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Welcome to



owichan Lake is situated on the southern half of Vancouver Island, halfway between the island’s east and west coasts. Thirty-four kilometres from the City of Duncan, the lake is an ideal vacation destination with its temperate weather and many beaches and trails. The Cowichan Lake area sits in the midst of a temperate rain forest, making for lots of rain in the winter and lots of sun in the summer. Known by the area’s First Nation communities as Kaatza, or “the big lake,” Cowichan Lake is 30 kilometres long and is one of the largest bodies of fresh water on Vancouver Island. The lake is home to five commun-

ities, including Lake Cowichan, Youbou, Mesachie Lake, Honeymoon Bay, Caycuse. Port Renfrew, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, is also accessible from the lake by taking the Pacific Marine Circle Route out of Mesachie Lake. The Circle Route is a paved, meandering highway beside which visitors can view ancient old growth trees, explore trails, and much more. This Visitor Guide provides information on many of the area’s attractions, events, and communities, but it only begins to scratch the surface in terms of what the area has to offer. Take advantage of swimming, boating, kayaking, water skiing, and canoeing. Camp in one of the many

campgrounds, or take part in one of the many events hosted by the local communities every summer. The Cowichan River has also become increasingly popular over the years. River enthusiasts often park in Lake Cowichan and ride inner tubes or inflatable rafts down to Skutz Falls, or drive to Marie Canyon and tube to Stoltz Pool. Lake Cowichan is the largest community at the lake, with roughly half of the area’s 6,000 residents. It has an abundance of accommodations including hotels, cottage rentals, bed and breakfasts, and plenty of camping. There are excellent stores, restaurants and a multitude of other services.

Cowichan Lake... Vacation Capital of Vancouver Island

Home of Sunfest


“ YO U R S TO E X P LO R E ”



Cowichan Lake is the second largest on Vancouver Island – 34 km in length. We are located just 26 km west of Duncan on Highway 18. Enjoy swimming, boating, kayaking, waterskiing, fishing, camping, cycling, hiking, tubing, golfing, recreation sports, trestles, canyons, waterfalls, mature forest, salmon streams and summer community events.

Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce Our Visitor/Business Centre is located in the log cabin at Saywell Park on South Shore Rd. We are open year round 5 days a week – but during the summer months we are Open Daily 9-5 July 1st to Sept 5th

250-749-3244 l www.cowichanlake.ca l info@cowichanlake.ca 2




Travel Info Centre


f you have decided to vacation in the Cowichan Lake area, it is definitely worth your while to make the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Centre your first stop. The centre is located in the middle of the town of Lake Cowichan at 125C South Shore Rd. It has all the information you need to make your vacation the best it can be. The Centre is open every day throughout the summer, from the May long weekend through September. The capable staff, student employees, and volunteers will help find exactly what you need and provide you with valuable local information. During the off season the Visitor Centre is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Visitor Centre building is a log cabin situated in beautiful Saywell Park. Beside it is a large grass area with picnic tables and a ‘beach’ volleyball court, public washrooms with showers and shade provided by deciduous trees, all with the Cowichan Lake and Cowichan River in view. Once inside the building, find brochures for local businesses, maps, historical information, safety and logging road tips, as well as information about the Cowichan Lake area, the Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, and the rest of B.C. The helpful staff will be able to provide information on the best accommodations, sightseeing locations, and events such as Lake Days, Heritage Days, and other community events. You can always visit www.

Lake Cowichan Gazette


cowichanlake.ca call 250-749-3244 or visit one of two information kiosks the centre provides in Lake Cowichan and Mesachie Lake. The first is located just outside the Visitor Centre in Lake Cowichan. The second is located next to the Mesachie Lake Skydome ball field. Get to Mesachie Lake by driving west for only a few kilometres along South Shore Road. This kiosk provides information on the Pacific Marine Circle Route along with the communities of Sooke, Port Renfrew, Victoria, Duncan, and the many communities in between. The Visitor Information Centre is managed by the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Town of Lake Cowichan.

