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2018 Cowichan Visitor Guide

Ride. Paddle. Hike. Relax.


Photos: Kurt Knock

InTROduCe YOuR Kids to a field Other than TeChnology

VISIT: TOURISMCOWICHAN.COM Visitor Services: Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre 2896 Drinkwater Rd 1-888-303-3337/250-746-4636 Chemainus Visitor Centre Waterwheel Park 102-9799 Waterwheel Crescent  |  250- 246-3944 Cowichan Lake District Visitor Centre 125 South Shore Rd  | 250-749-3244 Ladysmith Visitor Centre 33 Roberts St  | 250-245-2112

Inside 04 Cowichan’s Communities

16 Golf Courses

28 Hiking + Biking

06 Sip + Savour

18 Third Places

30 Saying “I Do”

10 Boating + Marinas 12 Water Sports 14 Farmers Markets

South Cowichan Tourist Info Booth 2720 Mill Bay Rd (Mill Bay Shopping Centre) 250-743-5500 The official © 2018 Cowichan Visitor Guide is published by the Tourism Cowichan Society in partnership with Taiji Brand Group. Signature imagery provided by Nik West Photography. No part of this publication may be reproduced without consent from the publisher. Printed in British Columbia.

20 Arts + Culture 22 Cowichan’s 10 Unmissable Things 26 Music + Theatre

32 Museums + Galleries 34 Getting Here 36 Sip, Savour + Stay 38 Best Day in Cowichan

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Cowichan takes its name from Quw’utsun’, an Indigenous word that means The Warm Land. Cowichan is located in Canada’s only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone and is home to the warmest year-round temperatures in the country. For decades now, Cowichan has been producing amazing artisanal food and drink from the region’s burgeoning farms, wineries, cideries and distilleries. Yet, the food and drink are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg! From concerts and festivals to outdoor fun, like biking, hiking, fishing, kayaking and more, Cowichan features a myriad of things to do all year round. But what really makes this warm land live up to its name is the chill, unhurried pace and the many quiet, unspoiled spots to enjoy it in.

Taking in the morning sun at Cherry Point, courtesy of, Mill Bay


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Located on southern Vancouver Island, Cowichan is unassumingly tucked midway between Victoria and Nanaimo. You can get here in under an hour’s scenic drive from either city.





Cowichan’s northernmost Founded at the turn of Bowser community: a rugged, the century, this quaint beautiful location that town’s downtown core is features long and winding home to a variety of shops, country roads, various boutiques, bookstores, parks and beachfront antique dealers and more v e r can Riyou accommodation. eateries than Qua um shake a stick at.





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Fly fishing on the mighty Cowichan River near Skutz Falls

Honeymoon Bay is located on the west side of Cowichan Lake and is surrounded by mountains and forests. Make sure to include it in your trip to the town of Lake Cowichan.


Youbou is a community situated 10 minutes north of the town of Lake Cowichan. In the summer, visit Arbutus Park – a wonderful place to swim and picnic.



Nestled between Ladysmith to the north and Chemainus to the south, Saltair is another one of Cowichan’s idyllic seaside communities. here you can see alicumFrom Beach Thetis and Penelakut Islands.


Crofton not only looks directly across to Saltspring Island, but is home to the ferry that will take you there. Make sure you stroll the Seawalk that begins near the Olde School House Museum.


Located 10 minutes east of Duncan, Maple Bay is a wonderful spot for beachcombing, swimming, sailing, fishing, rowing and scuba diving. There are great dining options here too.


Duncan is Cowichan’s largest community. North Make sure you visit the original city centre, just Vancouver west of the highway, where you’ll discover art galleries, bistros, clothing shops and more.

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Valdes Island

Thetis Island Ladysmith Saltair Penelakut Island Chemainus

Crofton Maple Bay

Lake Cowichan Honeymoon Bay

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Once a thriving fishing, mining and forestry hub, the town of Chemainus reinvented itself in the 1980s by capturing its history in a series of large, striking murals painted on the walls of the town.

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Cowichan Bay Cobble Hill Mill Shawnigan Bay Lake




Located just west of Once a bustling fishing Mill Bay is Shawnigan Lake, village, Cowichan Bay River a popular placeJordan for remains one of the most canoeing, rowing, scenic pearls of the region. swimming and fishing. The community now It’s also the gateway to boasts renowned eateries, the world famous, 144boutiques, eco-tours foot high, Kinsol Trestle. and more. rda nR


Langford MILL BAY

North of Shawnigan Lake Mill Bay is a quiet seaside is the rolling farmland that Colwood community that has grown comprises the community in leaps and bounds. of Cobble Hill. Within Nowhere is that more Metchosin 2 kilometres of the centre apparent than at the Sooke of town, you’ll find a Mill Bay Marina, home to number of wineries and a top-notch waterfront Canada’s first estate cidery. bistro and yacht moorage. e ok So iver R

The Town of Lake Cowichan is home to the 34-kilometre long body of fresh water called Cowichan Lake. Central to the region, it has considerable history, and is a paradise all its own.






