Dateline Cowichan: Carols Afloat remains afloat in Maple Bay

This 1949 story shows the view along Station Street with a Plymouth dealer on the left, and Imperial Oil on the right.  - courtesy Bill Saunders
This 1949 story shows the view along Station Street with a Plymouth dealer on the left, and Imperial Oil on the right.
— image credit: courtesy Bill Saunders

For many of us, Christmas isn’t Christmas without the annual parades of twinkling boats gliding past our little seaside villages.

Over the decades, in fact, the celebratory event became as much a staple of the holiday season as Santa arriving at the Duncan Mall or the more recent festive train rides at the Forest Discovery Centre.

In 1982, the second annual Carols Afloat went ahead as planned, despite concerns earlier in the year that Maple Bay’s big Christmas project would have to be dropped.

That year’s floating Santa parade on Dec. 10 was sponsored by Maple Bay Yacht Club. Before the event, the club’s fleet captain Vic Palmer said some 50 boats would accompany the Santa ship — Bob Littlejohn’s Bastion City — from the yacht club to Maple Bay Marina, then to Maple Bay beach, up to Arbutus Point and then back to Maple Bay beach. There, it would tie up at the Government wharf.

Aboard the Santa ship, Alex Aitken School choir under the direction of Sheila Sartini were scheduled to sing for about an hour reported event organizer Wendy Mecham. Maple Bay Rowing club members were in charge of building a beach bonfire and handing out candy canes and hot chocolate.

1982: evictions

In a 16-15 vote decision, Cowichan Valley Regional District ordered Western Canada College to vacate its Shawnigan Lake premises within a year. The board refused when asked by site owners Mass Development Corporation to reconsider.

1982: seniors

Chemainus seniors group New Horizons president J. E. Hess said the organization’s facility – leased from a bakery – was too small. A bigger facility was needed to provide entertainment and recreation to the increasing number of area retirees.

1982: teachers

Although faced with lower funding because of declining enrolment, the school district decided not to lay off teachers. Instead, they would replace teachers taking leave of absences with the four who might have been let go.

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