Plaques celebrate Duncan’s business past

Folks walking through beautiful downtown Duncan these days will notice something extra has been added to the local scene.

Some buildings have acquired plaques.

They are all part of a joint project by the Cowichan Valley Museum Archives and the Duncan Business Improvement Association titled Heritage in Duncan: Early Businesses.

The DBIA has given the museum another opportunity to exhibit history beyond its home in the Duncan train station, moving history out into the streets of downtown Duncan.

The new signs feature stories and images of pioneer businesses and heritage buildings.

The DBIA commissioned the project to raise awareness and foster excitement about local history.

Each sign provides a brief history of the site and incorporates images of both archival photographs and related documents such as invoices, advertisements, and business cards from the museum’s collection. Museum curator Kathryn Gagnon, asked about this latest installation, said "We have a lovely small museum in the train station but our display space is limited. I’m delighted that the BIA has given us this opportunity to share even more stories from Duncan’s historical record."

MaryAnn Hartley of the DBIA said that Al Scholz of the City of Duncan’s works department was responsible for placing the plaques.

"He was wonderful. He took this on as a personal project," she said, pointing out that mounting some of the signs, like the one attached to bricks outside Dobson’s on Kenneth Street, involved some ingenuity, but Scholz was up to the challenge.