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Tasting wine among the vines at Unsworth Vineyard


The two of you, a bottle of wine and a few close friends. Since the late 1970s, Cowichan has exploded with a swath of vintners who craft their wines with traditional grape varieties such as those in the Pinot family, Ortega and Marechal Foch. The region is also home to a number of excellent craft breweries, cideries and distilleries. Now known as “Canada’s New Provence”, Cowichan is home to a flourishing “mixology” and artisanal culture. Did you know?  [ 1 ] Duncan’s Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar has created over 100 original cocktail recipes since opening in 2012. [ 2 ] Westholme Tea Company is Canada’s only tea farm. [ 3 ] The Sawmill Taphouse and Grill has a circular saw blade on the wall that is taller than you are. [ 4 ] The first winery on Vancouver Island was established here in Cowichan at Vigneti Zanatta.

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sO Close, You CAn AlmOst TaSte IT

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A gourmet picnic from Cure enjoyed on the beach at Maple Bay


Your vacation to Cowichan can be served on a platter. With so many seasonal ingredients cropping up in Cowichan, opportunities for real farm-to-table experiences abound. From the apéritif beforehand, to your meal and the wine that accompanies it, you can get a very good taste of everything that Cowichan has to offer. No matter what time of year you choose to arrive here, you’ll discover a cornucopia of food and drink, from our many restaurants and roadside stands to our famous farmers markets.


Did you know?  [ 1 ] Cowichan is one of the best places in the world for edible mushroom foraging — find out more from Chef Bill Jones at one of Deerholme Farm’s foraging workshops. [ 2 ] Ladysmith’s Old Town Bakery sells over 46 dozen award-winning cinnamon buns every day. [ 3 ] Cure Artisan Meat & Cheese is a secret source of exquisite French macarons.




MAKES a Delicious

Destination Cidery, distillery & eatery open for tours, tastings & shopping 7 days a week. 1230 Merridale Road, Cowichan | 250-743-4293 |

Lunch, dinner and weekend brunch Located at the Mill Bay Marina 740 Handy Rd 778.356.3568 | 9

New AdventURes Are Just FeeT From our Marinas

Relaxing on the dock at Bird’s Eye Cove Marina

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BOAting + Marinas 1

Ahoy! Drop anchor and moor in Cowichan. Cowichan’s magnificent coastline is dotted with dozens of places to tie up and refuel both you and your craft. At the marinas, small boat harbours and government docks located along the region’s calm and protected east coast, you’ll find marine supply stores, gas docks, shower and laundry facilities, shopping, bistros, restaurants and pubs. Most of Cowichan’s marinas are located just a short distance from a nearby town or village and can be easily reached by foot, bicycle or transit. Did you know?  [ 1 ] The Ladysmith Community Marina features a children’s dock with a marine life-viewing portal. [ 2 ] Bridgemans Bistro in Mill Bay is one of four locations where you can dine right on the ocean. [ 3 ] Yes, it’s true, you can rent a houseboat on Cowichan Lake.



Whale Watching Vancouver Island

Tours Departing Daily From Cowichan Bay

Local - 250.748.3800 Toll Free - 1.866.748.5333 | 11

They’re Jumping iN THe Lake Today

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Cooling off in Mesachie Lake at Beaver Lake resort

water sports

If you’re visiting Cowichan, pack your trunks. Cowichan borders the Salish Sea, a pristine ocean environment perfect for kayaking, paddle boarding, scuba diving, sailing and whale watching. The Cowichan River, famous for its fishing and, in the summertime, tubing, flows from the 30-kilometre long Cowichan Lake. This immense, shimmering stretch of fresh water is a magnificent playground for house boaters, fishers and campers alike. Shawnigan Lake, in a quaint village of the same name, is a summertime hotspot for boating, wakeboarding, swimming and fishing. To the west lies Nitinaht Lake, an internationally acclaimed windsurfing and kite boarding destination.


clOud niNe: also knOwn as the Cowichan RivER.

Did you know?  [ 1 ] Just off the shores of Chemainus lies the world’s only sunken Boeing 737 artificial reef. [ 2 ] It takes about 2.5 leisurely hours to float down the Cowichan River on a tube. 2

! h s a l p s a e k Ma Ladysmith Community Marina where history and hospitality meet for fun! Welcome to our marina community - Full Service Marina - Paddling Centre NEW! - Heritage Vessels - Harbour Heritage Centre - Museum & Sea Life Centre - Oyster Bay Cafe - Harbour Tours - Festivals & Special Events plus the best views in town!


Kayaks, Canoes, SUP boards

Rentals • Tours • Lessons Cowichan Bay 1.800.896.9525 | 13

CouplES GeT FReSH here

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Duncan Farmers Market on a bustling Saturday in early February

Farmers Markets 1

Our complex grocery distribution channel: farm » basket » table. There are more than a dozen farmers markets in Cowichan. The biggest of these is the Duncan Farmers Market. Spread out over several city blocks, it subscribes to a “you make it, you bake it, you grow it, you sell it” philosophy. Here, you’ll find the freshest local fruits, vegetables, baking, jams & jellies, honey, crafts, clothing and local wine & spirits. Other, equally robust farmers markets can be found in Lake Cowichan, Chemainus and Ladysmith. The 100-mile diet is more than just a fad here. Did you know?  [ 1 ] Farmers markets are the only places you can get a cocktail before 11 am. [ 2 ] Duncan Farmers Market is open every Saturday, all year-round. [ 3 ] Cowichan is home to two lavender labyrinths. [ 4 ] Lake Cowichan’s market opens “rain or shine” and features a beautiful family picnicking area.