PO Box 10, Lake Cowichan, BC VOR 1R0 250-749-4383 or 250-748-2666

Publisher: Shirley Skolos Editor: Andrea Rondeau Photos by: James Goldie, Lexi Bainas Sales associate: Lauri Meanley

Published by Black Press




Yours to explore


f you’re looking for a place to cool off, while surrounded by a warm, beautiful landscape, Cowichan Lake is the place for you. Visitors come to the Cowichan Lake area for many reasons, but mostly it’s to play on or in the water. Every summer boaters, swimmers, waterskiers, kayakers, canoeists and even sailors head for the water to cool off and have some fun in the sun. There’s plenty of room on the 34-kilometre long lake to accommodate many recreational uses. So, whether you fancy water skiing, a relaxing day of lake fishing or perhaps a group cruise of the lake, look

no further than the two marinas on Cowichan Lake for easy access to the water. The Cowichan Lake Marina is located in Lake Cowichan, off Point Ideal Road. Just turn right after the Visitor Information Centre. The marina provides 115 moorage slips, including some capable of accommodating boats up to 55 feet. There are boat rentals, including deck boats and bow riders. A boat launch ramp, fuel, holding tank pump out, and a convenience store are also on site. A number of stores in the communities around the lake sell supplies for your day on the water.

Lake Cowichan welcomes boaters! However, there are a few things locals would like you to keep in mind. Be courteous and considerate. Residents, other boaters, and beachusers deserve no less. Be muffled! Remember to maintain your muffler in good working order and to disconnect muffler cut-outs or bypasses so they cannot be easily reconnected while the vessel is in operation — as per item 1,000 of the Small Vessel Amendments to the Canada Shipping Act.

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OPEN DAILY 10-5pm 4485-A Trans Can. Hwy, DUNCAN

250-746-8122 equineemporium@shaw.ca



Yours to explore


or those interested in slightly more turbulent water, the Cowichan River is a natural playground. The river flows some 30 kilometres from Cowichan Lake through the Town of Lake Cowichan and Duncan to its estuary in Cowichan Bay. The Cowichan River is designated as a Provincial Heritage River and a National Heritage River and provides opportunities for swimming, canoeing, tubing, whitewater kayaking, and rafting. It features calm waters through Lake Cowichan, but downstream there are several rapids, including those at Skutz Falls, that should be respected by recreationists. The Cowichan River is world famous for

its fishing, especially fly fishing. Several types of salmon and trout are swimming about, just waiting to strike your hook. You can access the river from several spots in the Town of Lake Cowichan,

including the Duck Pond (off Park Road), Saywell Park and Central Park, Little Beach on Greendale Road and from the Trans Canada Trail or via the Skutz Falls turnoff from Highway 18, about 10 kilometres east of Lake Cowichan. Cowichan River Provincial Park, east of Lake Cowichan, is a 1,414-hectare park that stretches alongside more than 20 kilometres of the river. The river is also a hiker’s heaven, with 20-kilometres of winding trails on both sides of the river that provide many spectacular views, as well as the chance to see a variety of flora, fauna and wildlife. The trails link in several locations with the Trans Canada Trail.

Open until 10:00pm May long weekend thru September long weekend

Market Café

www.countrygrocer.com 6


Take a hike I

f you are new to Lake Cowichan or just visiting and want to know more about the area, why not just take a hike? Cowichan Retreads Hiking Group hosts a two- to five-hour (pet free) hike on a local area trail or another Central Island location each Wednesday. The group meets at Saywell Park at 9:30 a.m. and drives to the trail head. Hikes range from easy to advanced in locations along rivers, creeks, up mountains, and through ancient forests. You can join the Retreads Hiking Club for $15/year for unlimited hikes or just show up and pay $2/person to join a hike. More information about the hikes can be found at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, local area halls, the Lake Cowichan Visitor Information Centre next to Saywell Park or contact Willa Suntjen 250-7494144 and David Kidd 250-749-7790. Email cowichanlakeretreads@gmail.com

Look for the Retreads reports in the Gazette! Looking for an update on the local hiking scene, or want to know what to expect before checking out a new trail? Look for the Retreads reports in the Lake Cowichan Gazette or online at lakecowichangazette.com

ENJOY YOUR STAY! We welcome visitors to our area Open Sunday Thursday Openat11Noon a.m. daily, 12 to noon Sunday 11 am Friday and Saturday

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 210 Lake Cowichan, 15 North Shore Road

V.I. LABOUR SERVICES Temporary Labour Staffing

“FOR WHEN YOU NEED WORKERS NOW!” • General Labourers • Handymen • Cleaners • And More


Available for Banquets and Receptions SUMMER HOURS: Mon - Wed 8am-2pm Thurs - Sun 8am-5pm 778-429-9009 • 10375 Youbou Road

Toll Free: Website: E-mail:


1-866-779-9946 www.VILabour.com info@VILabour.com 7

Local Beaches L

Road and follow it until you get to the forest plantation, look left for a yellow gate. Park along the road and the beach is a short walk in.

akeview Park, Lake Cowichan Large sandy beach area with little shade. No dogs are allowed on the beach. The Town owned facility is a kilometre west of town on South Shore Road. Drive past the arena and look for the sign on your right. Riverside Park, Lake Cowichan Quaint park on the river known to locals as the Duck Pond: picnic tables, washrooms and a playground, sandy beach and floating dock. Turn onto North Shore Road and turn left at Park Road or take the footbridge across the river into downtown Lake Cowichan. No lifequards on duty but the river flows slowly. Little Beach, Lake Cowichan Small but popular swimming hole on the Cowichan River. Turn onto Greendale Road, follow it for about half a kilometre.

