At one time, the village of Chemainus was fortunate enough to benefit from three of Vancouver Island’s biggest resources: fishing, mining and forestry.
As resource revenues declined, the town hatched an optimistic plan that would prove Chemainus to be more resourceful than it ever was in the past.
The idea was to capture Chemainus’ history in a series of large, striking murals painted on the walls of the town. With that decision, a new industry was born and inspired the town’s well-earned description, “The Little Town That Could”.
Today, there are 63 amazing murals and various sculptures, which can all be viewed on foot, 365 days a year. The themes of the murals vary from indigenous heritage and logging lore to rail history, nature and immigration. Chemainus is still a small town, so taking a tour of all the artwork can easily be done in a few hours. Some of the highlights include Native Heritage (featuring former Chemainus Band Chief Clay-sa-luke by Paul Ygartua), Orcas (featuring a pod of swimming orcas by Joshua Raven), Spirit of the Earth (a marble sculpture of a mystic Indigenous princess by Daniel Cline) and Logging with Oxen (a depiction of how timber was transported during the turn of the 20th Century by Harold Lyon). Chemainus is located along the Trans Canada Highway, 32 kilometres south of Nanaimo and 80 kilometres north of Victoria.
Downtown Chemainus: 48.922534º -123.717494º