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TheRe Will Be Some Required Reading When you get Here

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Award-winning golf pro, Norm Jackson, at Cowichan Golf & Country Club

GolF CourSEs

There’s lots of golf here if you can swing it. Some of the most beautiful and challenging golf courses can be found in Cowichan. Some 18-hole courses to consider include Arbutus Ridge Golf Club, in Cobble Hill, Duncan Meadows Golf Course, on Highway 18, Cowichan Golf & Country Club, just south of Duncan and Mount Brenton Golf Course in Chemainus. Avid golf fans must make the drive to March Meadows, the charming home course of the late LPGA star Dawn Coe-Jones, who played on the women’s tour from 1984 to 2008. Did you know?  [ 1 ] Putts typically break towards the nearest river here. [ 2 ] Cowichan’s golf courses are a significant stop along the world-class Vancouver Island Golf trail. [ 3 ] Canadian Golf Hall of Famer, Dawn Coe-Jones, grew up in Lake Cowichan, playing on her home course.

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people often take an extra shot of coffee heRe

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Picture you and a friend over coffee at Drumroasters.

third PlACeS

We’re first in Third Places. Simply defined as a “home away from home”, a welcoming, informal space where you can casually spend time in the company of like-minded people, Cowichan offers a myriad of Third Places including coffee & chocolate shops, pubs, bakeries and endless outdoor spaces. Wherever you choose, the first thing to note about Cowichan is that our abundance of Third Places are full of friendly locals who are second to none.

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Did you know?  [ 1 ] Downtown Duncan’s “Chocolate Pearl” was named after the chocolatier’s grandmother. [ 2 ] Drumroaster Coffee sources beans from Columbia, Ethiopia, Brazil, Kenya & Guatemala. [ 3 ] The iconic bicycle suspended above True Grain is a ladies’ vintage Raleigh.


If you are looking for a great Canadian street, all roads lead to Ladysmith. Discover why First Avenue was selected as Canada’s 2017 Great Street! Our charming town offers unique shopping, antique treasures, culinary delights and of course, our award winning First Avenue with its historic street character, which sets the stage for all-season celebrations, gatherings and day-to-day community life.

An unparalleled bakery experience _________________




Cowichan Bay

1725 Cowichan Bay Rd (250) 746-7664

Courtenay 445 10th St (250) 338-0980

Summerland 10108 Main St (250) 494-4244 | 19

Cowichan’s fabric was Created oVeR Generations

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Cowichan Tribes elder, Dora Wilson, teaches traditional knitting skills to her granddaughter

ArtS + CulTuRE

Shhweenustham ‘u tu Quw’utsun Hwulmuhw: The People of the Warm Land Welcome You. Cowichan First Nations’ traditions are a significant part of our cultural tapestry, as evidenced in local totem poles, carvings and in the designs of the world-famous Cowichan sweaters. Cowichan is also home to an extraordinary number of other artists. In galleries and in home studios throughout the Cowichan Valley, you can see the work of painters, potters, sculptors, weavers, jewellers, glass blowers and many more.

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Did you know?  [ 1 ] The art of Maple Bay sculptor, Jock Hildebrand, has been displayed around the world. [ 2 ] Cowichan was home to internationally acclaimed painter, E.J. Hughes, for over 50 years. [ 3 ] In 1986, Duncan was officially designated the “City of Totems”.

Original art work to inspire. Functional wares to enhance your eating experience.

Heartwood Studio Functional Woodturning by Ken Broadland • Salad bowls, utensils, live-edge vessels & more • Featuring local, salvaged woods

321 Third Avenue, Ladysmith 250.245.3778

5846 Curry Road, Duncan 250-746-5480 (please call ahead) | 21

“A short walk on a groomed trail to witness beautiful old-school craftsmanship and engineering... a must stop for anyone from the island and beyond.” — JOHN BLAZE, GOOGLE REVIEWS

“Where do you find an ex-barrister who is now a brew master making award-winning craft cider; a young chef who is reinventing comfort food; and a ground breaking zen tea farmer? In the Cowichan Valley of course!” — RAJ THANDHI, BLOGGER, PINK CHAI




THinGs Rarely do visitors ask, “What can we do in Cowichan?” More often, the question is “What can’t we leave out?” Of course, it’s possible to do everything on this list, it’s just a matter of how much time you spend here. Have a read, and you may want to book a longer vacation.

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Walking the Kinsol Trestle By far the largest on Vancouver Island, the 144-foot high Kinsol Trestle spans the Koksilah River just north of Shawnigan Lake. Completed in 1920 and named for the short-lived “King Solomon Mine,” it is an impressive engineering feat even by today’s standards and remains one of the loftiest wooden railway trestles in the world. The Kinsol Trestle is part of the Trans Canada Trail network that skirts Shawnigan Lake and winds its way to Cowichan Lake, North Cowichan and Ladysmith.


Tasting wine, spirits, ciders and beers In the last two decades Cowichan has given rise to dozens of upstart operations that have capitalized on the region’s favourable climate and soil to create world-class potent potables. Among these are wines of every description, cider, craft beer and, more recently, spirits. Most are relatively small operations (relative to world producers), but just about all of them either grow what they need or source it locally. In every case, each operation welcomes you to swing by, explore their technique and sample the fruits of their labour.