Price Park, Youbou Fern-lined walking trails lead to secluded, natural beaches. Swordfern Creek, an important spawning ground for fish, flows quietly through the park. From Youbou Road turn left onto Miracle Way opposite the ‘Welcome to Youbou’ sign. The park is at the end of Miracle Way. Located on the right past the houses. Use caution, river moves swiftly. Spring Beach, Meade Creek Pleasant wooded park with washroom and picnic tables. Named for its natural springs that flow year round. Follow North Shore Road and turn left on Meade Creek

Bear Lake Park, Mesachie Lake Small park set under mature trees complete with picnic tables, lawn area, fishing dock and boat launch. Drive west on South Shore Road to Mesachie Lake, turn right on to Bear Lake Road and follow it to the end, where it turns into Fish Road. At the end of Fish Road you will find the park.

Riverside Inn

Est 1884


OPEN DAILY 9am-11pm • 250.749.3256 56 North Shore Road Lake Cowichan B.C

Look for our food truck at Sunfest

Open Mon & Tues 11am to 1pm Wednesday to Sun 11am to 7pm


ahamidakhan@hotmail.ca 104 South Shore Rd., Lake Cowichan, B.C. 8


Local Beaches cont. Lily Beach, Honeymoon Bay Five minutes west of Mesachie Lake, turn right on Beach Drive and turn into the parking lot. You can only access the beach via a short trail. Plenty of shade and there’s a small dock. No boat access is allowed.

Gordon Bay Park, Honeymoon Bay Beach access is available to the public. The beautiful pebble beach offers a swimming area surrounded by a log boom and a kids’ play area. Drive through Honeymoon Bay, turn right at the fork in the road onto Walton Road. The park is at the end of Walton Road.

Central Beach, Honeymoon Bay Turn right onto Park Road from South Arbutus Park, Youbou Shore Road. The beach is below the parking lot. Washroom facilities are at the top of Drive through Youbou until you reach the west entrance to Elder Crescent. Arbuthe parking lot. LAKE COWICHAN GAZETTE VISITOR’S GUIDE 2016

tus Park is the only life guarded park on the lake. It has a beach, dock, slide, diving board, washrooms and picnic area. Heather Campsite Located on the west end of Cowichan Lake, this campsite has a nice sandy beach, a boat launch, and a scenic view. It can be reached by driving about 38 kilometres down either side of the lake, through either Youbou or Honeymoon Bay, via a gravel road. 9

Music in the Lake E

very other Saturday night this summer come and enjoy a concert in the park, grab a blanket, bring a chair or just sit on the grass at the Central Park Bandshell. Your family will enjoy a wide variety of local entertainers. From July 3 to Sept. 3 Summer Nights presents music in the park with bands that range from country and western, to folk music and rock. The nights kick off with an open stage at 6 p.m. before the main performers take the stage from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Bring your dinner or just some snacks to enjoy as you listen to music from bands and singers like The McCandless Family, Darryl Alsbrook, Balaam’s Donkey, Genevieve Charbonneau and the Wild Sundays, the Good Time Band, Jan Matthews in Overdrive and the Medford Singers performing songs by the Beatles, with the headliner of the final perform-


ance to be announced. The music is free but there is a donation box if you feel like donating to our local non-profit radio station Radio


Cowichan 97.5 FM. Central Park is located by the roundabout at South Shore and North Shore roads.


Yours to explore Kaatza Station Museum and Archives


xplore the many displays and wonders the Kaatza Station Museum has to offer. Here is where you will find historical information on the area’s extensive logging industry, the railway, and the families who forged a community out of temperate rainforest wilderness. Kaatza museum staff will introduce you to the many exhibits, which include a pioneer life display with a 12-foot-high mural depicting life in Cowichan Lake in the 1920s; the John Padjen Room illustrating the history of the IWA in Cowichan; as well as a store, a post office, a mine shaft and much more. The museum consists of three buildings: the main building (or old train station) where the majority of the museum’s collection and gift shop items are on display; the Bell Tower School where you will find a collection of photographs by Wilmer Gold; and the Mesachie Lake school building with a workshop for volunteers and more display items. Outside the museum find rail and logging industry machinery, including a 1927 Plymouth locomotive and a speeder. The museum is located 125 South Shore Rd., in Lake Cowichan. The main building is open from: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seven days a week from: June to August 10a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday to Friday January to May and September to December Information: www.kaatzamuseum.ca Email: kaatzamuseum@shaw.ca, or phone 250-749-6142

