Harold Fairfax Prevost (1878-1941) was a Past Master of Temple Lodge, No.33. He also served as Mayor of Duncan and ran a stationery business in downtown Duncan. The building he built for his business premises in 1922 is still standing at 45 Craig Street; it is now Just Jake’s Restaurant.

Harold Fairfax Prevost
Harold Fairfax Prevost (Photo courtesy of City of Duncan)

Here is a brief biographical sketch of Worshipful Brother Harold Fairfax Prevost taken from Temple Lodge, No. 333 records and from local newspaper reports:

“…..It was moved by Bro. Jas. Grieg seconded by Bro. H. Prevost that at the conclusion of the present war in Europe [note: World War 1], that the names of those Brothers who had given their lives for their Country be engraved on a suitable plate and placed in a conspicuous place. The motion was carried….” [note: the four members of Temple Lodge, No.33 who died in the service of Canada during the First World War are commemorated on a plaque at the the entrance to the Duncan Masonic Temple]

(Source: Temple Lodge, No.33 Minute Book, Regular Meeting of 8 June 1915)

45 Craig Street was built in 1922 by architect Douglas James for Harold Fairfax Preevost. It was later the the home of William Powel's clothing business, Powel's Men's Wear
45 Craig Street was built in 1922 by architect Douglas James for Harold Fairfax Preevost. It was later the the home of William Powel’s clothing business, Powel’s Men’s Wear

In 1922 Harold Prevost commissioned architect Douglas James to design a new building for his business, Prevost Stationers. That building is still standing at 45 Craig Street and is now occupied by Just Jake’s Restaurant.

Here are the local newspaper reports from 1922 about the construction of Harold F. Prevost’s business building at 45 Craig Street:

“Excavations were begun yesterday for the erection of a new store on Craig Street, Duncan, next to the Canadian Bank of Commerce. It is for Mr. H.F. Prevost. Mr. E.W. Lee has the contract. Mr. Douglas James is the architect.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)


Building On Craig Street Will Enhance City’s Appearance

As noted last week, excavations have begun on the site of Mr. H.F. Prevost’s new store on Craig Street, Duncan, adjoining the Canadian Bank of Commerce.

These new business premises will be a decided addition to the buildings of the city. The block is to be 30 feet wide by 60 feet long and it will be constructed of interlocking hollow tile, similar to that used in Mr. C.B. Mains new store. This hollow tile, owing to its air space, makes the building very cool in the summer.

It will be a one floor building on concrete foundations with a small cement basement. It will occupy the whole of Mr. Prevost’s lot. The large plate glass windows will face Craig street and the front will be of buff pressed brick with a gallery across the back.

While making excavations for this building, operations were somewhat hampered, owing to the discovery of a twenty-foot well, just at the back of the bank building. Some years ago the site was used for a livery stable when the well was then is use.

The contract calls for the building to be completed in two months’ time. Mr. Douglas James is the architect and Mr. E.W. Lee is the contractor…..”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

“Mr. H.F. Prevost and his staff spent a very busy week end moving from the Odd Fellows’ Block, Duncan, to the new store next to the Canadian Bank of Commerce, on Craig street. As so much of his stationery and toy business is of very small size, its transportation was a lengthy and difficult process, having chiefly to be done by hand. However, they are now firmly established in a larger and more commodious building. The former place of business is in the hands of carpenters, undergoing alterations necessary before Mr. H.W. Fox removes his dry goods business there.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Prevost — Mr Harold Fairfax Prevost- seven term mayor of Duncan, died at midnight on Thursday at Royal Jubilee Hospital, Victoria, where he had been last September. He was 63 years old and had been in poor health for 12 years.

On both his father’s and mother’s sides Mr. Prevost came of a family with a long connection with B.C. His grandfather, Admiral James Charles Prevost, nephew of Sir George Prevost, Governor-General of Canada during the War of 1812, had charge of early surveys for the British navy on’ this coast and gave his name to Mount Prevost and other geographical features. Admiral Prevost also had a part in the San Juan boundary negotiations and took a lead in encouraging missionary work among the Indians of the north coast.

The admiral’s elder son, Mr. James Charles Prevost, came to British Columbia to live, and in 1873 married Anna Jane Pry, a member of a well- known pioneer family of this district. Their eldest son, Harold Fairfax, was born in Victoria on January 11, 1878, but spent part of his youth at Quamichan Lake, where the family then owned a great deal of property, living where the Stewart Williams do now.

