Dateline Cowichan 1918: Cowichan parties after the war ends

Duncan Public School off Cairnsmore Street was built in 1913 in Georgian Revival style. It
Duncan Public School off Cairnsmore Street was built in 1913 in Georgian Revival style. It's now Duncan Elementary School offering French-immersion instruction.
— image credit: courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archive

“DUNCAN REJOICES” rang the Leader headline the week news of the armistice with Germany reached the Cowichan Valley. After four years of sending their men to fight overseas, when the news arrived on a Sunday at midnight Cowichan was ready to celebrate.

“Telephone wires grew red hot, the city fire bell threatened to become unshipped, motor cars tore around emitting strident music, hidden hoards of influenza preventive were considerably depleted and not a few residents forgot to watch the dawn break over Tzouhalem,” trumpeted the Leader.

“Down in the Chinese section there was brisk business in fire crackers, prices soared and came down again. A railroad engine discovered that it had a whistle as well as a bell. Duncan was aware of peace and full of noise,” the weekly continued.

Mayor Miller declared a public holiday. Following an outdoor service, a procession of 60 cars, one full of returned soldiers, headed to Cowichan Station and Cobble Hill. From there, the cavalcade drove along the Island Highway to Cowichan Bay, across the flats and through Tzouhalem to Duncan. That evening 600 people gathered near the railway station to watch an effigy of the ex-Kaiser burn on a huge bonfire.

1918: fishing

After Lummi Bay Company ceased operating its purse seiner immediately outside the Cowichan Bay reserved area, they declared their season’s catch much lower than the previous year.

1918: Thanksgiving

Despite the influenza threat, a United Thanksgiving Service conducted by the clergy of the City was held in the Opera House, Duncan. “The hall will be specially cleaned and disinfected” stated the Leader ad.

1918: coal

Two diamond drills began work to test the coal measures at the mouth of the Chemainus River. The area being prospected covered eight square miles and extended two miles off the foreshore.

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