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Cowichan Valley

Cowichan Communities

Cowichan is made up of a number of small communities, each with its distinct character and unique activities. Each one is worth taking the time to explore; Ladysmith, Chemainus, Duncan, Lake Cowichan, Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake, Cowichan Bay, Mill Bay and Cobble Hill. Fertile valleys, rolling mountains, undulating rivers and pristine lakes come together to form the backdrop of the Cowichan; a place of incredible beauty, timeless traditions and tidal rhythms.

Nestled between the bustling cities of Victoria to the South and Nanaimo to the North, Cowichan offers a wide choice of things to see and do throughout the year, from exploring the wine country trails, to unforgettable fishing, kayaking, hiking and golfing adventures.Or, explore and engage in our rich cultural heritage and discover the many historic sites and artists galleries along the way.

This unique area of Southern Vancouver Island is increasingly recognized internationally for its charming communities, the local cuisine scene and its overall ambiance and quality of life.

Whether you come for a day or stay for a lifetime, your senses will be filled by your experiences in the Cowichan - its sights, its sounds and its tastes will be your guide as each day presents a new adventure.

**Courtesy Tourism Cowichan - Please visit their website for more information regarding the Cowichan Valley @

About Cowichan Bay

History of the Cowichan Bay Area

For many thousands of years Cowichan Bay was home to First Nations people who harvested the wealth of salmon and shellfish found in its many coves, tidal flats and swiftly flowing rivers.

Cowichan Bay was the gateway for European settlement of the Cowichan and Chemainus valleys from the early 1860’s. A steamer service from Victoria was the major link for goods and people before the coming of the railway.

Bypassed by the Esquimalt and Nanaimo line and later by the Island Highway, Cowichan Bay nevertheless was a thriving little community, based on sport and commercial salmon fishing, and log and lumber exports.

That former economic base is declining but being replaced with more recreational water activities, a revived interest in boatbuilding, and an appreciation for the history and ecology of the Bay.

From the early 1900’s Cowichan Bay attracted sportsmen from all over the British Empire for superb salmon fishing in the Bay and the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers. It was, for a time, the Salmon Capital of the World offering not just fishing, but fine sailing waters, an annual regatta and, next to Wimbledon, the oldest grass tennis courts in the world!


Getting Here

Getting to Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Bay is about an hour’s drive north of Victoria and an hour south of Nanaimo.

Victoria can be reached by air or by ferry. B.C. Ferries from Tsawassen (just south of Vancouver) to Schwartz Bay (just north of Victoria). Washington State Ferries from Anacortes to Sidney. Black Ball Ferries, from Post Angeles to Victoria’s inner harbour.

Nanaimo can be reached by air (Cassidy Airport), or B.C. Ferries from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay, or from Tsawassen to Duke Point, just south of Nanaimo.

Exits from the Island Highway are well marked whether approaching from the north or south. Once off the highway visitors have about a ten minute drive through countryside and farm land before reaching the village.

Boaters arriving from the United States are required to check in with Canada Customs and Immigration as soon as possible after crossing the International Boundry, generally at Bedwell Harbor, Sidney or Victoria.

Float planes can be chartered into Cowichan Bay from Vancouver or Seattle, but there are no scheduled flights to the Bay.

Public transit is available to Cowichan Bay. Check out BC Transit for bus information to the Cowichan Valley and Cowichan Bay.

About Lake Cowichan

The town of Lake Cowichan is located on one of the largest freshwater lakes on Vancouver Island, while the beautiful Cowichan River flows near the centre of town. The Lake Cowichan area boasts endless recreational opportunities including boating, hiking and camping, to name a few.

Population Approximately 3,000 with an additional 3,500 in the surrounding area


Lake Cowichan is located just north of Victoria and can be reached either from Vancouver, Victoria or Nanaimo. Several smaller communities comprise the Cowichan Lake area, including Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake, Youbou and Caycuse.


School District 79 serves the Lake Cowichan community and offers opportunities for all students, K-12.


The Cowichan area is popular for its many and diverse outdoor recreational opportunities. Cycling, golfing, boating, swimming and hiking are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. Other attractions in the area include museums, wine tours and theatres.


The main economic sectors in Lake Cowichan include tourism, agriculture, forestry and clean technology. The Lake Cowichan and District Credit Union was established in 1950.

Events and Activities

  • Every Saturday from May to October enjoy the Honeymoon Bay Outdoor Market. Explore locally handcrafted sewing and preserves, as well as eggs and vegetables.
  • Cowichan Lake days are held in the second week of June. A great time to visit the area, families can enjoy an array of activities including a Soap Box Derby, the Lady of the Lake Ball, parade, Logger Sports, and many more.
  • Honeymoon Bay Days boast a parade, games, dance and the best "fireworks" display in the Valley.