Thinking of making a move to Vancouver Island? In this post we explore the Cowichan Valley, a beautiful area rich with culture, adventure and wide open spaces. Roughly 3500 square kms, the Cowichan Valley is home to expansive orchards, award-winning vineyards, lush forests, many miles of pristine coastline and so much culture it will make your head spin.
The name Cowichan originates from the name “Quw’utsun” given to the valley by the Quw’utsun people. Further to this, this name is sourced from the Hul’q’umi’num word “shquw’utsun” meaning “to warm one’s back in the sun.” Hence the shortened version - Warm Land (yes that is where this blog's name comes from too!)
Located in Canada’s only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone, the Cowichan Valley is home to the warmest year–round temperatures in Canada. Let that sink in! If you are a boater, it is heaven on earth. The Valley produces amazing artisanal food and drink from local wineries, cideries, farms and distilleries. The outdoor fun list never ends! From concerts and festivals to outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, fishing, water skiing, and swimming, there is always something to do and it's all here waiting for you.
One of my favourite places here is the Cowichan River. Whether you are spending a lazy day tubing down the river, or soaking in the sun on the warm rocks at one of the many swimming holes, this River is a magical place. Here's a link to my sweet spot on the river: https://www.cvrd.ca/123/Sandy-Pool-Regional-Park. Listen - I know you will love it so if you are planning to go, shoot me a text and I will meet you there!
Do you adore live entertainment? The modern and spacious Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is home to live theatre, music, dance and more. Are you a swimmer or a gym rat? The Cowichan Aquatic Centre is an impressive recreation facility featuring a fully accessible aquatic venue. There are fitness classes, a gym overlooking the pools, and event facilities. And the pools? A 25-metre competitive pool, a 25-metre wide wave pool, diving boards, a lazy river (the littles love this), twin waterslides for the daredevils, and a sauna and steam rooms. This is truly a gorgeous facility.
Communities vary here. There is sleepy Cowichan Bay, a historic seaside village complete with a Maritime Museum, marinas, the Art Gallery of Art Vickers, the best bakery on the Island (well it is!), the best Pub ever, and lots of great places to go for lunch or dinner. Or Shawnigan Lake, home to prestigious schools, eclectic shopping and stunning outdoor destinations such as the Kinsol Trestle and of course, the lake itself which is perfect for water sports of all sorts. There's Cobble Hill, Mill Bay, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Maple Bay, Genoa Bay, Lake Cowichan, Honeymoon Bay and Youbou. Oh HEY - let's talk about Youbou for a moment! This little town enjoyed one of the highest rate of increase for property assessments in all of BC. Yes, Youbou. The home owners of Youbou have a lot to smile about.
Now let's talk about the good stuff...the wine of course! Here's a sip of what's out there, (pun intended):
- Zanatta Winery (my personal favourite)
- Averill Creek Vineyard
- Enrico Winery
- Alderlea Winery
- Blue Grouse Estate Winery & Vineyard
- Unsworth Winery
- ........too many to list but you get the picture!
There's one more thing I need to mention. I am a boater as some of you may know. My family enjoys sailing and kayaking, and this area is fantastic for sailors and boaters of all types. Close to Salt Spring and other Gulf Islands, we can leave from the Cowichan Bay Marina, and in no time be at popular destinations such as Montague Harbour on Galiano Island or Sidney Spit, or find hidden beaches to picnic on that are away from the crowds.
If I haven't managed to convince you that the Cowichan Valley is the bomb, then you should call me and I will be happy to overwhelm you with links to all of the places and things! If you are looking for a lovely spot to stay while in Cowichan, I have a guest suite that is available by reservation at www.lovecowbay.com.
Enough said! When you love something it's hard not to go on and on about it, right? As always, thanks for reading my blog and being a supportive force. I appreciate you! Share my blog with others and help me to grow my community, if that feels like something you wish to do.
From my home to yours,