On Saturday June 25th, 2011, our village of Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island is having a Community Celebration to mark a century of operation for the Cobble Hill Market. A variety of community organizations will be hosting entertainment and stage events open to the whole family.
The building that houses the Cobble Hill Market was built in 1911 by Tom Walton, and was therefore initially known as the Walton Building. When the building opened it was operated as a grocery store downstairs while the upstairs became a popular dance hall as well as a meeting space for clubs and a gaming parlour. There are apparently lots of local stories about the dances held there in the evenings! During the day, the upstairs space was used by Mrs. Walford Gosnell to teach art classes.
Eventually the upstairs was converted into living quarters and many families lived there while operating the downstairs store. The current owners immigrated from Hong Kong and have operated the store since 1995.
Quiet Cobble Hill village was once quite a busy community and a center for shipping goods via the railway. The current Cobblestone Inn Pub is on the site of the former Cobble Hill division of the Cowichan Creamery, around which many community events revolved until the 1940’s. There was shopping at the Bonner Block, and the village also boasted the busy Wilton Place Hotel. The Cobble Hill Post Office and Bank building is still in existence as the Black Coffee restaurant at nearby Whippletree Junction on Highway 1, on your way to Duncan BC. Whippletree is a funky collection of specialty shops and restaurants in historical Cowichan Valley buildings moved there from around the Valley.
At our Vancouver Island Bed & Breakfast in Cobble Hill, we had the pleasure several years ago of hosting the grandson of one of the two families our road is named after. We live on Cameron-Taggart Road and if you travel south on our road you’ll come across two farms now owned by the Wikkerink families. Orginally, however, these were the Cameron and the Taggart farms, with the Cameron farm on the west side of the road and the Taggart farm on the east side. Our guest was Bill Taggart who was showing his grandson around the area where he grew up. The Taggart children attended the Sylvania school at the end of Cameron-Taggart Road. This building is now a Lions hall.
Every area has its interesting history. Mr. Taggart shared with us some old photos and a book “At the foot of the hill” about the history of Cobble Hill and it was so fascinating learning more about the history of our immediate area and being able to relate it to the places you come by on a daily basis while operating our Cobble Hill Bed & Breakfast.