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Sarah Simpson column: Vote for the Duncan Train Station TLC project in “Next Great Save” competition

The Duncan Train Station is a super old building as well and it needs a little (OK, a LOT) of TLC
The Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives’s train station project is one of 10 finalists (and Vancouver Island’s only entry) in National Trust for Canada’s “Next Great Save” competition (Courtesy of the Cowichan Historical Society)

I’m back to talk about old buildings again. Specifically about the Duncan Train Station and the possibility of the Cowichan Historical Society winning a big sum of money to fix it up but first, I have a couple of housekeeping items.

In the rush to talk about the expansive history of the Vimy Community Hall last week, it seems a few errors and omissions were made and I’d very much like to rectify them. The hall has a long history so I want to make sure we can record its first 100 years as accurately as we can for those who want to know about it in the next 100 years.

It turns out that I neglected to name one of the most important members of the six-person board: treasurer Cindy Liboiron. We all know how much work goes into being a treasurer and also, we don’t want to make the person who has all the money angry so… three cheers for Cindy! And, well, sorry I missed you the first time.

What’s more, the municipality took over ownership of the hall in 1968 not 1946. It’s a significant length of time so I figured I’d better mention that error as well.

So, from one old building to another, there’s something really cool going on in downtown Duncan.

The folks at the Cowichan Historical Society are so excited to announce that the Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives is one of 10 finalists (and Vancouver Island’s only entry) in National Trust for Canada’s “Next Great Save” competition sponsored by Ecclesiastical Insurance.

You see, the Duncan Train Station is a super old building as well and it needs a little (OK, a LOT) of TLC.

The station was built in 1912 and the train was a vital asset in the region, transporting both goods and people to centres in Nanaimo and Victoria. Now, the 3,000-square-foot structure that currently houses the Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives needs some preservation work on its exterior, among other deficiencies, according to Sheila Kitson, vice president of the historical society.

“Winning the $50,000 prize would allow us to give the train station the TLC it deserves, including upgrading our old heating and cooling systems with new heat pumps, which will help save the building, the museum contents, and the environment,” she said. “It’s important to put the spotlight on heritage buildings across Canada, including our own Duncan Train Station. We’d like to raise the profile of the Cowichan Valley Museum in Duncan, the Cowichan Valley, and beyond.”

Now, the historical society is hoping everyone casts their daily votes for the train station.

The project with the most votes wins the competition. It’s that easy.

Here’s how to vote:

1. Go online and visit National Trust for Canada Next Great Save

2. Vote for Duncan Train Station. To confirm your vote, you will receive an email from the National Trust for Canada (check your spam folders too).

3. Click on the email link to register your vote.

4. Repeat every day until Feb. 22.

Those are the official steps, but I’ve added another couple.

(5.) Cross your fingers. It can’t hurt.

(6.) Share this with your friends, and ask them to do the same. The more the better! They don’t even have to live in the area to vote.

You may not live in the area, you may never even visit the train station, but there’s something to be said for hanging on to bits and pieces of the past like the Vimy Community Hall and the Duncan Train Station. We’ve lost so much already, so it’s up to us as a community to help save what remains.

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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