He finished his schooling in Victoria and in those years and the few years following enjoyed a period of strenuous physical activity which gave him a share In some of the phases of British Columbia’s development and helped to set the tone of his whole life, though the later part of It was spent in a sedentary occupation.

His father operated one of the first salvage vessels on the coast and young Prevost sometimes enveloped himself in a diver’s suit and helmet and went down Into the depths to probe at wrecked hulls. He also was aboard when his father’s ship brought stone from Nelson Island for construction at the Parliament Buildings, and I later be worked on these buildings as a mason’s assistant.

With such an upbringing — and with an admiral for a grandfather and great-grand father — It was natural that Mr. Prevost should always have a passion for the sea. He was never happier than when on the water, whether In the Increasingly fine launches he owned throughout his life or gliding alone in a skiff with his spear poised for cod. When he was nearly 60 he hollowed out a dugout canoe and came down the river from Cowichan Lake to Duncan alone.

He saw a good deal of B.C. to his youth through working with survey parties, and when the St. Louis World’s Fair came alone he set out to see that, making his way by the then equivalent of hltch-hlklng and working en route at the building of i the San Pedro breakwater in California.

Mount Sicker’s mining boom found him there, living and working in the colourful village on the mountaintop and often walking down at night with other tireless young men to dance till dawn in Duncan and walk back just in time to go on shift again.

After this his life changed. He opened a stationery store and sporting goods store and settled down in Duncan, marrying Mary Powel in 1910 and building a home near the river at the end of McKlnstry Road. Until his health began to fall about 1938, he carried on his business successfully, eventually erecting his own building, now rented to Powel’s Men’s Wear.

In this time he found his exercise in sport. He was a keen and expert fisherman and a good shot. In his younger days he played soccer on teams representing Duncan, tried nearly every forms of organized sport| and attained fair proficiency at tennis, especially at doubles. For years Duncan Lawn Tennls Club has given him honorary office. Golf was his favourite game, however, and for a long time he was one of Duncan’s leading players, winning the Bundock Cup five times.

When his health began to fall more a dozen years ago, Mr. Prevost sought recovery in a return as far as possible to the outdoor life of his youth. He spent two summers fishing in the neighbourhood of Deep Bay.

Nevertheless he had to undergo a serious operation which forced him to give up his business. He rallied amazingly and until last summer managed to maintain fair health by turning to the sea for relaxation and recompense. He operated his 40-foot cruiser. Aquarius, for charter, particularly delighting in long trips up the coast.

During this latter period he found time to serve the city, too. He was elected mayor at the beginning of 1929 and retired voluntarily at the end of 1933, having held office for seven years continuously, most of the time without opposition. It was his pride that he guided Duncan through the difficult Depression years without any impairment of Its excellent financial position.

Until recent years Mr. Prevost was an active Mason, and for a time he was secretary of Temple Lodge. [Note: He was Secretary of Temple Lodge, No.33 in 1931-32]

Besides his wife, who has been with him in Victoria for the greater part of the last eight months, Mr. Prevost leaves two sons: Gerald in Duncan and Alan in Vancouver, and two granddaughters. He has two sisters living: Mrs. Hilda Lomas, Victoria, and Mrs. Freda Devitt, Port Albemi; and another sister died a few years ago. His younger brother, Wilfred, was killed overseas in 1917. Mrs. M. E. Mainguy, La Jolla, California, form­erly of Westholme, is his aunt.

Friends from many parts of the district attended the funeral on Sunday afternoon at St. Peter’s Church,Quamichan. Duncan City Council came in a body. The Rev. Canon T. M. Hughes officiated and Mr. B. W. Clements played the organ for two hymns: *Now the Labourer’s Task Is O’er” and “Abide With Me.’

Pallbearers were: Messrs R. C. Mainguy. H. Oray. W. B. Powel, K. F. Duncan, W. M. Dwyer and E.S. Fox.

Hayward’s B.C. Funeral Co.. Victoria, made arrangements.”

(Source: Cowichan Leader, from Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives collections)

Harold Fairfax Prevost is buried in St. Peter’s Quamichan Anglican cemetery.

Harold Fairfax Prevost grave stone, St. Peter's Quamichan Anglican cemetery
Harold Fairfax Prevost grave stone, St. Peter’s Quamichan Anglican cemetery
Harold Fairfax Prevost grave, St. Peter's Quamichan Anglican cemetery
Harold Fairfax Prevost grave, St. Peter’s Quamichan Anglican cemetery

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