Dateline Cowichan: Cowichan caught in a deep freeze
A little bit of snow and subsequent accidents held up traffic on the Malahat for an hour on Christmas Day.
But imagine what the winter-weary folks of Cowichan faced in 1950 when 63 inches of snow fell during the first three weeks of January with temperatures plummeting as low as 13 degrees below zero. The official reading taken at city hall was five degrees below.
These temperatures were recorded using the Fahrenheit scale, where 32 degrees is the freezing level. Thermometers at private residences registered between six to 13 below zero with Mrs. Mutter, a 43-year resident, registering 13 below at her Somenos Road property. Duncan townsite resident Al Streich registered eight below. At Cowichan Bay, Capt. Don Peck used three boats and a barge to break through the five-inch thick “ice-field” that stretched 200 yards beyond the Peck float.
“Unfortunately,” observed the Leader, “old records of the late W. H. Lomas, who was first official weather observer in the district while acting as Indian agent, are not available, but it is established that he officially recorded a reading of 13 below in February, 1893.” His diary shows that for several days before his “13 below”, his entries had simply read “colder”.
Most of the staff at the Duncan’s King’s Daughters’ Hospital had become unionized over the previous year, and the hospital board, its executive and labour relations committee had spent considerable time dealing with labour matters.
Totem Lunch co- proprietor Don McColl came home with a severely frostbitten big toe after six hours of looking for a much publicized skiers’ paradise on Mount Brenton. With him on his expedition into the wilderness was Mr. Clayton Wright.
Plans for the first unit of a sewer system to be built on the east side of the City of Duncan took concrete form when Hugh Brockington, a civil engineer from Vancouver was instructed to prepare plans and estimates by Mayor J. C. Wragg.