Museum Fast Facts • The John Padjen Room: Illustrating the history of the International Woodworkers of America in Canada • The Mill Room: Telling the story of the three mills that were in Cowichan Lake area • The Wilmer Gold collection: Consisting of many large format photos of the logging industry in the 1930s and 1940s • The Harry Wright Library: Containing over 600 books about rail-


ways, both their history and operation • A 1949 era classroom display • A fine collection of antique logging equipment, including power saws and mill equipment • Extensive archives, chronicling the history of the Cowichan Lake area people. It includes newspapers dating back to 1921, maps, and various other historical articles. • 1927 Shay locomotive, a log car, a 1916 caboose, a 1927 Plymouth locomotive and a speeder.


Come see us for #1 customer service! The Footwear Centre 42 South Shore Rd


Salmon and Mushroom Festival



Redeemable only at Lake Cowichan location

OPEN DAILY 530am-10pm 96 Wellington Road West, Lake Cowichan

(250) 749-0111

Summer 2016 Cowichan Lake Recreation Swim Lessons: Three sets of Red Cross lessons July 5 - Aug 26 at Arbutus Park

Free Drop-in Parks Program | July 4 - Aug 26 | 10:00 am - 3:30 pm Mon, Wed, Fri at Central Park | Tues at Mesachie Lake Skydome Thurs at Honeymoon Bay Hall

Canada Day: July 1 at Mesachie Lake Skydome | 5:00 - 9:00 pm Live music, performances, concession, crafts, games, vendors and more. All welcome, free admission.

Youbou Regatta: Sat, Aug 13 | Parade at 10:00 am Youbou Hall to Arbutus Park followed by swim races, canoe races, volleyball tournament, and tons of fun for the whole family. A free event for the whole family.

Summer Hockey School with Steve Lingren, Head Instructor Ages 6 - 10, Aug 8 - 13 | Ages 11 - 14, Aug 15 - 20 Power skating for ages 6+, Aug 8 - 12


Call Cowichan Lake Recreation at: 250.749.6742

Visit: cvrd.bc.ca





ust before the snow begins falling around the lake, the Salmon and Mushroom Festival brings the area’s mushroom enthusiasts out to celebrate mushroom season. Salmon and Mushroom Festival organizer, Ingeborg Woodsworth, says the Cowichan Lake area is prime for collecting mushrooms. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” she said of her initial arrival in the Cowichan Lake area. “The variety! It’s a privilege to be here.” This year will mark the 17th year of this annual event. The event runs September 24 to 25 and will include mushroom identification activities, vendors selling mushrooms and local crafts and wares, workshops, and other mushroom-related activities. For more information on the festival, Woodsworth can be contacted at 250-749-6291, or by e-mail at mayocreekgardens@ shaw.ca. You can also check out the festival website at salmonmushroomfestival.com.



Yours to explore


town square, which is located in front of the library on South he Cowichan Lake area is home to two summer markets: the Honeymoon Bay Outdoor Market and the Lake Cowic- Shore Road. han Farmers Market, a new addition last year. The Honeymoon Bay Outdoor Market features a wide variety Winery and Craft of homemade and artisan goods, including wild-crafted herbal, medicinal and personal care products, twig and barn board Brewery Tours Daily furniture, candles, soaps, pickles, pies and fresh locally-sourced produce, all in a rustic “frontier town” setting. The Outdoor Market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Thanksgiving. It’s located at 10063 South Shore Rd., across from the Honeymoon Bay Fire Hall. The Lake Cowichan Downtown Market gives locals a chance to sell anything they “make, bake or create,” including art, homemade crafts, home-baked goods, fresh produce and more. RENT OUR BUS/DRIVER- SPECIAL EVENTS The Downtown Market is open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 PRIVATE SUNFEST TRANSPORTATION p.m. until Labour Day. 250-710-7391 cheerscowichan.com It can be found at Ts’uubaa-asatx Square, Lake Cowichan’s new








