Bridget Walshe was named 1994 Lady of the Lake. Doing the honours — passing on the title — is Nicole Bonenfant, 1993’s Lady of the Lake. (Lake News)

LAKE FLASHBACK: Lake Days, Lady of the Lake and Laura Harris

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:

Surprise surprise, Lake Days made the front page of the June 10, 2009 Lake Cowichan Gazette.

“A couple of new highlights this year include the sidewalk sale on Saturday, when several blocks of South Shore Road will be closed to vehicular traffic. There’s also a new beach volleyball tournament and the Lake Cowichan firemen are presenting a family-oriented logger sports.”

Also making headlines this week in 2009 was a bottle drive for Rainee Bell-Denman.

“Karen Bell admits she was getting scared and couldn’t sleep the night before the big Saturday bottle drive to help her six-year-old niece Rainee Bell-Denman, who has a cancerous tumor behind her left eye. Bell said she had so much hope that the bottle drive would be a success, but she feared no one would show up to help.”

In the end though, the fundraiser filled five bottle depot trucks and brought in $6,700 and another $800 in cash donations.

“‘We’re on the air!’ declared Brian Simpson of the Cowichan Valley Community Radio Society” this week in 2009. “CVC Radio is currently in a three-week on-air testing period, after which it expects to be on air for good.”

Also a decade ago, famed Cowichan Lake swimmer Laura Harris succumbed to colon cancer. She was 53.

25 Years Ago:

The June 15 edition of the Lake News once again featured Lake Days news and again the photo was of the crowning of Lady of the Lake.

“Following days of growing anticipation the name of Lady of the Lake was revealed,” said the photo caption. “Bridget Walshe was named 1994 Lady of the Lake. Doing the honours — passing on the title — is Nicole Bonenfant, 1993’s Lady of the Lake.”

In bold on the front, was the headline “Lake Days well behaved say police”.

People were very well behaved throughout the Lake Days weekend, says Sgt. Ron Merchant, RCMP.

“They were mostly local people and we have very little trouble,” he said. The only notewqorthy incident was that someone broke into the Garden Centre by climbing the fence. He said that it is not yet known what was taken. A suspect has been interviewed.

Also making headlines were the winner of the Ducky Derby and that only one runner completed the 50-mile Lake Run.

“Although rain may have dampened the spirit of the people on the bridge the Ducky Derby yellow duck sailed towards the finish line on Sunday afternoon,” said the story. “Kinsman Wayne Nash reports the following results: The first duck to arrive at the finish line was 446 which made John De Goede of Victoria the winner of $1,000.”

And, only Philip Coniforth of Victoria completed the 50-mile Lake Run. He did so in a time of 7 hours, 7 mins and 41:11 seconds.

“Despite a supreme effort by Al Wilkinson to ensure that the 50-mile Cowichan Lake run did not suffer the same fate as the dinosaurs, only two runners responded.”

Tim Wilkinson, who also ran had to give up at the 40k mark because of leg cramps.

40 Years Ago:

“They came in droves. Thousands of local and area people and hundreds from elsewhere lined the main street for the Lake Cowichan Days Parade,” was the first sentence of the June 13, 1979 Lake News. “Then they departed for Centennial Park on Saturday where everybody was treated to aerial and other displays which drew appreciative gasps and sighs from the shirt-sleeve crowd basking under the host summer skies. Others stayed cool in the beer garden. It was one of the best and most popular Lake Days ever held, according to local people who have seen many.”

The front page photo of the Lake News features Carla St. Cyr, who was crowned Lady of the Lake on the Saturday. Tessy Croteau was selected by a panel of three judges as the first princess and Darlene Schutte was the second princess.

Meanwhile, it was a “surprise for Marv” read the headline as Marv Trudeau spent the Saturday showing people his world-class form as a tree climber. But his wife Susan had other ideas.

While Trudeau was meeting his commitments to Lake Cowichan Days, Susan was giving birth to their first child. In fact, the child was born just about the same time Marv was giving his last demonstation of the day at Centennial Park.

Apparently poor Marv had taken Susan to the hospital around 9 a.m. that day but rushed back up out to the Lake for Lake Days’ logger sports.

Just about the time he was taking off his spurs following his final climb, the police informed him he was a father. It’s a boy. Matthew.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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