“To find a farmer’s market that has baking, produce, meat, wine & plants? This is the one! Great atmosphere, lots of samples, friendly people. Tried Well Bred cinnamon croissant



“Like turning sap into syrup, Maple Syrup trail will make you work, but it is absolutely worth the effort.” — TERRY MCKALL, BLOGGER, CYCLING MAGAZINE


Tubing on the Cowichan River The Cowichan River extends 47 kilometres from 23 |

Shopping at the Duncan Farmers Market If you find yourself in Duncan on any given Saturday, you simply can’t miss the Duncan Farmers Market. Open year-round, and one of the largest markets of its kind in B.C., it is spread out over several city blocks in downtown Duncan and subscribes to a “you make it, you bake it, you grow it, you sell it” philosophy. Here, you’ll find the freshest local fruits, vegetables, baking, jams and jellies, honey, crafts, clothing, pet treats and more!

its source at Lake Cowichan to its mouth at Cowichan Bay. Designated as a Canadian Heritage River in 2003, it serves as a home to many animal species and over 20 species of fish. In the summer, the river is a spectacular venue for what is commonly known as “tubing.” Tubing on the Cowichan River involves a one-way, downriver trip in emerald green and (mostly) quiet waters aboard a large, inflatable inner tube. There are many variations on where to start or end the trip, and there are several businesses that will outfit and shuttle you.

“Best lazy river ever. Almost 3 hours of drifting though crystal clear waters and a stop in town for beer! The last bit is nice – rolling swifts and small rapids. Awesome


Riding or hiking “Maple Syrup” Even before mountain bikers referred to rides as “sweet” there was “Maple Syrup,” a breathtaking 9-kilometre mountain bike trail that’s part of a network of hiking and biking trails on Maple Mountain, located on the northern side of Maple Bay in North Cowichan. Access to all of Maple Mountain’s trails is by way of a well-marked trailhead on the east side of Osborne Bay Road, midway between Herd Road and the town of Crofton. Whether you hike or bike to the summit, you’ll be afforded stunning views of the Salish Sea, Salt Spring Island and the Saanich Peninsula.

way to spend an afternoon.” —  TAHIR AHMAD, GOOGLE REVIEWS | 23

“A high point of our four day trip through coastal B.C. The displays cover every aspect of the historical B.C. logging industry starting with locomotives and running the gamut to tools, tractors and a plethora







Wandering Canada’s Great Street 6

Exploring The BC Forest Discovery Centre The BC Forest Discovery Centre is a 100-acre, open-air museum with an operational railway in Duncan. The Centre features forest and marsh trails with excellent bird watching opportunities. In July 2018, the Centre will launch its brand new Forests Forever Exhibit, providing an immersive and interactive experience that will enhance visitors’ understanding of B.C.’s forests. »

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Ladysmith’s First Avenue is the quintessential Cowichan experience and a truly special place. Recently named Canada’s Great Street by the Canadian Institute of Planners, this charming and historic avenue at the heart of Ladysmith is straight out of a storybook. An afternoon discovering First Avenue’s boutique shops and unique eateries is definitely time well spent.

“First Avenue exhibits all of the qualities one would expect from a great street: visually-interesting building facades, generous sidewalks, attractive landscaping and artistic details, places to rest, and places to gather.” — CANADIAN INSTITUTE OF PLANNERS


“I will never get tired of seeing the Chemainus murals. What beautiful works of art. Chemainus is such a beautiful spot, and these murals are lovely to look at

“This is the kind of place that sailors, wooden boaters, romantics and intelligent sentimentalists hold close to their hearts,”

while exploring all the quaint shops” — L ITTLE GNOME, TRIP ADVISOR



Experiencing birds of prey up close

Setting out to sea The magnificent Cowichan coastline and its surrounding inlets, harbours and secluded bays are a boater’s paradise. With more than twenty marinas, small boat harbours and government docks along the shore, you’ll be able to find all the provisions to tie-up and refuel both you and your vessel. If you’re looking to move at a quieter pace, Cowichan provides a stunning backdrop for ocean kayakers and standup paddle-boarders. A sunrise (or sunset) paddle is the perfect way to slow down and connect with nature.

Cowichan is home to many species of birds, large and small. Arguably, the most regal of these are the raptors. You can see them in their natural setting here, but nowhere will you get to see them as close up as you will at Pacific Northwest Raptors in Duncan. Here you can meet eagles, hawks, owls, falcons and vultures (among other birds) and watch them fly above and around you, free of all constraints. At the same time, you’ll learn about their personalities, ecology, habitat and hunting techniques. »

“The presentation at this attraction was on par with the best theme parks I’ve ever been to. So much good information, so professionally presented, and the most amazing birds to watch. We took in two of the 30 minute flight shows and enjoyed spending more than three hours


Embarking on a self-guided tour Chemainus’ history is captured in a series of large, striking murals painted on the walls of the town. Today, there are 44, plus various sculptures, which can all be viewed by following the footprints along the walking tour through town. In Duncan, “The City of Totems”, you can tour a collection of 38 colourful totem poles created by First Nations master carvers in a free, self-guided tour. Each totem pole tells a story that can be retold if you know what to look for. Along the way, you’ll encounter the world’s widest totem pole and “Quench,” a brass totem pole that serves as a public water fountain.

at the facility.” — GORD WRIGHT, LADNER, TRIP ADVISOR | 25

We’Re KnoWN FOR oUR SwEet JAms

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Up-and-coming artists perform in an intimate setting at the Duncan Showroom