Yours to explore


here are 800 sites at campgrounds along the 75 kilometres around Cowichan Lake. The main camping season extends from the long weekend in May to the Thanksgiving Day weekend in October. Lakeview Park Campsite Municipal Lakeview Park, located just west of Lake Cowichan, has 69 sites, 28 of which have lake views. Wireless internet is available and there are free children’s programs and family movie nights. Be sure to book your boat moorage beforehand, online, otherwise you’re likely to find yourself out of luck. For more details or reservations

call 250-749-6681 (from June to August call 250-749-3350) or visit their website online at www.town.lakecowichan.bc.ca/ camping. Gordon Bay Provincial Park Provincial Gordon Bay, further west along the lake past Honeymoon Bay, is a large provincial campground on the shore of a small bay. It has many amenities, making it one of the most popular in the B.C. Parks system. There are 126 campsites with water on tap. Gordon Bay has a large sandy swimming beach with a floating boundary of large boom logs, an amphitheatre, an adventure playground for children

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and a shower house that is wheelchair accessible. Reservations at the park are recommended, especially for summer camping. Call B.C. Parks at 1-800-689-9025, 250-749-3415 (local number) or visit www. discovercamping.ca for information. Beaver Lake Resort Private Just west of Lakeview, this private resort features 50 camping RV and tent sites, with full connections to hydro. There is also a lakefront cabin for rent, laundry facilities, free hot showers, flush toilets, water craft rentals, a horseshoe pit, guest programs and crafts for the younger kids. Call 250-749-7792 for rates.

the RiB EyE

n’t ha {Which is why we do

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2763 Beverly Street, Duncan BC



Camp sites cont. TimberWest Sites (4) Forestry TimberWest sites are located at various locations around Cowichan Lake. Firewood will be available onsite while campfires are permitted by the Coastal Fire Centre for $8/ level wheel-barrow load. Fees are collected daily by an attendant. Call 250-749-3873 for more information. 1. Heather Campsite Located on the west end of the lake there are 47 camping sites. The 12 beach sites are very popular, although they require campers to carry in all gear and supplies. Water is available from taps, but it should be boiled before drinking. Garbage can be disposed of onsite. 2. Kissinger Lake Campsite Located on the shores of a small lake stocked with rainbow trout, Kissinger has 26 sites among trees, eight with a lake view, and is on the road to Nitinat. 3. Caycuse Campsite Shady during the hot summer weather, Caycuse is on the south side of the lake with 26 sites among the forest, some with lovely lake views. Boiling the water is advised. 4. Little Shaw Campsite Northwest toward Youbou on the site of an old log dump at Little Shaw Creek, this small site has five camping spots, all of which are carry-in.

2. Pine Point Campsite A rustic site, with 58 sites. There are beautiful views across the lake, a paved boat launch and a beach of small gravel. There are no water taps or pumps, so campers should bring their own water. In order to keep from attracting bears, there are no garbage cans, so bring strong black garbage bags to carry refuse away from the site. 3. Nixon Creek Campsite On the south side of the lake and is heavily treed with an older stand; a West Coast feel. The narrow road leading down into the site is about 1.5 kilometres. The campground is a Forest Service site with 48 campsites, a gravel boat launch and a scenic walking trail along the beach. There are no garbage cans or water on tap, so be prepared to carry water in and garbage out. Lubin’s Campground Private Lubin’s is located on Cowichan Lake in Youbou. It offers RV hook-ups and a boat launch. Call 250-745-3464.

Kaaa Station Museum Archiv

Grand Getaways Property Management (3) Also located at various sites around Cowichan Lake, with waterfront sites available for a premium. Firewood is available when fires are permitted by the Coastal Fire Centre. There are pit toilets — just to be on the safe side, make sure to take your own bathroom tissue. Quiet time is from 11 p.m., gate is closed at 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. Visitors are asked to leave by 8 p.m. Sites are family oriented. An onsite host will collect fees on a daily basis. Call 250-701-1976 for more info or go to www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca 1. Maple Grove Campsite Another rustic camp that has 61 campsites; some in the open but many under tall trees with lovely southern views across the lake. Four sites are walk-in. There is a paved boat launch (for boats no longer than 14 ft.) and a gently sloped gravel beach for sunning and swimming. It is also a good hiking area.

NEW EXHIBITS: Scouting; 85 Years At The Lake New Railway Display Special Sunfest Exhibit

OUTDOOR DISPLAYS 1927 Shay Locomotive - 1916 Wooden Boxcar - 1918 Wooden Caboose - Diesel locomotive - Speeder Trailer


Winter Hours: Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm Summer Hours: Everyday 10am - 4pm

