No Comments

Dynamic Duncan

Known as the “City of Totems”, Duncan is the commercial center of the Cowichan Valley region. Halfway between the cities of Victoria (to the south) and Nanaimo (to the north), Duncan offers quiet, “agricultural-adjacent” living, but with all the amenities and cultural opportunities of a larger metropolis.

Off the Island Highway, you’ll find trendy boutiques, art and antique galleries, fashionable restaurants and local brew pub in the historic downtown core.

Along the highway, Cowichan Commons has become a prime retail destination, full of big-box stores as well as smaller boutique shops. And you can’t miss the world’s largest hockey stick and puck, the crowning glory of the Cowichan Community Centre, a recreational multiplex that’s home to the Cowichan Valley Capitals hockey team.

The CCC also houses the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre, a 731-seat proscenium arch theatre that presents a multitude of concerts and presentations throughout the year. If you love art, comedy, dance, live music, or theater – or all of the above – there’s something for you here!

Up to 80 carved totem poles erected around Duncan depict the proud legends of the Cowichan First Nations.  At the beautiful Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre, visitors can experience First Nations’ culture, crafts, ceremonies and cuisine firsthand, and visit a gallery showcasing up to 100 Coast Salish artists.

A popular stop on the E&N railway line from Victoria, the Duncan train station, built in 1887, is a National Historic Site. Major area attractions include the BC Forest Discovery Centre, the Somenos Marsh Bird Sanctuary, and the birds of prey demonstrations at Pacific Northwest Raptors.

Northwest of Duncan, Chemainus River Provincial Park provides a river corridor for protected Roosevelt elk, and is where anglers head for abundant spring and summer runs of steelhead. The activities enjoyed in the river park include hiking, river kayaking, swimming, horseback riding,  tubing, canoeing and fishing. In the river are steelhead and Coho salmon for fly fishing.

The pristine Cowichan River, a designated Canadian Heritage River, flows from Cowichan Lake through Duncan, offering excellent “source to sea“ whitewater kayaking year round.

Duncan is a great place to live, work and play. The town offers an enviable quality of life – residents can enjoy a short walk or bike ride along the river pathways and visit their favourite shops, grab a bite from one of dozens of restaurants featuring a variety of cuisine, and then head back to the comforts of home. They can take in a local hockey game, attend the ballet, or visit the local library – all in the same building!

Take a look at Duncan – you’ll be glad you did!

Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley is known as “the Warm Land”, a name given to it by the First Nations Coast Salish, who named the area Quw’utsun’ or Cowichan, meaning ‘land warmed by the sun.’

No Comments

Famous Chemainus

If you’re considering a move to the wonderful Warm Land, you might consider the charming community of Chemainus, British Columbia.

More than a quarter of a million visitors a year flock to this little picturesque seaside town.

They follow painted yellow footprints throughout the streets, on a self-guided tour of more than 40 outdoor murals and 13 sculptures depicting the local history of the First Nations and early Pioneers.

They attend performing arts events at the Chemainus Theatre Festival, housed in an iconic domed-roof building that presides over the town’s skyline like a benevolent sentinel.

And they embrace the joyful silence of the briny deeps, scuba diving in and around an artificial reef that was created in local waters when a Boeing 737 airplane was (deliberately) sunk to its final rest.

And that’s just for starters!

The town’s quaint core is lined with art galleries, antique malls, gift shops and cappuccino bars – along with old-fashioned ice cream parlours and candy stores! A horse-drawn trolley and a simulated steam train will allow you to take in the sights at a leisurely pace.

Waterwheel Park is a popular place to picnic, and offers a playground where children can climb in a tall ship and paddle a canoe. And for even more adventure, a passenger-only ferry can float you over to Thetis Island and Kuper Island, just across the Stuart Channel.

The Chemainus Theatre Festival offers year-round professional musical theatre and comedy, along with a gallery showcase for BC artists and artisans. There are several original mill houses along Chemainus Road, as well as historic character homes in the Old Town.

Chemainus is a serene, artistic-leaning town of about 4,000 that has fairly temperate weather, allowing for an abundance of year-round recreational pursuits. The residents are friendly (they call themselves “Chemainiacs”), there are excellent schools in the area, and there is ALWAYS something to do.

Nestled amid water, forest and mountain, Chemainus is an art lover and nature lover’s paradise!

For more information on “the little Town that Could”, please visit:

Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley is known as “the Warm Land”, a name given to it by the First Nations Coast Salish, who named the area Quw’utsun’ or Cowichan, meaning ‘land warmed by the sun.’