Life is different in the Cowichan Valley. Nurtured by the highest
average seasonal temperatures in all of Canada, the region's name is
derived from the Coast Salish word "Khowtzun" meaning
"The Warm Land". The mild weather, beautiful surroundings and
relaxed lifestyle make this area particularly appealing to retirees,
artists, families and those trying to escape the trappings of the larger
Home to only 74,000 people, the fast growing region stretches from
the Malahat in the south to Ladysmith in the north encompassing the
communities of Mill Bay, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill, Cowichan Bay,
Maple Bay, Lake Cowichan, Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, Crofton, Chemainus,
Saltair and of course Ladysmith. The region is actually larger than a
good number of countries.
Ideally situated between Victoria and Nanaimo, the valley is itself a
bedroom community to those larger cities and also offers easy access via
ferries and air to Vancouver and Seattle. Victoria and Vancouver also
offer International Airports. The Island Highway, which has seen
dramatic improvements over the past few years, connects all the
communities of the island to the Cowichan Valley and also offers some of
the nicest scenic driving anywhere.
Breathtaking scenery, mild climate year round and the natural
geography of the valley make this area a spectacular place for
the outdoor enthusiast. Protected by the Gulf Islands, the
water's of this area are a boater's dream come true. Ocean
kayaking, sailing, power boating, fishing, scuba and windsurfing
are all at your doorstep. Excellent moorage is readily available
and cruise ships now frequent the area. Local ocean waters
provide fisherman the opportunity to catch Salmon, Cod and a
wide variety of fish species.
The Cowichan River, one of the first in Canada
to be deemed a Heritage River, offers superb Steelhead and
Trout fishing and has an international reputation for angling.
The Cowichan Footpath, a 12 mile trail along the Cowichan
River, gives access to some great scenery.
There are other notable rivers that wind
through the region like the Chemainus and Koksilah rivers.
Beautiful Lakes dot the area and both Shawnigan Lake and
Cowichan Lake are frequented by campers and sun seekers alike
and both offer access to the west coast.
The west coast is renowned for it's rugged beauty, pristine
beaches and temperate rain forests. With great year round
weather the area is fantastic for golfers too. Arbutus Ridge, a
popular retirement community is nestled amongst 18 holes of
challenging golf. Duncan Lakes, Cowichan, Mt. Brenton and March
Meadows golf courses also offer superb golf.
Duncan, known as the "City of Totems", is central
in the Cowichan Valley and offers much of the area's amenities.
Such amenities include shopping, Community Center, Theatre,
Pool, Library, Schools, Curling Rink, Museums, Community
College, fine dining, pubs and hotels and more.The Cowichan
Valley Community Center boasts the world's largest hockey stick
and puck ( 205 feet long and weighing 31 tons) and is also home
to the BCHA "Cowichan Capitals"(great hockey!).
For families there are several highly rated (provincially)
schools and numerous private schools most popular of which are
Brentwood College School, Shawnigan Lake Preparatory School,
Queen Margaret School and Maxwell International Baha'i School.
With excellent recreational and educational opportunities the
Cowichan Valley is an ideal environment in which to raise
Forestry and farming are the principal industries in the
region. Several forestry companies along with their lumber mills
and pulp and paper mills have provided employment for much of
the local population. Forestry has been somewhat on the decline
and tourism is gaining momentum as a local industry. Cut backs
in forestry as well global and local economic factors have
created good real estate opportunities for buyers in the
The local real estate market peaked in around the end of 2007. After a period of downward pressure on prices, the market within the Cowichan Region appears to have stabilized as of mid 2009. That combined with low
interest rates has created excellent buying opportunities throughout the Cowichan Valley region. A
baby boomer wave of retirees is expected on the horizon and real
estate forecasters have been quoted as saying that southern
Vancouver Island is one of the best places for real estate
investment in all of Canada.
Whether you are looking for a retirement home, a hobby farm,
a quiet place to raise the kids, a luxury waterfront home or
just a recreational get-a-way, the Cowichan Valley has it all.
Visit the Cowichan Valley and you just might
end up staying… just like the Johannsen family!