Email: kaatzamuseum@shaw.ca Phone: 250-749-6141




Yours to explore


ne the Cowichan Lake’s oldest celebrations, Lake Days started out in 1931 as a community picnic, a fancy dress parade and a day of logger sports. Today, it is one of the area’s most beloved traditions and includes a whole week of family friendly events and activities. Organized this year by the Kinsmen and Kinettes of Lake Cowichan, Lake Days runs from June 5 to June 12, and kicks off with a soap box derby, which is a hit with young competitors and older spectators alike. Other events include the RBC Cowichan Idol singing competition, a community breakfast at the Lake Cowichan Fire Hall on June 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., followed by the grand parade along South Shore Road beginning at 11 a.m. All day long there will be activities at Saywell Park in the centre of town — everything from children’s games, vendors and community services booths, to food vendors, 50/50 draws, a dunk tank and a beer garden. This year will also feature the return of logger games, a throw back to the Lake’s rich history of logging and continued relationship with the forestry industry. The

logger games are all open to participants from the public and include the nail drive (which is the one event also open to children under 13), the choker race and the axe throw. That evening is the annual Lake Days Dance, a 19+ event hosted at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena and featuring the band Row of Crowz from Duncan. Tickets



are $20 and available at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday there is a road hockey tournament beginning at 8 a.m. with finals at 3 p.m., the Kinsmen Annual Ducky Derby Race in the Cowichan River starting at 1 p.m. and the RBC Cowichan Idol finals at 4 p.m.

Lake Days Cont.

Lady of the Lake


erhaps the most anticipated activities during Lake Days week are the Lady of the Lake events. Now in its 72nd year, the Lady of the Lake competition features local high school girls who spend several months training in public speaking and community leadership. During Lake Days, they host multiple

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

public events including the Strawberry Tea night , Opportunity Night and the Lady of the Lake Grand Ball. These events are a chance for community members to meet the candidates and learn more about why they are participating in the program. On Saturday, June 11 at 2 p.m. in Saywell Park the new Lady of the Lake

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..

is crowned, along with the new runners up, who receive the titles first and second princesses. The Lady of the Lake and her princesses then spend the year as ambassadors for the Lake district, promoting Cowichan Lake in other communities, participating in parades across the province and attending community events throughout their reign.


Phone 250 749 7790 Toll Free 866 749 7790

David & Beth Kidd

Ice Cream Impossible Home of Cowichan Style Deep Fried Ice Cream • Ice Cream Cones • Gift Shop 122B South Shore Rd., Lake Cowichan

518 Point Ideal Drive (Box 1152) Lake Cowichan, BC Canada V0R 2G0 kiddsbb@shaw.ca www.kiddsbb.com


deepfriedicecream@shaw.ca LAKE COWICHAN GAZETTE VISITOR’S GUIDE 2016


Ts’uubaa-asatx Square


he new town square officially opened last year, with naming rights given to the local First Nation. “The choice of the name was where we come from. We called it Ts’uubaa-asatx, the people from the front of the lake, by the rivers, by the streams. It shows that we’re the people living by the lake,” said Chief Cyril Livingstone.

In return, the Ts’uubaaasaatx recruited artist Ron Hamilton, whose work was featured in the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver, to carve a totem pole that was placed in the square in November of 2016. Hamilton and other carvers spent all of a summer in the square putting the finishing touches on the pole. It was raised with great fanfare last fall and now stands as a

beloved local landmark. Ts’uubaa-asatx Square also features a large gazebo and is located on South Shore Road, right next to the Vancouver Island Regional Library and the Forest Workers Memorial Park. The Square also hosts the Lake Cowichan Downtown Market every Saturday at 10 a.m.

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Yours to explore


he Town of Lake Cowichan is situated at the east end of Cowichan Lake along the banks of the Cowichan River. Just a 20 minute drive from Duncan, known as the City of Totems, Lake Cowichan is the ideal destination for any summer vacation. The Town of Lake Cowichan was incorporated in 1944 and currently has a population of approximately 3,000 people. This number more than doubles in the summer months. Before settlers arrived, local First Nation bands from both the east and west coasts of Vancouver Island used Lake Cowichan for fishing and hunting and utilized the area’s large cedars for building canoes. European settlement of the Town of Lake Cowichan began in about 1833 when William Forest arrived in Cowichan Bay. Soon after he and James Tolmie (the older brother of a later premier of British Columbia) toured the lake with the help of the First Nation Ikilass brothers. After assuring the provincial government that at least 12 settlers would move to the area, Forest was authorized to build a road to the town. This project was completed in 1886. The town’s ties to the logging industry began with these first settlers. The industry flourished until January 2001, when the town of Youbou saw the closure of the last mill on the lake. Even though local mills have since closed, logging is still plays an important role in the economy. Visitors are reminded to maintain caution when driving any of the roads in the area, as active logging still takes place and logging trucks are a common sight. As you can imagine, Lake Cowichan is rich with history. For instance, the River-

