The Cowichan – Cowichan Valley Citizen Review

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Author Georgina Montgomery and photographer Kevin Oke show off the cover of their new book, The Cowichan, at the Market in the Square in downtown Duncan.
Author Georgina Montgomery and photographer Kevin Oke show off the cover of their new book, The Cowichan, at the Market in the Square in downtown Duncan. Photograph by : Lexi Bainas, Citizen

Book shows us beautiful Cowichan

Sarah Simpson, The Citizen
Published: Wednesday, November 04, 2009

As residents of the Cowichan Valley, our day-to-day lives often leave us with a jaded view of our surroundings. Oh, the ugly highway corridor, ugh, that boxy new development.

But every so often we’re reminded of just why living in the Cowichan is so special and why our gazes deserve sharpening.

The Cowichan, written by Georgina Montgomery, with photographs by Kevin Oke, is one such reminder.

Anchored by crisp, bright photos of the things many locals tend to overlook, The Cowichan celebrates the communities of Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith and their outlying areas.

Montgomery’s eloquent writing makes the 143-page coffee table book an easy and enjoyable read and although you could likely get through it quickly, the quality of the book lends better to snuggling up on a lazy rainy afternoon and flipping through slowly while learning about such influential residents as Herb Doman, the son of Punjabi immigrants, who went on to reach great heights during forestry’s “golden era,” and The Citizen’s own T.W. Paterson, a beloved local historian.

Blended throughout are the stories of Cowichan’s first people, including that of Tzouhalem, the Cowichan’s mighty warrior, and the history behind the Cowichan Sweater.

The duo of Montgomery and Oke leave no stone unturned in their curiosity and keenness to explore a region to which both are relative newcomers.

Oke moved to the Valley three years ago to work as a freelance photographer and artist while Montgomery moved to the region with her husband in 2007. Good moorage, an unusual old house, and the bounty of locally produced food and wine first attracted them. As the book will attest, what’s keeping them here is more of the same. Much, much more.

Oke and Montgomery are launching The Cowichan at Bistro 161 (161 Kenneth St. downtown Duncan) on Thursday, Nov. 5 from 5-8 p.m.

The evening will include a slideshow of Valley photos, a cash bar featuring local wines and appetizers created from area foods.

The event is free and open to the public.

If you’d rather just go buy the book, released by Harbour Publishing, visit Volume One Bookstore in Duncan or visit www.harbourpublishing.com

© Cowichan Valley Citizen 2009

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