Words by Jessica Wood
British Columbians celebrate Family Day every second Monday in February, which means Family Day long weekend is just around the corner! Is your family looking for something new and exciting to do this long weekend? Here are some activities that you, your family, and your friends can experience in Cowichan this long weekend.
Explore Cowichan Bay’s Historic Waterfront
Cowichan Bay is a waterfront community that is famous for its colourful floating homes, unique shops and beautiful piers. Start off this day trip with a walk along the water, there’s a good chance your family will see some amazing sea life. Looking for a new wardrobe? Check out Radway Studio & Boutique for a great selection of new fashions. If you want to update your home this family day, you’ll also want to check out Beachology, where you’ll be sure to find plenty of beach inspired decor!
Once you’ve worked up an appetite from exploring this waterfront town, take the whole family to Hilary’s Cheese and try one of their famous grilled cheese sandwiches. Hilary’s Cheese is a favourite spot for many locals. Dessert time? Udder Guys Ice Cream is just down the road!
From delicious local cuisine to unbeatable waterfront views and shopping for the whole family, this is a must visit community this Family Day.
Local Food & Coffee Will Enrich Your Day
If you’re an early riser, or just need a mid-day pick me up this long weekend, check out Drumroaster Coffee in Cobble Hill. With a wide variety of coffee, lattes, teas and pastries, everyone in your family is sure to find something to excite their taste buds.
Looking to treat your family or friends to a nice lunch? Pizzeria Prima Strada in Cobble Hill has a mouthwatering selection of wood-fired pizza. This must-taste pizza can be paired with your choice of craft beer, local cider or a delicious house-made Blueberry Basil Soda (with many more options on the menu). For dessert, be sure to check out their house-made gelato and sorbet.
Whether you’re looking for a spot to hike, a place to picnic, or a little bit of both, Cowichan has lots of options. For a sweat-breaking hike, be sure to check out Mount Tzouhalem’s viewpoint trail which overlooks our beautiful Cowichan Valley. Looking for a light walk? The Chemainus Lake Loop is a 2.5 km trail filled with beautiful wildlife, and an easy to walk trail that will be perfect for a family outing. For a light walk filled with history and culture, check out the Duncan Totem Tour, which can be taken by following the yellow painted feet on the town’s sidewalks.
If you’re planning a picnic, consider heading to the Duncan Farmers Market on Saturday morning from 10am – 2pm. Here, you’ll be able to find local fruits and vegetables, honey, cheeses, breads, fresh pastries and so much more to fill your picnic basket with local delicacies! Your family picnic will be complete with one of Cowichan’s scenic picnic benches, located at Bright Angel Park, Central Park, and the historic Kinsol Trestle, just to name a few!
Find Your Artistic Side
Take friends and family to Shawinigan Lake to visit The Vintage Brush for an art class! On February 10th, there is a “Paint Your Own Farmhouse Bench” class, which will offer detailed direction on how to create a new masterpiece for your home. Registration is necessary at , so sign up soon!
Cowichan also has many art galleries that will allow you and your loved ones to get in the artistic mood this long weekend. The Judy Hill Gallery in Duncan, The Ladysmith Waterfront Art Gallery in Ladysmith and Arthur Vickers Gallery in Cowichan Bay are a few to consider.
Tasting Tour’s for 19+
For families with adult children, Cowichan is overflowing with local breweries, wineries, distilleries and cideries. Vancouver Island Expeditions and Cheers Cowichan both offer a variety of tour options that will guide and transport you from one tasting spot to the other. If you’re travelling up island from Victoria book a trip with Island Time Tours. Or if you’re coming from Nanaimo Janie’s Got A Bus can supply your Cowichan tour. These tour guides know the Cowichan craft beverage scene better than anyone, which makes their guidance between destinations a great addition to your day!
One of these tours may take you to Riot Brewing Co., who just took home a gold medal for their Working Class Hero Dark Mild at the World Beer Competition! You may also stop in at the famous Merridale Cider & Distillery, where you’ll have to the opportunity to try a collection of ciders and spirits, all while exploring their magnificent grounds. Be sure to check out our local tour operators for a full list of tour stops!
Extend Your Long Weekend For The Theatre!
Extend your family day festivities to the 16th & 17th of February and see The Sound of Music live at the renowned Chemainus Theatre Festival. The theatre offers both an afternoon matinee, and evening show.
The Sound of Music is a dramatic family musical, based on the true story of the von Trapp family singers. The play follows Maria and Captain von Trapp, as the two fall in love amidst the frightening beginning of World War II. This is an uplifting play (with fantastic music) that the whole family will enjoy!