With its promise of outdoor adventure, a vibrant wine and culinary scene, and abundant natural beauty, Cowichan is a must-see destination on Vancouver Island. But why visit when you could live here year-round? Located in Canada’s only maritime Mediterranean climatic zone, Cowichan is home to the warmest average temperatures in the country. That means you can play a game of golf, visit the local farmers’ market, work in your garden, or bike a neighbourhood trail at any time of year.
The warm weather makes Cowichan an ideal region for producing a wide-range of farm-fresh products including fruits and vegetables, honey, nuts, eggs, berries, meat, hemp, and wine. With all these local ingredients at their fingertips, chefs in the Cowichan Valley are bringing the farm right to your table. Genoa Bay Café proudly serves South Island products from Portofino Bakery, Birds Eye Cove Farm, Fat Chill Farm, and A&S Microgreens. Enjoy their West Coast Seafood Chowder or Falafel Tower while overlooking the marina. The Masthead in historic Cowichan Bay features seaside dining and a seasonal menu. This could be your local weekend destination with brunch served until 2pm.
Or spend the day on a wine tour! Sometimes referred to as the “Napa of the North”, Cowichan boasts over a dozen wineries including Averill Creek Vineyard, Blue Grouse Estate Winery, and Unsworth Vineyards. It’s also home to a number of award-winning distilleries namely Ampersand Distilling Co, Merridale Cidery and Distillery (B.C.’s first craft distillery!), and Stillhead Distilling Inc. Rainy day? Meander over to the only commercial organic tea grower in Canada and take a tour at Westholme Tea Company.
From fresh water to saltwater – you won’t be disappointed in the region’s fishing. Whether you’re a fly fisherman, prefer saltwater or a nearby lake, Cowichan is well-stocked with rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, steelhead, Chinook, coho, rock cod, lingcod, prawns, and crab. Many of these spots are also great for swimming, tubing, watersports, or enjoying a family day at the beach.
If hiking or biking is more your speed, Cowichan offers 170 trails covering 180 km spanning five mountains. Spend your weekend taking on Mount Tzouhalem, Mount Prevost, or Maple Mountain. The Cowichan Valley Trail is a multi-use trail on the Trans Canada Trail route. The Cowichan Valley section runs from the Capital Regional District boundary at the top of the Malahat, north to Shawnigan Lake and the Kinsol Trestle, west to the Town of Lake Cowichan then north to the Nanaimo Regional District. This could be your weekend, every weekend.