Painted mural in Chemainus

(Adrian Dorst photo)



Chemainus is a Cowichan Valley town on the southeastern coast of Vancouver Island.

Victoria is 75km/47mi southeast along the Trans-Canada Highway, while Nanaimo is 36km/22mi to the north. 

Access to Gulf Islands

The town sits on the edge of Chemainus Harbour and is sheltered from the Strait of Georgia by the southern Gulf Islands archipelago. Thetis, Kuper, and Salt Spring islands are in the immediate off-shore neighborhood, while the long, lean finger of Galiano Island can be seen a little further out to sea. The seaside communities of Saltair and Crofton are also in the area. 

Chemainus Lake, on the west side of the Trans-Canada Highway, is the source of Askew Creek, which feeds into town and is best experienced amidst the second-growth forested pathways of Askew Creek Park (on Oak Street near its junction with the Chemainus Road). The Chemainus River, meanwhile, flows out to the ocean from an interior mountain range that includes Mount Prevost and Mount Brenton. 

Climate and Weather 

Cowichan means "the warm lands" or "basking in the sun" in the language of the Coast Salish peoples who originally inhabited this temperate and fertile region. In fact, the valley (which also includes Duncan, Cowichan Bay, Ladysmith, and Mill Bay) is renowned for having the warmest mean average annual temperatures in Canada.  

Bring a jacket or wrap when attending the theatre even in July. Spring, summer, and fall here is usually dry and daytime highs during these seasons typically hover around the 20°C/68°F mark. Like the rest of the west coast, winters are wet (about 1,000mm/39in annually) but less so than other parts of Vancouver Island. The average winter high is 7.6°C/45°F.