Saturday 5 January 2013

City of Courtenay - Downtown Courtenay

Post #3a - City of Courtenay - Downtown Area

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    A Pictorial View of the Comox Valley 

City of Courtenay
Downtown Courtenay

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 


Downtown Courtenay
5th St.

Downtown Courtenay not only has the main shopping area on 5th Street but the surrounding streets are all part of the shopping experience from 4th Street to 8th Street. Explore not only the shops but the Museum, Art Galleries, Library, Seniors Centre, Native Sons Hall Heritage Building also the Simms and Lewis Park and sports centre just over the 5th St. Bridge. 

Fifth Street Bridge crossing the Courtenay River ___________________________________

Early Morning on 5th St
5th. St. was originally known as Union St.

 Courtenay’s Fifth Street is the main commercial street
in downtown Courtenay, stretching from the Courtenay
River to Lake Trail Middle School........
 The heritage value of Fifth Street lies in its historical association
with leading Courtenay pioneers of the late 19th
century, particularly Joseph McPhee who was the visionary
behind the original subdivision, and its historically central role in the commercial culture of the city.........
 Flower Display outside Hot Chocolates on 5th St.

Clock in from of Graham's Jewelry Shop
261 5th Street

In 1951, Walter Crosby, owner of Crosby’s Jewellers, found an
extra lamp stand in Victoria. He brought it to Courtenay and
mounted a clock on it, erecting it outside his store. The clock
has been telling the time for passersby for more than 55 years.
Note the dogwood flowers at the base of the clock—the provincial
Now Graham's Jewellers, this location has been owned by a suc- 
 cession of family members. In 1913, Charles Simms purchased
the store from Cumberland jeweller T.D. McLean. Simms sold
to Muttrie who sold it to Harry Simms, Charles’ brother. Harry
Simms sold to Mr. Crosby, who sold it to Richard Graham, Harry
Simms’ nephew. Graham’s is now owned by James Graham, son
of Richard and great-nephew of Charles and Harry.

 Common Ground a CafĂ© located in a former house on the corner of 5th St. and Harmston Ave.  Owned and operated by a group from Merville, BC., called the "Twelve Tribes".  They grow and or raise much of the food served at the cafe.

4th Street
 Antique shop on 4th St.      

Mud Sharks Cafe on corner of 4th St. & Cliffe Ave
with additional business in the rest of the building
at one time the Seale And Thomson Garage

Seale and Thomson Garage
409 Cliffe Ave. The Seale and Thomson building is a one-storey, Art Deco structure prominently situated on the corner of 4th and Cliffe in the heart of Courtenay’sdowntown core. The building features a spacious courtyard and two mature trees.....  In 1918,the first garage on the site was opened by Willemar and Wain as the creation of new roads prompted the need for service stations. Dick Seale and Joe Thomson opened a second garage on the site in 1948which was heralded as a unique and modern building that was highly equipped to service an increasing influx of automobiles in Courtenay, a reflection of the rapid growth of the city after the Second World War Courtenay_heritage_register2009.pdf

 6th Street

 6th St.,  picture taken from Cliff Ave.

Atlas Cafe, 250 6th St. in downtown Courtenay, BC

 Cliff Ave
This Information board is located at the end of 4th St. at Cliff Ave.
Beside the Parking lot, War memorial and between the Native Sons Hall and Sid Williams Theatre
Notice the Filberg Senior Centre in the background. There is a stair behind the park bench that will take to to the lower level and back entrance to the Seniors complex. 
Courtenay City Hall,  830 Cliff Ave,  Courtenay, BC


Duncan St. 

Courtenay 5th St. Florist 
510 Duncan St., Courtenay, BC
The Courtenay 5th Street Florist has now moved to the corner of 5th St. & Duncan St.

Plaques in the sidewalk on Fifth St.

The Comox Valley Walk of Achievement committee
Each year, the organization honours a worthy Comox Valley citizen who has achieved distinction in their field of endeavour, which includes a recognition ceremony followed by the unveiling of a personal plaque located on a sidewalk location in downtown Courtenay. 
(The above information is from the Comox Valley Record)

The following are just a few of the many plaques honouring the citizens of the Comox Valley

 Dr. Robert A. Smith, PhD.
 Dr. Fred Y. T. Leung PhD, FCACB
 Honourable Stanley B. Hagen LL. D


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1 comment:

  1. contact information - my new e-mail is