The Communities : WHY THE COWICHAN VALLEY : Lake Cowichan
Horse and Carriage on road to Cowichan Lake
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The village of Lake Cowichan was incorporated on August 16, 1944, with a population of 660 people. What was to become the village of Lake Cowichan began as the 'end of the road' in very real terms. The track out to the lake's edge ended where the community sits today, where the lake feeds the Cowichan River. Anyone wishing to travel further used the lake itself to transport themselves.
The first permanent building, an inn owned by Charlie Green, went up in the 1880s at the eastern lake head. In 1893, the Lakeside Hotel began to welcome guests to the area. Initially, it was tourism based on Cowichan Lakes' fishing and hunting conditions that brought visitors. Land speculators and settlement followed later.
In 1912, Lake Cowichan's "Kaatza" railway station was constructed for the extension to the E&N line that reached the lake in 1913. Logging really began to develop following the introduction of the railroad - prior to the line, the Cowichan River had been used to chute logs down towards the ocean. Large camps, such as Caycuse, also known as Camp 6, were the standard for the lake, but the village of Lake Cowichan continued to serve as the gateway in to these shoreline camps.
Building of the hundred houses
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In the October 19, 1963 edition of the local paper the Daily Free Press, the caption for a picture of a logging camp stated: "Logging camps on Vancouver island are almost a thing of the past. Loggers now live in modern villages near their work." This was certainly the case in Lake Cowichan in the late 1940s. After the war, the need for housing was filled by a development officially known as "Parkstone" for Hillcrest Lumber's Carleton Stone but more often called "The Hundred Houses" or even "Diaper Hill" due to the large number of new families. Garner Brothers of Duncan built the rows of homes for the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, given a touch of individuality with bright colours.