Music + Theatre

Take note: we have great performance music here. Cowichan has always been known as an artist magnet. On just about any given night you can catch local and touring musicians, theatre, dance troupes or comedians performing live at various venues. In the summer, we really hit our stride with a number of acclaimed music festivals, including Sunfest at Laketown Ranch, Laketown Shakedown and Rock Festival (pg. 41). Other popular events are the Island’s Folk Festival, Chemainus Bluegrass Extravaganza, 39 Days of July; and, there is always something playing at Chemainus Theatre Festival or Cowichan Performing Arts Centre. Did you know?  [ 1 ] Sunfest is one of the largest country music festivals in Western Canada. [ 2 ] Chemainus Theatre Festival has won TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 6 consecutive years. [ 3 ] The Islands Folk Festival is held on a 400-acre working organic farm. [ 4 ] 39 Days of July is the longest-running festival in the world.




ARTISAN PERFUMERY 1721 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay 4 | 27

QuicK: WhaT RHymeS witH hIKING?

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Cruising on Cameron Taggart Road, Cobble Hill

Hiking + BiKing

When you leave the road, take the trails. Cowichan’s winding roads and trails can take you from “extreme” terrain to gentle jaunts, to lazy wine touring by bike. If mountain biking piques your interest, you will want to explore the extensive trail networks on Mt. Tzouhalem (The Zoo), Maple Mountain and Mt. Prevost. Heather, Bald and Cobble Hill mountains are local favourites as are the 20-kilometer Cowichan River Footpath, winding west from Duncan to spectacular Skutz Falls, and the Trans Canada Trail that skirts Shawnigan Lake and takes you over the Kinsol Trestle.




Did you know?  [ 1 ] Stoney Hill park, off Genoa Bay Rd., has spectacular views of Samsun Narrows and Saltspring Island. [ 2 ] 2017 World Cup champion downhiller, Mark Wallace, grew up in Maple Bay riding The Zoo, Maple and Prevost. [ 3 ] Carmanah Walbran Park is home to the biggest Sitka Spruce in Canada…95m tall!




AnY QueStiOns?

We propose you visit spectacular Skutz Falls on the Cowichan River

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Saying “I Do” 1

A beautiful wedding held in a slightly out-of-the-way, rustic setting is increasingly de rigueur. Provence in southern France is nice in the summer. So is Ireland in the spring. But if you and your love happen to live anywhere in the Pacific Northwest, a wedding in Cowichan is truly matchless. Here, couples are known to say “I do” in sun-drenched vineyards, apple orchards, wilderness lodges and even rolling hay fields overseen by bemused dairy cows.

John Mark Photography

Give your love a ring and come to Cowichan.



Did you know?  [ 1 ] Birds Eye Cove Farm is a 2016 “Vancouver Island Wedding Award” winner. [ 2 ] At Merridale Cidery, in Cobble Hill, you can honeymoon in a “yurt.” [ 3 ] Maple Grove has hosted over 85 beautiful and unique weddings!

Stephanie Fournier Photography

ANCHORS GUESTHOUSE More than a Bed and Breakfast More than an impersonal hotel suite “The Ultimate Romantic Getaway”

Self Contained Vacation Accommodation over the Ocean Diane Howard, Hostess


1793 Cowichan Bay Rd, Cowichan Bay, BC (250) 748-7206 | 1-855-748-7206

Cowichan Bay 1.800.896.9525

12 Room Getaway Accommodations with a twist of Kiwi Fruit.

5130 Brenton Page Rd • Ladysmith BC • V9G 1L6

A family owned and operated winery situated in the heart of Cowichan Valley just off of the Trans-Canada Highway. We have been growing vines since 1984 and you can taste our passion for grapes in every sip of our 100% estate grown wines. 6645 Somenos Road, Duncan

1-866-303-5494 • | 31

OuR Museums Inspire AWWW

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Miniature boat display at Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre

Museums + Galleries 1

We have plenty of museums here for your information. Did you know that First Nations people were living in Cowichan over 4,500 years ago? How about the fact that Duncan was almost called “Alderlea”? Cowichan is steeped in history, preserved in our 11+ museums. From south to north you’ll find the Mill Bay/Malahat Historical Society, Old Koksilah School, Shawnigan Lake and Kaatza Station Museums, Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre, Cowichan Valley Museum, BC Forest Discovery Centre, Olde School House Museum, Chemainus Valley Museum, Ladysmith Museum and the Ladysmith Maritime Museum. Did you know?  [ 1 ] Cowichan is home to more than 15 art galleries and 200 registered artists — including internationally acclaimed Arthur Vickers, who has a gallery in Cowichan Bay.

Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre • • • • • • •

Artifacts and archival photographs Classic wooden boats and dugout canoes Model ships Outboard motor collection Active boat restoration Children’s boat building booth Home of the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society

Open 7 days a week | Admission by donation 250.746.4955 |

Opening Fall 2018!

BC FOREST DISCOVERY CENTRE 100 Acres of Discovery, Education and Fun.


