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Co-op store in flames.JPG

The Whiskey Creek Co-op gas station was destroyed by fire on June 17, 2021 when a van pulled up at the pumps caught fire. The highway was closed in both directions for six hours while fire crews from all over the district brought water to suppress the blaze. The store has been a popular roadside stop for ice cream since the 1950s.

Thanks to the quick actions of the convience store staff members, the emergency shut off for the fuel pumps was activated and all staff and patrons were evacuated safely.

The Coombs History Project would like to send a "shout out" and thank you to the 9 Fire Departments - their firefighters and support staff that responded. 

  • Coombs-Hilliers Volunteer Fire Department​

  • Qualicum Beach Fire Department

  • Errington Fire Department

  • Parksville Fire Department

  • Dashwood Volunteer Fire Department

  • Bow Horn Bay Volunteer Fire Department

  • Nanoose Volunteer Fire Department

  • Lantzville Fire Rescue

  • East Wellington Fire Rescue

Thanks also to:

  • British Columbia Ambulance Service,

  • Oceanside RCMP

  • BC Highway Patrol

  • Mainroad Mid-Island Contracting LP

  • BC Hydro

  • Telus

2022 Co-op Gas Station fire
Co-op fire water suppression.jpg

Do you have a memory about the Whisky Creek Co-Op that you would like to share?

Coombs Family Day  2021 - Virtual Celebration

Family Day is Monday, February 15, 2021.  Please join us in celebrating our history and yours. A virtual event has been planned and can be accessed through either the AAA or ACRA Facebook pages.  

Our little community has quite the story to tell. Many of our buildings are still standing from the early 1900s. 

We would like to know when you became a part of the community? Here is a handy printable that will help you interview your family for the answers.

The French Creek Centennial Quilt is now online....

Many thanks to all the community members who took the time to share their memories of French Creek School for its 100th Anniversary in 2012. From the vision of a Heritage Quilt to the unveiling of this finished project this has been a rewarding experience. We received a wide variety of quilt squares along with their precious memories. This attests to the strong connection we all have with the community of Coombs and with the French Creek School in particular. Participants ranged from students to seniors, many representing local pioneer families. We are thrilled with the quilt and know you will be too.

Create a quilt square inspired by the French Creek Community School Quilt.  What does community look like to you?  For ideas click here.

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French Creek School Centennial Quilt 2012

Remembrance Day 2020 - Our Local War Heroes

Many families in our Oceanside and adjacent areas lost a family member in the 2 Great World Wars. These veterans are listed on the cenotaphs in Parksville & Qualicum.  This year of the great  2020 worldwide Covid Flu pandemic the traditional Canadian Legion Remembrance Day  Parades and Cenotaph ceremonies will not take place. Parksville Museum is engaging in a special  Remembrance Day activity this year by researching and collecting information and a photograph of these lost heroes whose names are on the Parksville  Cenotaph.

Log house from 1920s

Banners display pictures of these many very young veterans are posted on the light standards in Parksville on the Island Highway route.  In our website is a PowerPoint coverage of our Coombs - Hillier’s veterans who are included in the Parksville Memorial  Picture Banner Project. This  PowerPoint slide show is the culmination of the past 2 years’ Remembrance Day activities in which Sharon  Cox-Gustavson, long-time Historian chair of the Parksville- Qualicum Retired Teachers Association, was involved with the Errington Elementary School students.

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The Vancouver Island Fruit Lands Ltd. - March 2020

The Vancouver Island Fruit Land Ltd. Was formed in 1911, by concession from the E&N Railway to colonize the land holdings. The terms of concession allowed the company to subdivide and construct roads to each farm.  It was expected that each farmer would take plots of a minimum of 10 acres.

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Homestead land for sale advertisement

The Doukhobor Colony in Hilliers - March 2020

In the early 1900s more than 7,000 Doukhobors immigrated to Canada from the Black Sea region of Russia. They were a Christian sect fleeing years of persecution because they were pacifists and rejected the authority of the State and the Russian Orthodox Church.

Doukhobor girls in 1950s

After settling as homesteaders in Saskatchewan, they proved to be equally troublesome for the Canadian authorities, refusing to swear an oath of allegiance, refusing to send their children to school, and staging nude protest marches. They lived communally under the leadership of Peter “The Lordly” Verigin. Some Doukhobors began adopting Canadian ways and that led to a split in the community. Eventually the more fundamentalist group followed their leader Peter to the Kootenays where he had acquired 22,000 acres around Castlegar. Internal strife continued and out of this was born the Sons of Freedom. They were seriously radical, staging nude protests, refusing to register births, burning schools and even each other’s homes. They believed that the burning of possessions was purifying for the recipient and brought them closer to God. On October 29, 1924 Peter the Lordly was killed when a bomb exploded on a train on the Kettle Valley Railroad.

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Arrowsmith Agricultural Association - March 2020

1978 Canada Day float.JPG

The Arrowsmith Agricultural Association (AAA) has experienced a rich agricultural and community background.  In 1911, the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railroad from Parksville to Port Alberni brought new settlers to the Coombs and Hilliers area seeking a new life in farming for their families. The CPR made land surrounding the railway available to the new settlement.  The original Salvation Army settlement began in 1910 and was subsequently named Coombs after Canadian Salvation Army Commissioner Thomas Bales Coombs, who lead the first group of British Settlers to the area. Coombs is now recognized as a popular vacation destination, attracting over a million visitors a year to the Coombs Old Country Market, famous for the goats that live on the roof of the market.

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The Roll-Call of Coombs - January 2020

In 1938, Jim Christer, a retired Newspaper man, presented the "Roll Call of Coombs at the annual Coombs Christmas Party.  Mr. Christer lived on Grafton Avenue and wrote under the pen name of Novocastrian..

The poem mentioned families in the Coombs area in 1938..  To view the poem please click "The Roll Call of Coombs"

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