Comox Logging was one of the largest logging companies in the world — Chronicles From the Past

Ed Nicholson of the Ladysmith Historical Society shares the news from May 1913, May 1938 and May 1963.

May 1913

A short film demonstration created and narrated by Thomas Edison was shown at the Opera House on Thursday evening. The topic was “the simplification of modern educational methods through the medium of photographic film.”

Edison declared that he could teach boys and girls using moving pictures “what they had heretofore painfully learned through words, figures and diagrams. In this way, any concrete thing can be learned to the maximum with a minimum of effort.“

Parents were forced to keep a sharp lookout on Sunday to avoid being run down by the motorcars returning from Alberni. Throughout the day, nearly 70 cars passed through Ladysmith.

Magistrate Jay of the Provincial Police Court gave a reserved decision in the charge against Sidney Ghale for driving on the wrong side of Malahat Drive.

The magistrate imposed a fine of 50 dollars, referring to the fact that the Ghale party had purchased a dozen beers and that only four were left. He said that he would not go so far as to say the two men were drunk, but thought that they may have become drowsy and had not taken sufficient care.

May 1938

The May 6, 1938, Chronicle reported that Comox Logging was now one of the largest logging companies in the world, with a monthly payroll of $270,000.

The Annual Report for 1937 of the Canadian Western Lumber Company stated that 1,400 men were employed at the Vancouver Island mills and that 700 worked in logging camps at Comox and Ladysmith. In 1937, total sales of finished products amounted to 186,899, 894 board feet.

The editor of the Chronicle expressed concern over the state of the small area on Roberts Street called “Coronation Square.” He claimed that “it was a travesty of the coronation we celebrated and an eyesore on a much travelled street.” [NOTE: Coronation Square was actually named “Civic” Square. The name “Coronation” was later used for the new mall at Davis Road and the highway. The property on Roberts Street the editor refers to was the former location of the Oddfellows Hall, which burned down in 1930.]

May 1963

An editorial in the May 1963 Chronicle deplored the lack of a suitable deterrent for the “irresponsible, reckless driver.”

Noting that these “freewheeling individuals usually have a string of court convictions before the final smashup,” editor John MacNaughton praised the actions of a British magistrate who banned a young man from driving “until the year 2013.” [His 50-year sentence is finished this week. I wonder if the driver re-applied for his licence?]

The year 1963 also marked the anniversary of 100 years of coal exploration in the Ladysmith area.

According to a report by Harry Olsen, George Charles Deverill applied to James Douglas, governor of the Vancouver Island Colony, for “a lease of 2,000 acres for the purpose of mining coal in the Chemainos [sic] Country.”

Deverill explored a number of potential sites, including Oyster Bay, Evening Cove, Cedar and Comiaken. However, he seems to have run into difficulties with the local First Nations people “near Sicameen village.”

Records show that a claim was granted for 50 acres in the Yellow Point area, but the mine was never developed. Further exploration in the Yellow Point area was curtailed by the 1913 strike and falling coal prices.

Compiled by Ed Nicholson, Ladysmith Historical Society

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