Narrow Gauge Railway Steam Train Forested Trails Ranger Station

INFORMATION – (250) 715-1113

1930 Logging Camp School House Post Office Blacksmith Shop

Sawmill Antique Vehicles Logging Trucks Gift Shop




HERE 48.7569°•N, 124.0310° W BY FERRY: BY AIR:

Punch those numbers into your GPS and you’ll discover that Cowichan is located at the southern end of Vancouver Island. To get here, you have a number of options. If you’re coming from the U.S., you can get very close by flying into Victoria (YYJ) or Nanaimo (YCD). Alternatively, you can take one of various ferries: Anacortes to Sidney, (via Washington State Ferries), Port Angeles to Victoria (via MV Coho) or by driving across the border and taking the B.C. Ferry from Tsawwassen to Sidney – about an hour’s drive from Cowichan. From points closer to North Vancouver, you might consider the B.C. Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. Air access is also available from our friends at Helijet, Kenmore Air and Harbour Air.

HELIJET Your Vancouver Island Connection! Fly Vancouver to Nanaimo in just 18 minutes or Vancouver to Victoria in 35 minutes, with the comfort, speed and style of a Helijet helicopter flight.

100 Port Way, Nanaimo | 1.800.665.4354 |

KENMORE AIR Your getaway to the Cowichan Valley from Seattle starts with a scenic seaplane flight with Kenmore Air to Victoria. It’s just 45-minutes between Seattle’s Lake Union and Victoria’s Inner Harbour, then a short drive to the Valley. Our year-round daily scheduled flights are fast, convenient and stress-free!

Reservations at or 866.435.9524


Take the shortcut and the scenic route on your next trip to the Cowichan Valley! Harbour Air’s daily scheduled flights make it fast, easy and affordable to connect between Maple Bay and downtown Vancouver or South Vancouver (YVR). Book today and discover why we’re BC’s first choice for 35+ years!

6145 Genoa Bay Road, Duncan | 1.800.665.0212 |

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The Pacific Marine Circle Route North

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From Duncan, head east towards Cowichan Lake, reserving time to enjoy the Town of Lake Cowichan and Coombs Vancouver

surrounding communities before continuing east along the scenic route to Port Renfrew and it’s spectacular beaches. From Port Renfrew you will head southwest to the town of Sooke, and then west back to Victoria.


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R ne R Those who make this incredible trip will be rewarded with scenic views of mountain peaks, raging rivers, Nanaimo No rth Na towering forests and beautiful coastlines. n Cha

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Yellow Point




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Leg 2-3: Duncan to Lake Cowichan

Crofton 2 Duncan

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Maple Bay

29 km | 24 min

Cowichan Bay

Leg 3-4: Lake Cowichan to Port Renfrew

Cobble Hill Mill Bay Shawnigan Ko k sila Lake h Ri v e r

San Juan River


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71 km | 1 h 13 min

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Langford e ok So iver R









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West J o

62.5 km | 1 h 16 min

Leg 4-5: Port Renfrew to Sooke



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Port Renfrew

61 km | 1 hour


Lake Cowichan

Honeymoon Bay

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Leg 1-2: Victoria to Duncan

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Ch em ain us

Valdes Island

Thetis Island Ladysmith Saltair Penelakut Island Chemainus

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Jo rda

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If you’d like to lasso the entire portion of southern Vancouver Island in a single road trip, consider exploring the Vancouver popular Pacific Marine Circle Route. Starting in Sidney or Victoria, take the scenic Malahat Drive north to Duncan. Qualicum Beach Be sure to make stops in Shawnigan, Mill Bay, Cobble Hill and Cowichan Bay along the way! Parksville

Jordan River Sooke


Colwood Metchosin



Final Leg: Sooke to Victoria 40 km | 50 min | 35

Sip, Savour + Stay thetis Island

A V E R I L L C R E E K V I N E YA R D e Ch

Premium quality, estate-grown wines, a relaxing garden patio and spectacular views make Averill Creek Vineyard an essential stop on every wine tour.


Riot Brewing Co.


ain . Rd

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6552 North Road, Duncan | 250.709.9986

Rd. Chemainus

chemainus River Rd.

Henry Rd.


Family-owned and sustainably-farmed, the winery and surrounding vineyards are sought after for the award-winning portfolio of wines, and also for events, weddings, picnics, and family adventures. A new addition is the Grouse House accommodation. Visit the tasting room daily from 11am – 5pm between May 1 to October 31.

Averill Creek Vineyards



on -M cK inn


Tru n

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Sta m

Stelfox Rd.

Small Block Brewery

Stillhead Distillery

Co w

3500 Telegraph Road | Cobble Hill | 250.74.4100

Maple Bay ps

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Craig Street Brew Pub

Tzo uh ale m

kR d.

ler Mil Rd.

Zanatta Winery

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Allenby Rd. Glen ora

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Waters Rd.

Rd. rshall


First St.

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Emandare Vineyard

s Rd. Norcros

Canada Ave.




Glenora Rd


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Ampersand Distillery

250.710.7391 |

“Lose yourself in the heart of Cowichan wine country at this haven of relaxation and inspiration.”


Deol Estate Winery

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HW Y. 1 8

Lak es

Dr in

Cowichan’s award-winning, resident tour company offers daily private or public tours including a gourmet lunch. Departing from Cowichan & Victoria, visit wineries, breweries & attractions year-round with our awesome local guides! Pickups at hotels, B&Bs, residences & some ferries, airports & marinas. Private transport for weddings & events; group rates, corporate staff reward day-trips. Cheers!


No rth

HW Y. 18


Rd .

Rd .

2182 Lakeside Rd, Duncan |

Alderlea Vineyard

Rd .