side Inn, which is located just before the South Shore Road Bridge, was originally built in 1883. Other notes of interest include Dr. Stoker, who lived in Marble Bay, and had two famous brothers. One was a surgeon for the royal family, and the other was infamous Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula. The 1883 Stoker and Simpson home, located at Nels Beach, is now used for the University of Victoria’s Centre for Field Studies. Today, the town boasts several fine bed and breakfasts, hotels, restaurants, a grocery store with a bakery, a marina, as well as a variety of commercial outlets. If you plan to take advantage of the lake and do some fishing, water skiing, sailing, or kayaking, the marina is a great place to start. It is located at 415 Point Ideal Rd. and provides moorage, rentals and much more. June hours are Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., July and August 10 a.m. to sunset. You can also access the lake through the public boat launch off North Shore Road. In recent years tubing down the river has become a popular activity for tourists and locals alike. Get in the water at Lake Cowichan and enjoy a lazy ride down to Little Beach or Skutz Falls, or choose a more challenging route and begin your journey at Marie Canyon and ride down to Stoltz Pool. Tubers are reminded not to litter and to respect the many private residences that line the banks of the river. For more local information, go to the local Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre and staff will be happy to help you find accommodation, local attractions, activities, and much more. The centre is located by Saywell Park on South Shore Road (see page 4). LAKE COWICHAN GAZETTE VISITOR’S GUIDE 2016

Town Parks • The Friendship Park Fisheries Trail is located beside the Country Grocer store on Cowichan Lake Road. The path winds along Oliver Creek, with several bridges and benches along the way. • Central Park is alongside the river in downtown Lake Cowichan next to the traffic bridge. There is a fountain, picnic tables and an outdoor stage. The fountain is in honour of Dr. William Carpentier who grew up in Lake Cowichan and was a physician to the astronauts of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Lake Cowichan’s war memorial is located beside the stage. • The Duck Pond, officially called Riverside Park, is located on Park Road off North Shore Road. Here you can take a relaxing dip in the Cowichan River. • Saywell Park is located at the head of the river, next to the tourist information booth in downtown Lake Cowichan on South Shore Road. This park is home to many summer activities. • Lakeview Park Campground is just west of town on South Shore Road. It has a beautiful public beach and day picnic area, as well as 72 campsites. See page 14 for camping details.



Yours to explore

Carrie Underwood Sunfest 2016 Headliner

Photo courtesy of www.carrieunderwoodofficial.com


unfest Country Music Festival, which attracts tens of thousands of people each year, has moved! 2016 marks the popular event’s first year in its new home at Laketown Ranch, a sprawling 172-acre site in Lake Cowichan’s backyard that includes parking, camping grounds and the largest permanent outdoor stage west of Cavendish, PEI. This year’s festival headliner features none other than Carrie Underwood, one of country’s biggest stars. 20

Other big name performers include Dierks Bentley, Dallas Smith, Chase Bryant, The Road Hammers, High Valley and Neal McCoy. Local rockers Row of Crowz will also be featured on the main stage, too. The festival runs from July 28-31. Tickets and festival passes are available through Sunfest’s website or by calling 855-486-4776. Since the music doesn’t get started until around 4 p.m. each day, festival goers are encouraged to come visit one of the comLAKE COWICHAN GAZETTE VISITOR’S GUIDE 2016

munities around the Lake where residents and businesses are planning a variety of events. During the weekend of Sunfest, Lake Cowichan will feature small stage concerts, beer gardens, a farmers market, food trucks and more. On Saturday, July 30, Youbou is hosting a day of events their community association has dubbed “West of Sunfest,” which will include a pancake breakfast, a community market and beer garden.

Circle Route T

he Cowichan Lake area is a well connected tourist destination, with recent upgrades to the Pacific Marine Circle Route improving matters significantly. The Circle Route is a series of highways and roads that start at Victoria, and goes north through Mill Bay, Cobble Hill, and Duncan. The road then goes west through to the Cowichan Lake area, and then south to the coastal community of Port Renfrew. The road then winds back east through Sooke to Victoria. In addition to linking traveling tourists to the Cowichan Lake area from other Island tourist destinations, the Circle Route provides access to the tourist-spot-filled road out to Port Renfrew, starting near the community of Mesachie Lake, a few kilometres west of Lake Cowichan. There is signage to direct people new to the area. But remember to gas up before you

leave, as there aren’t any service stations until you reach Sooke. After about 29 kilometres of traveling south of Mesachie Lake, one will reach the Harris Creek Spruce Tree, an old growth forest, with one particularly large tree singled out for tourists to view in closer detail. The big tree is circled with a wooded platform you can walk around. There are also two well-maintained


