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Historic Duncan train station in online competition for funding

On Tuesday, the station was in second place with more than 7,000 votes — 400 votes behind leader La Vieille Maison in Meteghan, N.S.
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Keith Price, a board member of the Cowichan Historical Society, outside the historic train station that houses the Cowichan Valley Museum in Duncan. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

An important piece of the Cowichan Valley’s history could receive $50,000 in funding if enough people cast online votes to support it.

The Duncan Train Station, a heritage building and a landmark in the downtown area, dates back to 1912 and houses the Cowichan Valley Museum, which is run by the Cowichan Historical Society.

It’s one of 10 heritage sites across the country in line for a monetary prize from the National Trust for Canada’s Next Great Save contest. The goal is not only to upgrade the station but to reduce its carbon footprint, by replacing its “archaic” heating system with energy-efficient heat pumps, upgrading its insulation and restoring existing windows.

The long-term plan is to restore the train station “to its former glory,” with repair and painting of the original wood siding, rebuilding of the brick chimneys, repair and painting of the doors, and repair of gutters and downspouts, since water is currently destroying the fascia.

The train station is the lone site on Vancouver Island in the running, said Penny Meyer, who does educational programming at the museum. On Tuesday, it was in second place with more than 7,000 votes — 400 votes behind leader La Vieille Maison in Meteghan, N.S.

The station has been a hub for the community since it was first constructed in 1887, Meyer said.

“It was not originally going to be built in Duncan but a bunch of locals got together and rallied,” she said. “It’s kind of helped Duncan to become what it is.”

It was replaced by the current building in 1912, with the second floor home to the station master and his family.

The station became the Cowichan Valley Museum in 1989. It’s listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places and remains on its original site.

Meyer said people can vote once a day until Feb. 22, with the winner to be announced Feb. 23.

jbell@timescolonist.com

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