Red Arrow Brewing Company Ba y


Ko k

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Rocky Creek Winery


si ke

e Blu

. Rd


Simply put, Emandare Vineyard is our home and we are privileged to work along side nature to capture a glimpse of this place in every bottle through sustainable farming and old world, low intervention, natural wine making methods with 100% estate grown grapes.


. Rd




w Co

Bench Rd

Rd .

. Rd

Myhre st Rd.

Blue Grouse Estate Winery

. Rd

le H ill R d.

art Rd.

Merridale Cidery Me rr


ay lB Mil an-

Damali Lavender & Winery


. Rd

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36 |


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Unsworth Vineyards

Divino Estate Winery Cherry Point Estate Wines

Fisher Rd.

Cob b

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5000 Genoa Bay Road, Duncan | 250.746.7621

3897 Cobble Hill Road, Cobble Hill | 250-743-2330

int Rd.

Come and enjoy Casual Fine Dining nestled amongst the towering forested bluffs of Mt. Tzouhalem and calm ocean waters of Genoa Bay.

Sustainable Farming, no pesticides, herbicides or chemicals for 19 years. Natural Winemaking, wild fermentation, minimal sulphites & vegan friendly. For catering & private functions, visit Thistles Café:

Po Cherry

Glenterra Vineyards



Venturi Schulze Vineyard

ard ey Vin

6798 Norcross Rd. | Duncan | 250.597.4075

Pa rk er Rd .

le R d.

Kil m


Rd .

Enrico Winery

mill Bay

I S L A N D T I M E TO U R S LT D. Daily departures from Victoria & Cowichan hotels, B&B’s, Marina’s etc. Small groups of 14 or less; single and multi-day trips. Wine day trip includes a local guide, 20+ wine tastings, vineyard picnic and scenic backroads. Let’s go! We are the local experts!

250.477.3322 — or text: 250.516.6077 |


C I D E R Y, D I S T I L L E R Y & B I S T R O

Merridale Makes Memories – explore our cidery, distillery, & eatery nestled in an apple orchard. Open 7 days a week: cellar, distillery and orchard tours, tastings, lunch, yurt stays, & mystical orchard walk for kids. Pets welcome. Visit any time to learn about our seasonal events, weddings, & pizza nights.

1230 Merridale Road, Cobble Hill | 1-800-998-9908 | 250-743-4293

R E D A R R O W B R E W I N G CO. Cowichan Valley’s most impressive brewery with an amazing tasting room atmosphere and an excellent patio. Open 7 days from 11am. Award winning, delicious beers & super friendly staff. Food trucks onsite most days or you can bring your own snacks. Kids are welcome. 5255 Chaster Road, Duncan | 250-597-0037 |

R I OT B R E W I N G C O . Come visit our award-winning craft brewery located in beautiful Chemainus. Enjoy flights and glasses of classic beer styles and adventurous new brews in our kid-friendly lounge and patio, take a tour, or pick up an ice cold six pack, bottle or growler to go. Life’s a Riot! 101A-3055 Oak St, Chemainus | (250) 324-7468 |

ROCK Y CREEK WINERY “From Corporate Suits to Gumboots.” Discover our story and try our unique wines that have won 91 medals. Taste our modern Pinot Gris, blends using rare grapes and our “WOW” factor food pairing. Enjoy the passion of 100% estate terroir-driven wines. Stay longer with a glass in our gardens.

1854 Myhrest Road, Cowichan Bay | 250-748-5622



Join us and enjoy award winning wines and a beautiful dining experience overlooking our vineyard. Just 30 minutes north of downtown Victoria. Our tasting room is open daily and our restaurant Wednesday through Sunday, year round. 2915 Cameron-Taggart Rd, Mill Bay | 250-929-2292

VA N CO U V E R I S L A N D E X P E D I T I O N S A visit to Vancouver Island isn’t complete without going on a craft beverage & estate winery tour that will excite your senses and leave you longing to return! Let us help you discover the places that will inspire stories to last a lifetime! 250-739-9659 |

Riverside Inn

Best Ever Lazy Day 9:30 am   The day starts with a country drive to Saison Market for quiche and coffee (okay, a lemon square too).

11:00 am   Then it’s off to Duncan to take in the 150+ vendors at the Farmers Market... and see if the rumours are true that you can taste craft spirits before noon.


Pub Liquor Store

1:30 pm   You can never have too many beautiful things, so you visit the shops to see what’s new and stock up.

3:00 pm   Time for a backroads tour of the amazing wine country where you tour and taste at over 20 establishments.

4:00 pm   It’s a tough job but you decide to do a cross-winery comparison of Cowichan’s best Pinot Noir.

7:00 pm  

56 North Shore Rd. Lake Cowichan, BC 250-749-6373

And, your best ever lazy day in Cowichan ends watching the sunset on the deck at Genoa Bay.

High OctAne Day 7:00 am Up early and off to The Old Fork for eggs benny and strong coffee.

8:15 am Fully caffeinated, it’s time to head to Mount Tzouhalem and get dialed in on Ressurrection, the newest black double-diamond trail.

1:15 pm Close to bonking after the ride, you circle round to True Grain Bakery in Cowichan Bay to refuel.

2:00 pm The light is perfect and the water is as smooth as glass while you unwind with a gentle paddle on Cowichan Bay.

5:30 pm More refueling but this time you hit the food truck (hey, isn’t that the famous chef from Chopped Canada?)

