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Dateline Cowichan 1966: Community icons protest new store
I can’t help it — my neighbourhood grocery store (now 49th Parallel) will forever be in my mind Bruce’s Grocery at Bruce’s Corner.
Preston Bruce and his brother opened the store in the late 1930s, and chose a great site to attract customers. Across from what was then the main road through town was Queen Margaret’s School; next door was a satellite building to Duncan elementary school; across Cairnsmore stood Duncan Elementary’s main building; and just south of QMS were the ball fields (now Centennial Heights).
And in January 1966, Bruce joined forces with the fiery new red-headed QMS head mistress Margaret Glide to protest what could in their opinion become a parking problem in the vicinity of Cairnsmore, College and Government Streets if another store opened.
There was a rumour, said Bruce, that a store — run by the owners of the Cecil Cafe on Station Street — would begin operations just west of a garage that was to be built at the corner. What were city intentions regarding parking facilities, seeing as he was planning expansion of his own Red and White store, he asked City Council.
Glide soon joined the protest. Her concern was the hazard to school children that the establishment of another store would create.
During the previous month RCMP in Duncan answered 149 calls, attended three fires, 21 accidents of which 14 were reportable with four persons injured. As well there were 309 parking penalties, according to Sgt. E. D. Anderson.
Cowichan-Newcastle MLA Bob Strachan told Duncan Rotarians he estimated the eventual cost of a comprehensive medicare program at $25 per capita. He said 190,000 British Columbians had recently signed on to B.C.’s part program.
Canon and Mrs. Crisfield of St. John’s Anglican Church entertained clergy and wives of the Cowichan Deanery in honour of Rev. and Mrs. Greenhaigh of St. Peter’s who would soon be leaving the area to live at Royal Oak.