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‘Cittaslow’ Cowichan Bay

The seaside village of Cowichan Bay became internationally famous in 2009 when it was designated as the very first ‘Cittaslow Town’ in North America. The Cittaslow movement (the name means “Slow City”) originated in Italy, but is now a worldwide movement rating eligible towns on everything from friendliness to environmental policies. The main aims of the movement are to make life better for everyone living in an urban environment; to protect the environment; to promote cultural diversity and uniqueness; and to provide inspiration for a healthier lifestyle. So if you’re looking to slow down, relax and appreciate the view, Cowichan Bay is just for you!

For many thousands of years, Cowichan Bay was home to First Nations people who harvested the wealth of salmon and shellfish found in its many coves, tidal flats and swiftly flowing rivers. When Europeans sailed into Cowichan Bay in the 1850s, they discovered waters teeming with steelhead and salmon, sheltered deep bay harbours for their ships, rich forests for timber and a warm microclimate ripe for farming.

Cowichan Bay is a hub of boutique cheese, seafood and ice cream shops, cafes and artists’ showrooms, including the well-known Arthur Vickers Shipyard Gallery. Visitors can dine with a view of the fish boats, floating homes and buildings on stilts on “Cow Bay’s’’ historic pier and Fisherman’s Wharf.

Local maritime history is celebrated at Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, where wooden boat and model tall ships are on display. It’s an active maritime museum and the home of the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society which preserves, exhibits and demonstrates the Maritime heritage and culture of wooden boats, especially as experienced on Canada’s West Coast. You can walk along the pier and view the displays, and the building at the end of the dock contains model boats, historic pictures and even a marine library.

The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is an interpretive center overlooking the Cowichan Estuary, a 400 hectare estuarine ecosystem in the unceded territory of the Quw’utsun people. The Nature Centre offers interactive opportunities for all ages to learn about the estuary, its watershed, marine life, and natural and cultural history. Visitors can see and touch marine and intertidal creatures in the aquarium and touch tank, and enjoy wildlife and bird watching along the ocean front interpretive trail and from the viewing tower. Ocean kayaking, whale watching and float plane sightseeing charters can all be arranged here as well!

Close by is the South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club, built in 1887, a reminder of a British pioneer past and, except for Wimbledon, the oldest grass tennis court in the world!. Also in the area are the hiking, mountain biking and nature trails of Hecate Park, Mount Tzouhalem and Kingscote Heritage Trail. Bird watching is big at the Cowichan Bay Estuary, home to an estimated 220 species of migrant shorebirds and waterfowl.

Whether you’re visiting Cowichan Bay for the great outdoor recreation opportunities, or you want to check out the local food and drink produced by our local farms, bakeries, cideries, breweries and distilleries – you’re sure to find lots to love!

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.’

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Cultivated Cobble Hill

Nestled right in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, Cobble Hill is the quintessential Warm Land community. The slow pace and old-fashioned country life in this tiny agricultural village has attracted an influx in recent years of skilled winemakers, chefs and organic farmers, as well as artists and artisans of all stripes. And if you’re looking for forests, freshwater lakes, saltwater beaches and marinas, farmland or vineyards, Cobble Hill is the place for you!

Visitors can spend a night in a yurt here, have a pedicure in the vinegar room and dine on fresh local cuisine on the bistro deck. Cherry Point Nature Park is an ocean waterfront park with stunning views across the channel to Separation Point and Saltspring Island. The beach is teeming with life and offers many nature viewing opportunities. Horseback riding is also a popular pastime along the Koksilah River to the Kinsol Trestle.

The Kinsol Trestle is one of eight found along the Cowichan Valley Trail route, and by far the largest and most spectacular. Built in 1911 for the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway and in use until 1979, the Kinsol Trestle is one of the tallest free-standing and most spectacular timber rail trestle structures in the world. At 187 metres in length and standing 44 metres above the salmon-bearing Koksilah River, it’s truly an incredible structure.

There is also scenic hiking and mountain biking on the network of trails criss-crossing Cobble Hill Mountain, offering lofty views at the top across the Cowichan Valley to the Gulf Islands. And near the end of the warm summer months, the Cobble Hill Fall Fair is a showcase for local farmers, food-producers and artisans each late August.

Cobble Hill is also home of the Arbutus Ridge Golf Club, awarded four stars for “Best Places to Play’’ by Golf Digest 2009.

Cobble Hill is located in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, and if you’re looking for a small-town feel surrounded by lush agricultural land, Cobble Hill may be the place for you!  

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.’

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Why Work with a REALTOR?

Are you considering a real estate transaction? One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you should work with a licensed Real Estate Professional, who will represent you.

Remember, not every real estate agent can call themselves a REALTOR®. REALTOR® is a trademarked term belonging to the Canadian Real Estate Association. It represents a high standard of professionalism and commitment to value for clients.

Professionally, a REALTOR® adheres to a strict set of standards called the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Any violations to the Code, Standards, Rules, or legislation are brought forward for investigation and disciplinary action at both the Board level and at the provincial level, through the Real Estate Council of BC.

Before you disclose confidential information to a Real Estate Professional regarding a real estate transaction, you should understand what type of business relationship you have with that individual. You can work with a real estate professional in one of the following ways:

  • AS A CLIENT, your Real Estate Professional works on your behalf, and has special legal duties to you.
  • AS A NON-CLIENT, a Real Estate Professional who is not representing you as a client does not owe you any special legal duties


If you are a Non-Client, the Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction may be representing a client with competing interests to yours in a transaction. They must be loyal to THEIR client, not you. When you’re the client of a Real Estate Professional, they will act only in your interests.

If you’re a Non-Client, the other Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction do not have a duty to give you all relevant information regarding the transaction. When you’re the client of a Real Estate Professional, they must tell you everything they know that might influence your decision.

When you’re the Client of a Real Estate Professional, they must avoid any situation that would affect their duty to act in your best interests. When you’re a Non-Client, no Real Estate Professional acting in your interests.

When you’re a Client, the Real Estate Professional must not reveal your private information without your permission, even after your relationship ends. When you’re a Non-Client, the Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction must share any information you tell them, with THEIR client.

When you become a Client, you may be asked to sign a written agreement setting out yours and the Real Estate Professional’s responsibilities. As a Non-Client, a Real Estate Professional may give you only limited services.

Whenever a Real Estate Professional works with you in a real estate transaction, whether you are their client or not, they have a responsibility to act honestly and with reasonable care and skill.

The Real Estate Council of BC

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is the legislated regulatory agency that works to ensure Real Estate Professional have the skills and knowledge to provide you with a high standard of service. All Real Estate Professionals must follow rules that help protect consumers, like you.

The Real Estate Council of BC helps you understand your rights as a real estate consumer. Visit their website at or call them at 1 – 877 – 683 – 9664.