9:00 pm Nothing better after a full day than hanging out with friends at the Old Firehouse Wine & Cocktail Bar. | 39

AWesOme FAMILY Day 9:15 am   The day starts with a hearty breakfast, cutlery optional, at the Pioneer House.


11:30 am   You race over to Pacific Northwest Raptors to take in an amazing flight demonstration of eagles, hawks, owls and falcons.

Located just minutes from the Nanaimo Airport, the newly built Microtel Inn & Suites by Wyndham Oyster Bay features:

1:00 pm  

• Complimentary hot breakfast • Pool with waterslide

Ready for a treat, you head to Cowichan Bay for lunch, followed by home-made ice cream and a stroll through the village shops.

• Meeting facilities • Healthy club quality fitness centre • Ultrafast free Internet/WIFI

2:30 pm   You head over to see the exhibits at the BC Forest Discovery Centre and take a ride on the Green Hornet locomotive.

5:00 pm   Time to grab a picnic blanket and join the locals at Bird’s Eye Cove Farm where you enjoy made-to-order brick oven pizza.

10:00 pm  

Located at 12570 TransCanada HWY Ladysmith, BC


BOOK TODAY 1.800.337.0050 or visit

Thoroughly spent, there’s nothing left to do but end your perfect family day around the campfire, sharing ghost stories and s’mores.

Two Amazing Experiences … One Great Location!

1681 Cowichan Bay Road, Cowichan Bay BC 250-715-1000

250-597-4353 | 41

Popular businesses at The Lake:

Beaver Lake Resort 8631 South Shore Road, Lake Cowichan

— Relaxation the way it’s supposed to be —

Cowichan Lake

1-250-749-7792 •

201 Lake Cowichan Road Tel: 250.749.6717 | Reservations: 1.800.887.1288 | Email:

Many people have come for a visit and stayed— if you see for yourself, you will understand why. TOWN OF LAKE COWICHAN MAYOR ROS S FOR R EST Kayak~Waterbike~Canoe SUP~Gift Shop

8570 North Shore Rd. Lake Cowichan, BC


J&V’s Burgers & Pizza 162 South Shore Road 250-749-7411

HONEYMOON BAY RUSTIC OUTDOOR MARKET Saturdays 10 am -2 pm, May through Sept

Cowichan Lake has exactly what you need to rejuvenate your body and soul. AR EA F D IR ECTOR IAN MOR R IS ON

Featuring Local Products

Located downtown Honeymoon Bay. South Shore Rd. (across from the fire hall.) For more information, contact

LAKE COWICHAN FIRST NATION 313B Deer Road, Phone: 250-749-3301 | Fax: 250-749-4286

42 |

Gourmet Strudel “We make it... u bake it”


Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce Visitor/Business Centre 250.749.3244

More popular businesses at The Lake: Carmanah Pizza

Lake Cowichan First Nation at the Ts’uubaa-asatx Town Square.

39 King George Street 250-932-7776 Facebook: @Youbouatitsbest

Cassy’s Coffee House

10375 Youbou Rd 1-778-429-9009 Facebook: @CarmanahPizza

Country Grocer

250-749-6335 locations/lake-cowichan/

The pristine Cowichan River

Deep Fried Ice Cream Impossible 122B South Shore Road 250-710-6923 Facebook: @Deep-Fried-Ice-Cream

Greendale Riverside Cabins 8012 Greendale Road 250-749-6570

Jakes at the Lake 109 South Shore Road 1-778-429-9009 Facebook: @Jakesatthelake

Kaatza Station Museum Popular Arbutus Park

Drop by the Visitor Centre for directions, maps, WIFI connection, and event schedules.

125 South Shore Road 250-749-6142 Facebook: @kaatzastation

Riverside Inn Beer & Wine 56 North Shore Road Facebook: @Riverside-InnBeer-Wine 250-749-6373

Scarlett’s Second Hand Boutique 250-510-7742 Facebook: @ScarlettsSecond HandBoutique

South Shore Cabinetry

250-932-2004 Facebook: @SouthShoreCabinetry

Tara Bushby Art

Facebook: @tarabushbyart

Tim Hortons

250-749-0225 Carmanah Trail

Bamfield Coast Guard Station

Cowichan Lake is your gateway to adventure, scenery, and wild life viewing around the lake in the Carmanah, Nitinat, Bamfield and Port Renfrew. Home to LakeTown Ranch, Western Canada’s Premier Outdoor Concert Event Facility. Come play in our backyard!” — A RE A I DI RECTOR KLAUS KUHN

Tipton’s Gas Bar

14 North Shore Road 250-749-6133

Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit

4063 Cowichan Valley Highway 1-844-856-0122 | 43

discOver wHy THese ThRee Are SMiLiNG


A Garden for all Seasons

Home of the GBC Academy & Satellite Bar & Grille 3515 Telegraph Road, Cobble Hill | 250.743.5100 Everybody’s playground! Rated four stars by Golf Digest, Best restaurant view on Vancouver Island? You decide. Environmental Planning Certificate, Audubon International 44 |

Hot shopping, delicious dining, awesome culture, and Vancouver Island’s biggest farmers’ market. They’re all waiting to surprise you in wonderfully walkable Downtown Duncan.

Carver: Harold Alfred

2018 Cowichan Visitor Guide  

The Official 2018 Tourism Cowichan Visitor Guide

2018 Cowichan Visitor Guide  

The Official 2018 Tourism Cowichan Visitor Guide