Downtown DuncanGovernment Street

The building at 70 Government Street, between Canada Avenue and Craig Street in downtown Duncan, is now home to Jim’s Pools and Spas.

70 Government Street, built in 1922 by architect Douglas James for Charles B. Mains.
70 Government Street, built in 1922 by architect Douglas James for Charles B. Mains.

Here is a map showing the location of 70 Government Street:

Additional Information on 70 Government Street

  • Assessed Value (July 2016): $343,000; Land – $107,000, Buildings – $236,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2015): $324,000; Land – $103,000, Buildings – $221,000
  • Assessed Value (July 2014): $324,000; Land – $103,000, Buildings – $221,000

Brief History of 70 Government Street

This building was originally built in 1922 by architect Douglas James for Charles B. Mains, who used it for his butcher shop until his retirement in 1951, aged 84.

Charles B. Mains had been operating a butcher shop at this location since 1911 and replaced his earlier store building with this building that now stands at 70 Government Street.

According to the 1922 newspaper reports of this building’s construction:

“Everyone coming to Duncan by way of the Island Highway [note: at that time, what is now Government Street was part of the main north-south highway on Vancouver Island] cannot fail to appreciate the fact that, after standing for so many years at one of the most important junctions of the road, the building that has been used by Mr. C.B. Mains to carry on his butcher business, is now being torn down, to be replaced by a modern structure.

A one storey garage to hold two cars is to be built first. It will be used as a temporary shop while the old wooden building is being taken apart. The new one to be erected will be a two storey building, constructed of interlocking hollow tile. It will be faced on the lower portion with pressed brick and with rough cast plaster above.

The ground floor will be concreted right over and the shop will have a finished floor and walls of terrazzo. The second floor is planned so that the rooms, three in number and a bathroom, may be used for offices or as a living apartment.

The estimated cost of the building is in the neighborhood of $10,000. The architect is Mr. Douglas James and Mr. E.W. Lee, Duncan, has the contract for the work.”

In 1922 Douglas James and contractor Edward Lee also built the store at 45 Craig Street, half a block from 70 Government Street, for Harold F. Prevost, who later became Mayor of Duncan. The newspaper reports of the construction of 45 Craig Street cited similarities in the brick work design of 45 Craig Street and 70 Government Street.

In 1962, this building became the business premises of H.W. Dickie Ltd. an insurance and real estate firm started by Herbert William Dickie, who had previously been a business partner of Kenneth Duncan at 149 Canada Avenue.

Herbert W. Dickie died in 1949 but his firm continued operating until 1999, when it was purchased by Pacific Coast Credit Union, which is now Island Savings.

H.W. Dickie Ltd. performed a major renovation on this building in 1962, gutting the interior and creating “a main public office, three salesmen’s interview offices, five private offices, a built in vault, salesmen’s work office, a solicitor’s office, a photographic and print room and other storage space.” According to contemporary reports in the Cowichan Leader newspaper, the total cost of the purchase of this building and the subsequent renovations by H.W. Dickie Ltd. in 1962 was $55,000.

According to the current owner of the building, none of these 1962 renovations remain; they have since been removed in later renovations of the building.

The building was later purchased from H.W. Dickie Ltd. by Bert Evans, who had been a manager at H.W. Dickie Ltd. The building is now owned by Bert Evans’ descendants.

The building is now occupied by Jim’s Pools and Spas, which leases the building.

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