Friday 4 January 2013

City of Courtenay, Comox Valley, BC

Post #3 - City of Courtenay, Comox Valley, BC

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    A Pictorial View of the Comox Valley 

City of Courtenay

Museum, Archives, 
        Heritage Buildings, 
          Theatre, Art Galleries, Library 

Lest We Forget

See also posts on - 
Downtown Courtenay, Recreation & Sports, Events, Churches, Do you Remember


The City of Courtenay was named after the Courtenay River which was named after George William Courtenay, Captain of the British Ship HMS Constance which was in the area ca 1846-1849 surveying the waters of the Georgia Strait and the coast of East Vancouver Island.
The settlement of Courtenay began in the spring of 1862.  Some of the first settlers were coal mIner’s from Nanaimo.  In Sept. of 1862, the H.M.S. Grappler arrived in Port  Augusta (Comox Harbour) with 35 settlers most of whom were from England, Scotland or Ireland, they joined the miners already here. Some of them then came up the small rivers by canoe and claimed land in the area as it was rich in nutrients and they knew they would survive and prosper. 
Courtenay was Incorporated as a town in 1915 and a city in 1953. Population in 2011 was 24,699
(see Life and Times of the Comox Valley, by James Allan  Krause, ISBN 0-9681968-0-2)

History of Downtown Courtenay, BC

The business community of Courtenay was born on the east side of the Courtenay River in the 1880s,  surrounding the Courtenay Hotel that was finally demolished in the 1990’s.
With the construction on Reginald Pidcock’s sawmill on the west side of the river, and the subsequent erection of the first bridge, Joseph McPhee (known as the ‘Father of Courtenay’) laid out the first subdivision on the west side circa 1900. Thus Downtown Courtenay began its development, providing the many services and supplies required for a growing population.
The City of Courtenay was incorporated January 1, 1915. A massive fire destroyed a large part of its main street in 1916, as did a second fire in 1919.
Today Downtown Courtenay is a vibrant and unique downtown, which still boasts a quaint and friendly “small town” atmosphere, offering big city style shops, galleries, eateries and more.
For more information about the history of Courtenay, visit Heritage Courtenay

 Welcome sign on 26th Street 


 Overlooking Farquharson Farm and a portion of the Comox Valley from Valley View Drive  


                    Museum, Archives, 
        Heritage Buildings, 
          Theatre, Art Galleries, Library 

                               Courtenay & District Museum & Palaeontology Centre

                                                   207 4th St.  Courtenay, BC

Located in the Old Post Office Heritage Building
The Courtenay and District Historical Society was formed in 1953 to gather and preserve information, records, and artifacts connected with the history of the area including Bevan, Comox, Courtenay, Denman Island, Dove Creek, Fanny Bay, Headquarters, Hornby Island, Lazo, Little River, Merville, Minto, Miracle Beach, Royston, Sandwick and Union Bay. The first museum and archives was built in 1961.

 The unique brick and sandstone building was built in 1925 as a post office. Forty Thousand faced bricks from Redcliffe, Alberta were used, as well as 100.000 common bricks from Victoria.  It served as a central venue for residents to gather their mail and exchange news. The 
The Post Office suffered  some damage in a 1946 earthquake, which measured 7.3 on the Richter scale.
  In 1954, the building was doubled in size to provide more space. If you look at the front exterior, you can see the line of bricks that
marks the addition. In 2000, the Post Office building was completely revitalized by the Courtenay and District Historical Society
and City of Courtenay to create an expanded home for the Courtenay Museum. 
Downtown CourtenayHeritageWalkbrochure.pdf(2).pdf;isdiah


  Native Sons Hall
Native Sons Hall, Heritage Building
360 Cliff St. Courtenay, BC
Canada's Historic Places (copied in part)

Constructed in 1928 as Courtenay’s original recreation centre and meeting hall, the Native Sons Hall’s historic value lies in its association with Bill Eastman - one of Canada’s foremost bridge builders - who supervised the construction of the Hall, and William Hagarty, a prominent local architect who designed the building. 
The Native Sons Hall is valued as an exceptional example of rustic-inspired architecture, which is evidenced by the building's extensive use of indigenously grown and milled fire-killed cedar logs. It is significant that the Native Sons Hall is comprised of donated logs from local timber companies, and its prominent situation above the former Comox Logging and Railway line serves as a fitting symbol to the legacy of the local logging industry, which had a profound impact on the social and economic development of Courtenay.

   Comox Valley Art Gallery 
 & Gallery Shop
 Comox Valley Art Galley,  580a  Duncan Ave., Courtenay
 The original Courtenay Firehall was built on this site in 1922.
This building was taken down and the current building, which
was built by Harrison and Longland Construction, opened in
October 1952.
According to the Land of Plenty , “The most famous of Courtenay’s
fire trucks has to be the converted, chain driven 1922 Cole touring
car. To house this beauty, a firehall, which stood until 1952,
was built by subscription, city money and volunteer labour.”
Downtown CourtenayHeritageWalkbrochure.pdf(2).pdf


  Muir Gallery

 Muir Gallery, Heritage Building
Former Home of McPhee & Son General Merchants
   440 Anderton Ave. across from the Florence Filberg Senior Centre

This building was built in 1894 for J. McPhee & Sons General Merchants
Original located on the NW corner of 5th Street and Anderton Avenue,
the building was moved to this site in 1911.
 It was renovated and redesigned in the 1950's
In Celebration of the building's centennial this plaque was installed in March 1994

The Canadian Red Cross Society
In recognition of the Comox District
Red Cross volunteers who worked in this building from
World War 1 (1914-1918), through World War 11 (1939-1945) until 1954/
This plaque was installed on the occasion
of the centennial of this building in March, 1994.

