This summer Cowichan is excited to host the BC Summer Games. 3,700 athletes, coaches and officials will be gathering in the region to take part in this year’s games. While the young athletes compete on the track, in the pool, and on the fields across Cowichan, there are plenty of activities for the whole family between the races and games.
This summer, you can host your own Leisure Summer Games in Cowichan! The kids are sprinting, but you don’t have to. Here are our top 10 things to do if you’re in Cowichan for the BC Summer Games.
1. Fuel Up with Fresh Pizza!
Nutrition is everything when you’re an athlete, which is why the first item on our Top 10 is pizza. Fuel up the kids (and yourself) with fresh pizza made from the best (and local) ingredients.
On Sunday nights, grab a slice of brick oven pizza paired with craft cider and live music at Merridale Cidery & Distillery in Cobble Hill.
If you’re cruising through Cobble Hill, you’ll have to stop at Pizzeria Prima Strada for their wood fired Neopolitan style pizzas, but remember to leave room for dessert! Prima Strada also crafts their own in-house Gelato.
If your athletes are in wrestling or lacrosse, you’ll find yourself out in Chemainus, which is a perfect pizza stop. Hop into the Sawmill Taphouse and grab a pint of local craft beer to pair with their fire roasted pizza!
2. Warm Up On the Bike
All athletes know that a proper warm-up is key to success. So, warm up to your Leisure Summer Games by taking a cycling cruise along the Cowichan Valley Trail. While the triathletes are barreling down the course on their bikes, you can be coasting along Cowichan’s many trails, taking in the sights and even stopping for wine.
Rent a ride at Cycle Therapy. Or if you’re looking for a more intense cycling experience, rent a bike from Cowichan Cycles and hit the trails of Maple Mountain, Mount Tzouhalem and Cobble Hill.
While the kids compete in canoe and kayak racing, you can take a more relaxed approach to the paddling sports.
An evening or sunrise paddle out of Maple Bay is a perfect activity for your Leisure Summer Games. Reserve your spot in a guided tour, or rent a kayak or standup paddleboard and explore at your own pace with Wilderness Kayaking Co.
In Ladysmith, Sealegs Kayaking Adventures offers rentals and unique wildlife viewing tours — these tours paddle through Ladysmith’s inner harbour and are perfect for novice paddlers and families.
You can take a mulligan or two while out on the links. Who’s counting?
The Arbutus Ridge Golf Course offers stunning seaside and mountain views. After you’ve finished your round, take a seat in the spectacular Satellite Bar and Grille with a patio overlooking the 18th hole.
In Chemainus, head over to the Mount Brenton Golf Course. This scenic course has plenty of creeks, ponds and towering firs, which make it a challenging and enjoyable course for every level of golfer.
Can’t swim the 50-metre freestyle in under 30 seconds? No problem, we’ve got plenty of areas to relax and swim outside. Doggy paddle is totally fine with us, no judgement.
Lake Cowichan is a perfect spot for spending time on the lake. Whether you want to paddle, go tubing, or just float around, this is the ideal spot to be on a hot summer’s day.
In Shawnigan, take a hike up Mount Baldy then reward yourself with a dip in the lake. West Shawnigan Lake Park is a great recreation space with a designated swimming area and a vast lawn that’s perfect for frisbee.
If you want to take a dip in the ocean, the waters of Maple Bay are lovely and warm in the summertime. It’s also a perfect spot to lounge next to the sea and watch the sailing races. When you’re done on the beach, walk up to the Lion Rampant Scottish Pub for some food and enjoy of the best patio views in the area.
To the serious Farm Market patron, perusing the stalls is a sport if not an art! Grab your basket and some comfortable shoes and get ready to hit the markets.
The Duncan Farmers Market is the largest market in Cowichan, and in the summer the vendors are literally overflowing with fresh produce, artisan crafts and delicious baking. The market is open almost every Saturday of the year, but is at its best in the summer!
The Cobble Hill Farm Market on Sundays is a fabulous place to find local and sustainable food and artisan wares. The market has a great variety of baked, grown, preserved and crafted goods that will not only fuel your athletes but also make fabulous keepsakes.
If your weekends are booked, but you still want the market experience, swing by Chemainus for their Wednesday Farmers Market from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. This market is in the heart of Chemainus at the historic Waterwheel Park.
7. Extra Curricular Activities
When you’re not participating in your leisure activities, there are plenty of places in Cowichan to take the kids for enriched experiences.
The Chemainus Theatre Festival‘s summer play is Grease! Running until September 1st, this show will bring you back to your teenage days with its iconic music and high-energy dancing. Really, weren’t we all born to hand-jive?
Don a falconry glove and get up close with Birds of Prey at The Raptors. With a variety of programs and shows, the Raptors allows you to experience these majestic birds closer than you ever could in the wild.
The BC Forest Discover Centre has gone through some extensive renovations over the winter, so this summer is the perfect time to revisit or explore the centre for the first time. This 100-acre property allows visitors to experience Vancouver Island’s forestry history through interactive displays. And of course, everyone wants to ride the heritage forestry locomotive that tours the property!
8. Teamwork – There’s No I In Team
There’s no ‘i’ in team, but there is an ‘i’ in wine. With 14 unique wineries, Cowichan is British Columbia’s second largest wine producing region. Put together your own team of wine tasters and tour through the area’s vineyards.
Or book a tour with Cheers Cowichan and let them do the driving.
9. Cool Down: Tube the Cowichan River
After the big events of the BC Summer Games (and your Leisure Summer Games) cooldown on the Cowichan River.
Rent a tube from The Tube Shack or ORKA Adventures and float down the pristine and clear waters of the Cowichan River. The journey down the river takes roughly 2.5 hours, which is the perfect way to cool down and unwind.
After your tubing expedition, stop in at Jakes At The Lake and enjoy some patio time overlooking the lake.
10. Recovery – Spa Time!
After all those summer leisure activities, take in some well-earned downtime. You’ve been working hard, you deserve it!
At the top of the Malahat book yourself a treatment at the Villa Eyrie’s Tuscan Spa. Enjoy the fresh mountain air with spectacular views overlooking the Saanich Inlet as you lounge in the private outdoor oasis. This experience will be so relaxing you’ll never want to leave, so you might as well book a room in with the Villa and stay a while.
For a spa treatment unlike any other, enter the cozy, classic atmosphere of the Matisse Day Spa in Duncan. Offering a range of beauty essentials, you can relax and have your choice of massage and body care treatments.