
Duncan, BC

This facility was opened on September 15, 1967 and replaced the original King's Daughter's Hospital which was located where the current Cairnsmore Place Seniors Home is at 250 Cairnsmore Street, Duncan, BC.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupying Earth . . .

With the recent "Occupy" cities demonstrations gracing the news frequently, someone in Nanaimo, BC has had some fun.  They have created a site where one can witness aliens occupying earth.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On the line . . .

Most of Canada's land mass and population is situated north of the 49th parallel of latitude.   With the exception of some of southern Ontario and the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island, most Canadians live on the northern side of that line and identify strongly with it as the boundary that separates Canada from the USA.

The Town of Ladysmith, BC straddles the 49th.  I'm not exactly sure where the line goes through town but a commemorative cairn located in front of the post office on 1st Avenue and Gatacre St mentions it.

To celebrate this geographic fact, the local high school varsity teams are called the "49er's" and the locally owned grocery store is called the 49th Parallel Grocery.

People sit on the steps of the Ladysmith Post Office to await the annual
Ladysmith Days parade.  The cairn commemorates the founding of the town.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The tail end and the tale ends . . . but not the trail

In the early part of the last century, Vancouver Island had several competing railroads.  Most of them ran from Victoria to Sidney however, two also ran tracks up Island.  Of those, only the Esquimalt & Nanaimo Rwy still exists.   It runs from Wharf Street in Victoria to Courtenay although it is only running sporadically now, having suspended passenger service since early 2011 due to track safety concerns. 

At first it may seem incongruous to find a CN caboose permanently
housed along the former CP Rail E&N Rwy station however,
CN Rail has an important place in the rail history of the Cowichan Valley.

It's main rival for passenger service and freight on the Island was the Canadian Northern (later renamed Canadian National or CN).  It's line ran through Victoria's "Western Communities" to Sooke and then to Duncan with a termination at Lake Cowichan.  Originally surveyed to extend to Port Alberni, it was never built beyond the Cowichan Valley.  Apart from it's rail bed being turned into the Trans-Canada Trail, the only visible reminder of the former CN Rail line on Vancouver Island is a retired CN caboose resting along the E&N behind the Duncan CP Rail Stations (Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives).

The Kinsol Trestle, rebuilt as part of the Trans-Canada Trail,
was built for the Canadian Northern Railway in 1920

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Black Gold . . .

Nanaimo was founded by the Hudson's Bay Company to exploit coal reserves discovered in the area.  On December 26, 1874, Nanaimo was incorporated as a City.  A timeline for Nanaimo is posted by the Nanaimo Daily News.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dominion Post Office . . .

From confederation in 1867 to the early part of the twentieth century, the federal Department of Public Works employed a "Chief Dominion Architect". It was the role of this position to design all federal government buildings within the "Office of the Dominion Architect".   Several notable architects were employed in this role, including Thomas Seaton Scott (1872 – 1881), Thomas Fuller (1881 – 1896) and David Ewart. During the latter's tenure (1896-1914), a very familiar style of post office was created.

Known as "Romanesque Revival"  these buildings belong to a  large group of recognizably similar buildings across western Canada, all of which were variants on a common theme rather than identical structures shaped from a single standard plan.

All were built of limestone and brick and incorporated a clock tower.   Most were replaced by "modern" post office buildings in the 1970's and many still exist and have been re-purposed.  The only such structure on Vancouver Island is the current City Hall in Duncan, BC.

Duncan, BC City Hall
Former Dominion Post Office built in 1914

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Putting wet stuff on the red stuff . . .

District of Oak Bay Fire Hall
1703 Monterey Avenue
Oak Bay (Victoria), BC

Built in 1938, the Oak Bay Fire Hall is a symmetrical, Tudor Revival style two-storey building with half timbering in the gables and a row of Tudor arched bays on the front fa├žade. It was designed by noted local architect, Percy Leonard James (1878-1970). 

The Tudor Revival style is commonly utilized for Oak Bay residences.  The use of this architectural style is  considered harmonious with its environment and is symbolic of Oak Bay.

It is situated next to the Oak Bay Police Department headquarters.

The District of Oak Bay, located adjacent to the City of Victoria on the southernmost tip of Vancouver Island was incorporated as a municipality on July 2, 1906.