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Dateline Cowichan: Celebrating our most photographed church

A Christmas card given to clients by Gray Motors of Duncan, circa 1925 shows the service station located on Allenby Road east side near Government street. - courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives
A Christmas card given to clients by Gray Motors of Duncan, circa 1925 shows the service station located on Allenby Road east side near Government street.
— image credit: courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives

For many decades, Jack Fleetwood faithfully wrote his weekly piece for the Leader reporting the news from his beloved Cowichan Station.

In December 1981, he wrote: “Situated in a beautiful setting of large broadleaf maples and cedar in the Koksilah River valley, and within a stone’s throw of the river, St. Andrew’s church with its shaked roof and shingled sides is probably one of the most photographed churches in Canada.”

Jack wrote these words in a Leader story on the 75th anniversary of St. Andrew’s when parishioners gathered at the parish hall to celebrate with supper followed by a service in the church.

Special guest at the supper was the Rt. Rev. Hywel J. Jones, Bishop of Columbia, who was introduced by the rector, the Rev. George Rogers. Also attending were former clergymen of the church the Reverends Neil Robinson, Alfred Bell and Lou Thornton.

The church was built in 1906, Jack explained, as a result of the efforts of Edwin Guns, L. F. Norie, H. W. May and G. T. Gibbons. Their goal was establish an Anglican church in the thriving community of Cowichan Station, which was settled in 1862. Rev. J. A. Leakey was the first rector.

1981: sewage

The joint Duncan-North Cowichan sewer lagoons should be moved from their location on Indian (sic) land near the Cowichan River because of possible pollution by sewage of the river’s fresh water, said North Cowichan Ald. Ron McKinnon.

1981: parking

North Cowichan Alderman (sic) Rex Hollett, chairman of the newly-formed traffic committee, warned that the district would be passing out parking tickets for those who parked illegally, especially near the Legion in Chemainus.

1981: dogs

Heidi Gervais, named the best junior dog handler on the island, travelled with owners of Canada’s top dalmation Am. Can. Ch. Camosun Byrony to the prestigious Purina Show in Ottawa.

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