Wednesday, February 17, 2016

From Fernwood Neighbourhood Group
The story of Duncan's “The Station”

When most Victorians think of Duncan, they think of the strip of gas stations, fast food joints and shopping malls just north of the bridge over the Cowichan River. But that’s not really Duncan—just the strip on the highway. The actual town of Duncan is a few blocks west and it’s really quite charming if you’ve never been.
Across the tracks from the old train station there are two bright and colourful buildings separated by a small parking lot: one is the privately owned Duncan Garage, a postmodern community centre complete with a café and bakery, an organic market, a used bookstore, a hair salon and a variety of other small tenants; the other is the newly revitalized “Station,” a mixed use building with green retail businesses, a commercial kitchen for rent, non-profit offices, and 20 housing units upstairs.
The Garage has been going strong for well over a decade as a vital part of the community, and was the pioneer on the block in terms of revitalizing the area. For most of that time, however, the Phoenix Station Motor Inn next door was a shabby establishment, operating illegally as a rooming house, and home to a rundown pub, a private liquor store, and some empty space formerly used as the motel dining room. At least it was, until it was purchased by the visionary Cowichan Green Community (CGC) Society in 2013, and transformed into “the Station.” Read more: Fernwood NRG – The story of “The Station”


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