The year may be 2019, but when you visit the picturesque village of Cowichan Bay, just south of Duncan, you may feel like the clock’s been turned back at least 100 years.
The village is located beneath the bay’s constant overseer, Mount Tzouhalem and is close to the tidal flats where two major rivers flow into the sea: The Cowichan and Koksilah. For millennia, this area was home to Indigenous people who subsisted on the salmon and shellfish that are still part of the local ecosystem and economy. The village eventually became a gateway for lumber exports and a thriving hub for commercial and sports fishing. Many of the buildings are still on stilts, but where there were once ship chandlers and taverns, is now a mosaic of restaurants, cafes, funky boutiques and ecotourism operators. The dining options here are many and include cafe fare to fine dining, to must-write-home-about fish and chips. After you’ve strolled the waterfront amongst the wharves, galleries and boutiques, you might feel like visiting the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, which juts out onto the water and showcases much of Cowichan Bay’s history and an impressive collection of hand-built wooden boats. To get in touch with nature, you can visit the Cowichan Estuary Interpretive Nature Centre or, if you’re feeling really adventurous, you can go kayaking or take a whale watching tour in search of the many orcas, sea lions, grey whales and porpoises that ply these waters.
Cowichan Bay: 48.740344º -123.620084º