beautiful campsites next to small lakes along the road, including Lizard Lake, at 38 kilometres from Mesachie Lake with 28 campsites, and Fairy Lake, at 49 kilometres from Mesachie Lake, with 36 campsites. Logging trucks can be expected on the road, so drivers are cautioned to watch out for them. Recent forestry has opened up some views of the various mountains, increasing opportunities for wildlife viewing along the remote road. Once one reaches the coastal community of Port Renfrew, there are a myriad of sites to enjoy. The area is world-renowned as a prime place for studying marine life, with tidal pools trapping sea life for observation. Strange geophysical shapes are carved into the area coastline, with lots of photograph opportunities being provided. There are also various hiking trails and lots of ocean fishing opportunities in the area.

Sherwood House

Independent Retirement Living with Supportive Services

Delicious chef prepared meals 24 hour emergency response Daily planned activities House keeping & fresh linens Suites with balconies & views We are pet friendly!



Ideal location! A short walk from your front door to Duncan’s shops, services + entertainment.


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436 Cowichan Way, Duncan, BC Chancescowichan.ca • 250-746-6300 Sun-Thurs 10am to 12 am • Fri. & Sat. 10am to 1 am


280 Government Street, Duncan www.sherwood-house.com




Yours to explore


ne of the busiest days of the summer happens at Arbutus Park in Youbou on Aug. 3. The Youbou Regatta boasts the shortest parade in the world, starting at 10:30 a.m. from the Youbou Hall to Arbutus Park, but it’s certainly one of the most enthusiastic.


Following the parade, Arbutus Park comes alive with activity. The first splash hits the water with the Clarence Whittingham Memorial Quarter Mile Swim. A tugboat owned by Whittingham — an iron vessel for towing logs on the lake,


takes the swimmers a quarter mile out and they swim back to the dock. This is followed by kids and adult swimming races, cannonball and belly flop competitions, watermelon eating, threeon-three volleyball and canoe races. Call 250-749-6742 for more information.

Community Events Family Heritage Days weekend May 20-23 Lake Days week June 5-12 Lake Cowichan Farmers Market, Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Honeymoon Bay Outdoor Market , Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Every Sunday is the Trunk Treasures 2-6 p.m. in Ts’uubaaasatx Town Square. These markets run right up to Thanksgiving in October Canada Day celebrations around the lake on July 1 Honeymoon Bay Days is July 23

Welcome to

Sunfest July 28-31 Youbou Regatta Aug. 13 as well as the RBC/A&W car show Labour Day Weekend is the Chili Barn Dance and the Honeymoon Bay Blackberry Pie Festival  Salmon & Mushroom Festival/Savour Cowichan Sept. 24-25

Lake Cowichan! Enjoy Your Stay

Oct. 15 Business Showcase Santa Parade is Dec. 3

Lake Cowichan Fire Department


Fire Safety isn’t something you can afford to take a vacation from!

“Stay Alert...Stay Safe” even when you and your family are away on a camping vacation.

• Max campfire size 18”x18”x18”. Gas campfires are ok during campfire bans • Don’t leave children unattended and never leave them near a campfire alone. • Never use water to control grease fire flare ups on gas barbeques. In a fierce flare-up turn off the gas and remove the food and the grease will burn off in a few minutes. • Make sure that your fire is out before going to bed. • Keep a supply of water near your fire. • Check and maintain gas connections and fume vents on camping trailers. • Develop an escape plan and keep a small axe handy for emergency escapes. • Use only battery operated lights in your tents. Never use matches, candles or an open flame in a tent. • Never use gasoline or naptha (camp fuel) – it can cause an explosion. • Never cook or smoke in your tent – it’s a fire hazard and a carbon monoxide danger. • A fire extinguisher is a must for every camper’s equipment. • It is also recommended a portable smoke detector be part of every holidayer’s equipment. • If fire gets on your clothing or someone else’s, remember – stop, drop and roll to smother the flames. Remember WaterSafety! Wear life jackets! Keep boat safety equipment on board. For a full set of rules on Water safety and fire please go to our website


Have a great summer and enjoy Lake Cowichan.



What some people call a great vacation spot… you can call home

Call Keith or Tracy for a look at some of the most beautiful waterfront properties on Vancouver Island!


Keith Nelson

Tracy Forrest

250-749-6660 • Toll free page 1-800-729-3246 • 145 South Shore Rd. Lake Cowichan • www.lkc.ca 24


Profile for Black Press Media Group

May 18, 2016  

Section T of the May 18, 2016 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette

May 18, 2016  

Section T of the May 18, 2016 edition of the Lake Cowichan Gazette