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Dateline Cowichan: Duncan opens doors of its new courthouse

The recently completed Duncan courthouse sits in the foreground as the round government building sits under construction in the background.  - courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archive
The recently completed Duncan courthouse sits in the foreground as the round government building sits under construction in the background.
— image credit: courtesy Cowichan Valley Museum and Archive

It’s a relief to know I’m not alone: that many of us have difficulty pinpointing when Duncan buildings were built, torn down or moved.

Take the law courts, for example. On Jan. 10 1969, the one-storey building was opened by W. N. Chant, minister of public works, who unlocked the massive walnut doors with a gold key and cut the ribbon.

Built on land that once housed a section of Chinatown, the structure was only the second all-electric provincial government building in the province. The first was in Ganges, opened four years earlier. The $437,287 steel-reinforced concrete law courts building in Duncan was constructed with a mezzanine floor for mechanical and electrical equipment.

The contract for the concrete shell, the first phase of the Duncan building, was awarded in the amount of $66,735 to the Hamilton, Ont. Firm in 1965, while a $370,522 contract to complete the building was awarded to Farmer Construction of Victoria. A central core in the 9,725 sq. ft. building housed the magistrate’s court, county court and holding cells, surrounding on three sides by a private corridor. The government announced it would build another building in the area of Government and Jubilee Streets.

1969: mail

Duncan postmaster J. B. Corney told the CVRD board that extension of postal delivery service for the area south of Silver Bridge, Allenby Road and the subdivision at Mountain View Crescent would be possible.

1969: industry

A City of Duncan and Cowichan Indian (sic) Band joint council asked a lawyer to draw up a lease agreement for a proposed industrial park bounded by the Trans-Canada Highway, Trunk Road, E and N railway line and limited access road Cowichan Way West.

1969: poaching

A $500 reward was offered by the B. C. Wildlife Association for information leading to the arrest and conviction of hunters who killed four young swans in North Cowichan during the Christmas season. The dead swans were found on a property on Mays Road.

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