Chemainus, on Vancouver Island’s east coast, is a little town snuggled in between a mountain range and the ocean.
Made world famous by our outdoor gallery of murals
Made world famous by sinking a Boeing 737 for scuba divers
Yet so quaint and quiet you will not want to leave
Enlightened by our culturally rich history
Enchanted by our beauty and warmth
Enthralled by our superb live theatre
Delighted by our diverse dining options
Invigorated by our variety of recreational options
There is something for everyone
Hospitality awaits . . . For one night is never enough
Just an hour’s drive from Victoria – but a world away in time
Chemainus World Famous Murals
The Chemainus Murals have inspired communities throughout the world to explore their roots, to beautify their towns, and instill pride. Using the Chemainus model, some communities have used the mural concept to develop their own revitalization for stronger economic development. A tour of the murals can be found at http://muraltown.com/
Chemainus Theatre Festival
The Chemainus Theatre offers professional live theatre that entertains and inspires the heart. Producing year-round, this regional theatre company stages a wide range of world classics, musicals and new plays featuring professional guest artists from across North America. For the complete Chemainus Theatre Experience enjoy dinner in the Paybill Dining Room. Browse the Gallery, a showcase of over 100 British Columbia artists. http://chemainustheatrefestival.ca/
Our calm and protected bays, inlets and estuaries offer some of the most incredible kayaking experiences to be had on Vancouver Island…… and our great weather and sea conditions mean more ‘kayakable’ days per year! Outfitters offer tours, rentals and lessons for groups of all sizes and offer close-up looks at our plentiful and diverse marine wildlife. Try stand up paddling!
Cowichan rivers are known for whitewater kayaking – running rapids or simply floating down a beautiful waterway. http://www.tourismcowichan.com/outdoor-activities/kayaking/
The waters off Maple Bay were proclaimed by Jacques Cousteau to be one his favourite diving areas in the world. Local shipwrecks and marine life of the Salish Sea provide hours of superb diving for both beginner and advanced divers, but the region’s ‘piece de resistance’ is the Boeing 737 that was sunk just off Chemainus, creating a very successful artificial reef, teeming with life. Diving excursions are provided by http://www.divemaster.ca/ , on Thetis Island.
Some of Vancouver Island’s finest road, trail and mountain biking areas are in the Cowichan Region. Enjoy cycling the picturesque Cowichan ValleyTrail a segment of the Trans Canada Trail. At over 75 km’s , cyclists can travel across eight historic rail trestles, including the Kinsol Trestle, in the section between Shawnigan Lake and Lake Cowichan. The trail then follows the Cowichan River to Duncan.
The new mountain biking trails on Maple Mountain opened in 2013 to great acclaim and are becoming well known for well groomed trails and unique features. Suitable for all levels of downhill biking.
Check out this Mountain Biking Tourism Association video of Duncan’s Mt Tzouhalem, which epitomizes west coast riding.
For those who prefer road cycling, the Cowichan region offers quiet meandering country roads that take one by pastoral farmlands and vineyards…..a new view around every corner. Check some of the popular routes here. http://www.tourismcowichan.com/outdoor-activities/cycling-areas/
Bicycles can be rented at cycle shops in Duncan.
In Cowichan you’ll find three 18 hole courses and three 9 hole courses, all less than an hour from each other. Stunning scenery and pristine links will improve your mood as well as your game and our fabulous weather lets you play year round! http://www.tourismcowichan.com/outdoor-activities/golf-courses/
Festivals & Events
There’s always something happening in Cowichan!
Check out these events that happen all summer long, and watch the calendar for details about annual festivals and events.
Harbour Tours in Ladysmith and Cowichan Bay
Dine on the Dock in Ladysmith, every second Friday
Farmers Markets including the Island’s largest in Duncan, are held around the region
39 Days of July Music Festival June 24 to August 1 in Downtown Duncan
Totem Tours in Duncan
Water Buffalo Farm Tours – 2nd & 4th Sundays from April 10 to Sept 25
Tourism Cowichan Festivals and Events
Festival of Lights
From the last Thursday in November until the first Sunday in January, Ladysmith is ignited with the life of thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Over 1,000 volunteer hours are put into setting up the festive decorations and 200,000 sparkling lights. The Town of Ladysmith has been a huge supporter of the Festival of lights since the beginning, helping make Ladysmith the Light Up Capital of Vancouver Island. –http://www.ladysmithfol.com/
Wine & Culinary
Taste what Cowichan is all about!
This is a region that celebrates good food and good eating. Just ask the thousands of food lovers who come every year to sample the Cowichan bounty.
Enjoy an abundance of creative local cuisine, featuring seafood, sea salt, blackberries, mushrooms, honey, maple syrup, cheese, & vinegars. Enhance your food experience with local wines, ciders, beers and spirits. Coffee roasters and tea blenders; chefs, bakers and chocolate-makers all call Cowichan home.
Our wineries, most of which are within 30 minutes of each other, produce classic reds, whites and sparkling wines. Cowichan’s climate and setting provide one of the best locales for growing Pinot grapes, and the resulting wines are gaining great respect on the world stage. Fruit wines, blackberry port-style wines, ciders, vodkas and brandies round out the list of delectable libations unique to the Cowichan Region.
We’ve got your ideal dining-out option, too, whatever your style or mood ~ bistro, wine bar, pub, café, family-style restaurant, fine-dining elegance, gourmet prix fixe, farmhouse chic, waterfront casual, waterfront fancy, seafood specialties, local fare, world fare, tapas, on-the-run.
Filling your own hamper with meal fixings fresh from a local market, bakery, seafood shop and specialty food store is easy to do, or pick just about any of our dozens of scenic country roads, and you won’t go far before seeing a stand displaying fresh produce, a shop selling hand-made culinary treats, or a fish boat selling fresh catch.
Another good way to taste the Cowichan is to head to any of the region’s six farmers’ markets, including the Duncan Farmers Market – one of the largest on the Island.
Cowichan’s 15+ tasting rooms offer up traditional varietals including Pinot Gris, Ortega, Pinot Noir, & Marechal Foch. Add to this delectable mix sparkling wines plus berry & fruit wines and you have an idea of why Cowichan is an increasingly acclaimed wine region.
If you prefer hops to grapes….. we’ve got your beer….. at craft breweries in several of our communities. And distilled spirits including award winning gins, brandies and vodkas round out a very tasty reason to visit.
Grab your passport to Cowichan’s wine country. In addition to sipping and sampling at our cellar doors, you have the opportunity to enter and WIN dinner for two in the Cowichan Valley.
Download your passport and printable map, and start exploring! http://www.tourismcowichan.com/wine-culinary/wineries/
Chemainus Giant Street Market
Come out to the annual Chemainus Giant Street Market! Over 120 amazing vendors with everything to offer from arts and crafts to gourmet foods to handmade clothing. With such a variety there will be something for everyone. Load up the car with the whole family and come down to Chemainus for a day of fun and great deals! The event takes place up and down Willow Street. http://www.tourismcowichan.com/events/chemainus-giant-street-market-2/