The Cowichan Valley, with its "Gourmet Trail," is an ideal location for food and wine enthusiasts. As well, its towering old-growth forests, alluring beaches, and meandering rivers attract numerous outdoor adventurers.
Cowichan Valley Facts
- The Cowichan Valley takes its name from an Aboriginal word meaning "the warm land" – fitting, as the valley enjoys Canada’s warmest mean temperature.
- The valley is centrally located between the cities of Victoria (to the south) and Nanaimo (to the north).
- Access the valley via BC Ferries, which docks in both Nanaimo and Sidney.
Cowichan Valley Communities
Chemainus is a quaint, seaside village located in central Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley.
Duncan is surrounded by vast tracts of unspoiled mountain, forest, and coastal wilderness.
Ladysmith sits on a hillside overlooking the Strait of Georgia. At its base is a harbour so rich in shellfish it supports three oyster companies and a multi-restaurant event called “Oysterfeast” each May.
Cowichan Valley Food and Wine
In the Cowichan Valley discover a land of fishermen, foragers, vintners, organic farmers, artisanal cheesemakers, and slow-food chefs. The Cowichan Valley is blessed by a warm climate, ideal growing conditions for grapes and other fruits and vegetables. Tour and sample award-winning wineries and heritage farms in the area, or plan a trip to the impressive farmers market in Duncan.
Indulge at local restaurants – the astounding regional bounty produces some of the best food in the Pacific Northwest, or visit British Columbia's first cidery.
Cowichan Valley Outdoor Activities
The Cowichan Valley is marked by a beautiful landscape, great for various outdoor activities. Surrounded by mountains, the valley is a spectacular setting of towering forests, abundant beaches, and sheltered bays. Kayak and swim in the Pacific Ocean, or in the valley’s many freshwater lakes and rivers. Outdoor enthusiasts also enjoy hiking, cycling, or horseback riding throughout the valley.
Cowichan Valley Aboriginal Culture
First Nations settled in the Cowichan Valley thousands of years before the Europeans arrived and have left a lasting legacy. The Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre in Duncan features live demonstrations, hands-on activities, and a multi-media presentations on First Nations oral history. View the more than 40 Aboriginal totem poles on display along Duncan’s streets and walkways.