Cowichan Valley, Duncan BC is the Home to the Cowichan Tribe of the Coast Salish Nation. There are approximately 80 totem poles located downtown and along the Trans Canada Highway. The totem pole project was started in 1985 and many of the totems on display were removed from original sites and private collections.
For a self-guided tour of 41 totem poles follow the yellow footprints, which start at the Cowichan Valley Museum .
I thought you might be interested to see how the 'other half' lives. Not me, I assure you! The home featured in this photo is a magnificent old mansion in Oak Bay, next door to Victoria. The owners decorated this guest bedroom in a style to complement the wonder of this great home.
If you want to see something equally magnificent, and even more historic, then do be sure to visit Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria. It was featured in the dance scenes of Winona Ryder's 'Little Women" movie.
In Oak Bay, next door to Victoria, is the Oak Bay Marina. The dock area is often frequented by at least 3 frisky, curious (and always hungry) seals. More interesting than an aquarium, because they're free, these seals are a great treat to see.
Youbou, the town on Cowichan Lake. In 1985 when I was 5 years old, we went on our first family vacation and stayed in a cabin in Youbou. Youbou is located on the north shore of the lake. Cowichan Lake is north-west of Victoria, just west of the city of Duncan. See my Youbou page for the entire travelogue of that 1985 trip!
Just north of Victoria by the Swartz Bay ferry terminal is the town of Sidney, also called "Sidney by the Sea". If you decide to visit Sidney, be sure to check out the Haunted Bookshop. Don't let the name fool you! It's a small, enchanting used bookstore run by very friendly staff. It feels like the bookstore has been around for decades upon decades (and it has! Since 1947). And as their card says, it's 'Vancouver Island's Oldest Antiquarian Bookshop'
Visit the little town near Victoria. There have their own traditions and places.
You can go to Nanaimo or Chemainus, BC
In Chemaius there are a lot of painted walls. Each wall represent one part of the history or tradition of the little town. Is easy to find all the walls because you only have to follow some yellow footprints at the floor. Is funny do that!!
View of Cowichan Lake at sunset. Great place for camping, fishing and hiking! The lakeshore is dotted with little communities and campgrounds. The best (for me) is the Forestry campsite at the far western end of the lake. Fishing is always better from a boat but you can be very successful from the shore as well.
NUDE SUNBATHING - a popular public pastime on the West Coast can be had around Victoria at Witty's Lagoon Beach in Metchosin (off to the right), the very public dock at Prior Lake (pond) in Thetis Lake Park, and at Island View Beach (off to the far left). Adventurous types occasionally spotted at more public locations (like beach and coves below Dallas Road, and in the tall grass of Beacon Hill Park). Drive an hour west to Mystic Beach for a more authentic West Coast experience...http://members.shaw.ca/co-bc/co-islands.html...http://www.fcn.ca/pa bchs.html...http://web.uvic.ca/~uguide/rec/water_swim.htm
A trip to the southwestern coast of Vancouver Island is a must do. Take the highway west to Sooke and then continue on to Port Renfrew. At the end of the route is a place called botanical beach, which has some amazing tide pools, rock formations and rainforests. Be advised to get gas in Sooke however as we couldn't find a service station in Port Renfrew and almost ended up walking back.
Go visit Salt Spring Island. Visit my page about Salt Spring Island here. I highly recommend camping in Rukus Provincial Park and going to their Saturday Market. Great craft selections.
Mitchell Bros. Farm
3047 Island View Road, Saanichton.
This is where to go to get all the healthy things--fresh-picked fruits and fresh-plucked vegies galore, right from the farm. It is open year-around, but the summer is the best. In August the raspberries, blueberries and bing cherries are at their peak, as is the fabulous sweet corn.
Take Hwy. 17 toward Sidney and turn right on Island View Road. It is only about 15 minutes from town.
Oldfield Orchard & Bakery
This is a great place to get fresh berries and vegetables, with an added bonus--freshly baked breads of all varieties, and cinnamon buns. This is a photo of the owner, Derek Scott, and his assistant from Slovakia, Petra Cabanova. I caught them on the way out of the bakery with a tray of cinnamon rolls. Oldfield Road kind of parallels Hwy. 17 (the hwy. you take to get to Butchart Gardens). The tourist office can give you a map and listing of farms along Oldfield Road. The Scotts are at 6286 Oldfield Rd., Phone: (250) 652-1579, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh, I almost forgot, they have a petting farm of barnyard animals for the city children to enjoy.
Chemainus. This town is known for the murals that are painted on the sides of the buildings that depict the history of the valley.They are really quite impressive. Lots of antique and collectible dealers in this town for some wonderful souvenirs.
SOOKE. Sooke is a community just west of Victoria on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Perfect for a DAY TRIP from Victoria if you want to do some HIKING. Easily accessible from Victoria by PUBLIC TRANSIT. One cool spot is the SOOKE POTHOLES -- a great site for an easy hike in the forest and a dip in a chrytal clear (but cold) river. Short hike (20 minutes from road to potholes) but great spot to sit and smoke a spliff or eat a sandwich. Unfornately, I can't remember exactly how to get there, but you can probably find your way to Sooke and ask the locals. Another great Sooke-related and very ACCESSIBLE HIKE is the GALLOPING GOOSE trail that runs from Victoria to past Sooke -- see VanIsle's Victoria page for more details. Sooke also offers WHALE WATCHING, FISHING, and other outdoors activities. See www.sookenet.com
The place I currently live in is Metchosin, 25 minutes from Victoria North along the west coast of the island. Known for some of the best Lamb in North America (hotly contested by Saltspring island as well) These sheep escape the sun under this neat Nurse log that has started growing a new tree!