  Sid Williams Theatre

Sid Williams Theatre, corner of Cliff and 5th. St.
442 Cliff Ave., Courtenay, B.C., 1-866-898-8499

'The Sid Williams Theatre' first came to life under the name of 'The Gaiety Theatre' in the 1920's and, soon after, 'The Bickle Theatre' in the 1930's. Originally opened as a state-of-the-art sound movie theatre, the stage of the Bickle saw a number of plays and musical events before turning into an auction house.
On an early January morning in 1968, the Riverside Hotel at the corner of 5th Street and Cliffe Avenue in Courtenay burned down. This event was the turning point by which the citizens of the Comox Valley acquired a civic performing arts theatre.
After a great deal of fundraising, a land-swap involving Crown Zellerback, a generous donation by the E.W. Bickle family, and a lot of "blood, sweat, and tears" on the part of many individuals and groups in the community, the 'black hole that used to be the Riverside Hotel' got cleaned up. A fountain was built, the 'old Bickle' was renovated, and in September 1971 the new Civic Theatre and Civic Square were opened by Premier W.A.C. Bennett........  
To view pictures and the complete history of the Sid Williams theatre go to:
 For upcoming events:

 Courtenay Public Library

 Vancouver Island Regional Library 
300 6th St. Courtenay, BC

 The Courtenay Library’s value lies in its association with
the Comox Valley Co-operative Creamery Association
Building, which originally occupied the historic site from
1901 to 1980 . The Creamery was a prominent landmark
in the City, and played a central role in Courtenay’s early
economic and social development. The Creamery Association
was formed by local dairy farmers in 1901 with the
specific intent to produce and market local butter......


  North Island College


 North Island College 
2300 Ryan Road, Courtenay, BC

 Place of Interest to Visit

Comox Logging & Railway Co.
       Train display located at the Chamber of Commerce building 
 2040 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay, BC


Seniors Home and Filberg Centre

 Sign at Entrance to Comox Valley Seniors Village

Picture shows the section of the Seniors Village that faces Headquarter's Road
Also at this complex is Casa Loma Seniors Residence

There are several other seniors homes and assisted living facilities in the Comox Valley

 Sign for Glacier View Lodge, a seniors lodge on Back Road between Courtenay and Comox

   Anderton Ave

 Florence Filberg Senior Centre 
Florence  Filberg Senior Centre
411 Anderton Ave., Courtenay  

Meeting rooms/crafts room - Conferences, meetings, social functions
The first seniors' programs in the community were held in the CRA and the Seniors Lounge (which was located in the old Civic Theatre complex) in the early 1970's, As the popularity increased so did the need for space, at which time many of the activities expanded to the lower Native Sons Hall. The idea for a centre grew out of joint efforts by the municipal council, community and the seniors. As a result of this cooperative effort, the Florence Filberg Centre opened its doors July 10, 1988.


 Sign for the Cona Hostel beside the 5th St. Bridge
440 Anderton Ave.

McPhee Ave
 Award Winning Natural Pastures Cheese Company

 Home of Award Winning Natural Pastures Cheese, 635 McPhee St. Courtenay, B.C.  V9N 2Z7
 When you taste Natural Pastures cheeses you’ll experience the delicious reasons for their 40-plus prestigious national and international awards. You’re invited to savour pure winners!
The Natural Pastures products can be purchased in a number of local stores or visit their booth at the Saturday Farmers Market.

 Natural Pastures booth at the Sat. Farmers Market

 Courtenay River

Courtenay River looking north
   Lewis park is on the right 

Courtenay River looking south from the 5th Street Bridge

 The Courtenay River is a historic waterway which
forms from its source at the confluence of the
Puntledge and Tsolum Rivers and flows through the
 City of Courtenay before draining into Comox Bay
two miles away. The Courtenay River features a
naturally cleared River Estuary at its mouth.



  Annual Mile of Flowers

Flowers planted by volunteers every year along Cliffe Ave between 8th St. and 21st. St. sponsored by the City of Courtenay

The following are an example of the paintings 
on our utilities boxes throughout Courtenay 

Painting by Marilyn Peeters
Located on 6 St. below Cliff Ave.

Located on Fitzgerald St. 

Corner of Fitzgerald St. & 5th St.


 One of the many homes decorated for the Christmas Season

 Lest We Forget

 War Memorial in Jubilee Square
Located at the end of 4th St. on Cliff Ave
Jubilee Square, which honours the 50th anniversary of the
reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (2002). The cairn was
erected by Branch No. 17 Royal Canadian Legion in memory of
those who lost their lives in Canada’s wars and United Nations
peacekeeping duties.

War photos on the north wall of the Sid Williams Theatre in Jubilee Square

The following Cairn is at the top of Mission Hill opposite St. Andrew's Church

 Cairn and Plaque on Mission Hill 

 Plaque in memory of the Great War
and the men of the Comox District who lost their lives 


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