From Our Editors
At the beginning of the 1960s, logging businessman Gerry Wellburn started collecting trains and forestry-related artifacts. He pulled locomotives from scrap yards and rescued tools that had been buried in the bush. Eventually, Gerry's collection grew large enough to spark discussions of him moving it to a site open to the viewing public. In 1965, he secured a six-acre property in Drinkwater, which just so happened to be the same location of Cowichan Valley's first public building—a combined schoolhouse and chapel.
Over the past six-plus decades, the centre has continued to grow, both in number of pieces and sheer size. Today, it stretches across a total of 100 acres on the Somenos marsh. Today, exhibits continue to follow Gerry's original mission of honoring the past: you can check out logging machines, antique trains, and even intact bunkhouses, where loggers spent time ringing the guthammer and caring for their pet branches. While visiting the indoor and outdoor collections, you can even hop on a historic train for a ride over the Somenos Lake trestle.
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