How sweet it is. Victorious NDP candidate Jim Manly and a supporter show gleeful reaction as election results Monday give Manly a substantial margin over defeated Tory MP Don Taylor. (The Lake News, Feb. 20, 1980)

LAKE FLASHBACK: Death, destruction and a big donation

Welcome to Lake Flashback. Reporter Sarah Simpson has been combing through old newspapers with the assistance of the Kaatza Station Museum and Archives so we can jog your memory, give you that nostalgic feeling, or just a chuckle, as we take a look at what was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by.


This week around the Cowichan Lake area…

10 years ago

The week of Feb. 17, 2010 was a sad one for staff and readers of the Lake Cowichan Gazette alike. Long-time editor Doug Marner died following a stroke.

The message from then-publisher Dennis Skalicky read:

“It is with profound sadness and a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Doug Marner, our friend and long time editor of the Lake Cowichan Gazette. Doug suffered a stroke last Tuesday and was taken to Cowichan District Hospital where he remained until his passing early Sunday morning.

“Doug was the editor of the Lake Cowichan Gazette for over nine years and was known to most local people either personally, through his writing as he covered stories around the lake or simply as that guy from the paper with the camera. Doug was an integral part of the success of the Lake Cowichan Gazette and he will be missed.

“It wasn’t ‘business as usual’ this week as far as publishing your weekly newspaper is concerned…as you can see, Doug’s contribution to the paper is missing and it shows, but a paper had to be published, Doug would have expected nothing less.

“The contributions to the success of the Lake Cowichan Gazette that Doug made will be forever part of the Gazette’s history and of this area. Years from now as people review the history of the lake at the Kaatza Station Museum, they will thumb though old copies of the Gazette and I am sure they will be impressed with the way we covered the stories that mattered to people around the lake at the time. That would have made Doug very happy.”

And here we are only 10 years later, already thumbing through Marner’s old work, very much missing his exceptional coverage of the issues that matter most to Lakers.

25 years ago

With the news Feb. 6, 2020 that the long-running Cowichan Lake tradition — the Nichole Stock Penny Drive for the Variety Club Telethon — has ended, it’s only fitting to note that in 1995 Stock was already five years into her mission, having already amassed $8,388.65.

SEE RELATED: Famous Nichole Stock Penny Drive comes to an end at Lake Cowichan

“Despite the weather Nichole delivered her $2,544.95 in pennies from her ‘penny crew’”was the front page headline of the Feb. 15, 1995 edition of the Lake News.

“Sunday was to be another big day for Nichole Stock and her family on the Variety Club’s Telethon in Vancouver. Nichole was taking her largest penny donation ever: $2,544.95. While it was balmy and spring-like on Saturday, the weather produced blizzard conditions on Sunday morning.

“The Stocks live in Caycuse. Dressed and ready to go in the early hours of Sunday morning the family set out from Caycuse and arrived at grandmother Gloria Carnell’s home in Lake Cowichan at 6 a.m. Nichole was very disappointed when her dad suggested it might be too dangerous to drive to the ferry said Nichole’s grannie.”

A quick scouting missing by Dad deemed it safe and off to Vancouver they went to donate Stock’s collection. The irony was, though, that nobody back home got to see it live on TV.

“Sunday morning television sets in Lake Cowichan were dead, and the hydro had failed.”

But, a friend of grannie Carnell’s in Dunan had managed to tape the show.

Also on the front of the Feb. 15, 1995 edition, the Lake News called the hydro crews the “heroes of the hour” for battling a gale high above Cowichan Avenue to restore power after a tree fell across the wires near South Shore Road.

“Up to 10 crews were on the job Sunday and Monday in the Lake district after what may have been the worst fall of trees and branches in living memory.”

40 years ago

“Jim Manly, the soft-spoken man from Ladysmith, blasted into parliament Monday with a strong push from Lake Cowichan voters. As part of a country-wide reversal that swept the Conservatives from office, the NDP candidate ousted rookie MP Don Taylor.”

That was the lead story under The Lake News Feb. 20, 1980 headline “Manly regains area riding for NDP”.

“Taylor was only able to gather 625 votes in the Lake Cowichan area, while Manly took 1,739. The number of voters was up 85 over last year, deputy returning officer Lil Fern said Tuesday. This year 2,646 people voted in the Cowichan Lake area — a 75 per cent turnout. There were 11 rejected ballots.

“The high voter turn out is not an unusual phenomenon at Lake Cowichan — interest in elections is traditionally high here. The Cowichan-Malahat-The Islands riding was one of the most closely watched constituencies in the province. A cliffhanger had been expected on election night, but Manly took an early lead and never let go of it.”


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