Arts + Culture
Given that Cowichan’s history goes back more than 5,000 years, it’s safe to say there is much history and culture in this neck of the woods. The legacy of the Cowichan or Quw’utsun’ First Nations makes up a significant amount of the cultural tapestry here, as evidenced in local totem poles, carvings, and in the designs of the world famous Cowichan sweaters. More recently, settlers were active in mining, logging and, of course, agriculture – and you’ll find a number of museums that reflect this rich industrial past, as well as the stunning ecology of the area.
A place as eclectic and beautiful as Cowichan can’t help but attract an equally diverse mélange of artisans. The region is home to many highly talented painters, potters, sculptors, weavers, jewellers, glass blowers, knitters and carvers whose works can be seen in home studios and galleries all along the Cowichan Valley corridor. Most notably, internationally acclaimed landscape painter E.J. Hughes lived in many parts of the region for over 50 years, and many of his celebrated works showcase Cowichan vignettes and vistas. For paintings on a very big scale, be sure to spend some time in the town of Chemainus, where you’ll be treated to its famous assortment of large-scale murals. With no pun intended, theatre plays a big part here, as does music, particularly in the summer, with the three-day long Islands Folk Festival and the free “39 Days of July.” And you don’t have to be a country music fan to enjoy Sunfest, an electrifying four-day event in late July and the largest country music festival in western Canada.
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Westholme Tea Farm
Maple Bay Marina
Mary Fox Pottery
Vancouver Island Expeditions
Chemainus Festival of Murals
HB Barry Strasbourg-Thompson BFA Studio & Art Instruction
Mill Bay/ Malahat Historical Society Museum
Pacific Northwest Raptors