Dateline Cowichan 1952: a visit from the prime minister

Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent shakes hands with Jim Campbell while Duncan Mayor J.C. Wragg looks on at left in a scene captured aat the Cowichan Exhibition  - courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archive
Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent shakes hands with Jim Campbell while Duncan Mayor J.C. Wragg looks on at left in a scene captured aat the Cowichan Exhibition
— image credit: courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archive

For decades, Cowichan residents have marked the second weekend in September with a must-do — the Cowichan Exhibition.

And in 1952, Cow Ex organizers scored a major coup: the attendance of a prime minister when Louis St. Laurent called in on his way up-island from Victoria. Scores of people filled the stands in front of the stage, reported the Leader.

"Timing of the events was carried out virtually with stop-watch precision, yet Mr. St. Laurent gave the impression of not being at all hurried..."

During his visit, the prime minister inspected the 4-H section of the cattle show; chatted with many junior farmers; delivered a speech; received a Cowichan sweater from Mrs. Jack Young, third vice-president of the exhibition board; congratulated its maker Mrs. Patrick Charlie and presented three exhibition trophies to their winners. He was also introduced to L. F. Solly, master farmer and Mrs. Solly.

Those receiving trophies from the famous guest were Gill Dunlop, best horse-bred in Cowichan; George Aylard, champion Jersey calf; and Archie Stevenson, grand champion Ayrshire cow. Accompanying the prime minister were federal fisheries minister R. W. Mayhew, MP Maj.Gen. G. R. Pearkes, V.C., and MLA R. M. Strachan.



Duncan City council approved an application by I.W.A local 1-80 to build an office in Duncan. The local was considering a lot on Brae Road next to the Knights of Pythias Hall.

Donations started to come in for the final payment on a 10-acre park site on James Street sold to the Cowichan District Community Centre Association in 1950 by A. O. (Josie) Evans, Dave Murray and James Crowe.

Work had begun on erecting 90 semi-circular 600 lb arches for  the roof of the Cowichan Curling Cooperative Association's curling and skating rink on James Street. Diagonal shiplap sheathing would join the arches, strengthening the unusual roof.

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