Charles Hoey Park, also known as Cenotaph Park or train station park, is where the gazebo used to be and where the valley buses now stop.
It’s right next to where the Duncan Cowichan Festival Society’s red caboose (railway car) is and where the popular ‘Totem Tour’ originates.
It is also where the Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives lives and, yes, where most of the 2011 Duncan Cowichan Summer Festival events take place.
Background to Charles Hoey Park
It was on August 12, 1991 that Mayor Mike Coleman officially proclaimed the previously unnamed park The Charles Hoey VC Memorial Park. He made his decision after reading a column in the Citizen paper by editor David Marsden recognizing the war hero. An estimated 500 veterans of the WWII Burma campaign visited Duncan in the ceremony to rename the park on August 12, 1991.
Prior to the official naming, the park was otherwise known as Cenotaph Park. The monument having been unveiled on Remembrance Day (November 11) 1921. The monument used to stand in the middle of what is now Canada Street and was rededicated in 1947 after WWII and placed in its current location. The park was aquired by the City of Duncan in 1942.
The first train station was built in 1887 and was located at the south end of the park. (Read “Duncan’s Background History” for the story of why it was built). The current building of the Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives was also an active train station until very recently. It was built in 1912 as part of an upgrade to the growing train traffic to Duncan.
Duncan became an important stop, assuming the role of central distribution centre for the surrounding farms and for the rapidly expanding logging industry. At one point there were a total of five tracks running in front of the station just to accommodate the railway traffic.
On the south end was a private fenced garden that was maintained by the man and his family of four who lived upstairs in the train station.
Thank you to Priscilla Lowe and the Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives.
photo copyright Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives 1918.104.22.168