The Duncan Train Station has won the grand prize in the National Trust for Canada’s Next Great Save competition.
The station defeated nine other challengers from across Canada to win $50,000, riding a wave of support from people throughout the Cowichan Valley who cast more than 76,500 votes.
Cowichan Historical Society vice president Sheila Kitson says they were overwhelmed by the support.
She says some people told them it had become a daily routine, “they turned the coffee on and let the dog out and voted, so that was one of the things to do first thing in the morning.”
Kitson says people could vote once a day and do it daily, “so it was a big commitment for people to do that,” and they appreciate the support.
Duncan’s train station was built in 1912 for the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway and is now home to the Cowichan Valley Museum.
The building was declared a heritage railway station in 1993.
The Cowichan Historical Society has created a restoration plan for the station and will use the prize money for upgrading the heating and cooling systems to save electricity and reduce the station’s carbon footprint.
A new heating system, as well as insulation and upgraded windows would cut the heating bills by 73 per cent and reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 74 per cent.
The artifacts housed in the Cowichan Valley Museum would benefit because the upgrade will improve temperature control.
Kitson says they have been seeking grants to help pay the full cost of their business plan for restoration, now estimated to be in the range of $300,000.
She adds that they can offer receipts for income tax purposes for those people who would like to turn their votes into donations.