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Cowichan

Only 45 mins north of Victoria is a region that is gaining a reputation in the international community for wine and cuisine. The Cowichan Valley has the warmest average temperature of any region in Canada and is now the second highest wine producing region in British Columbia. You can sample local wineries best wines and sample cuisine prepared from the local farms and ocean. Cheesemakers, cidermakers, bakers and chefs will keep your tastebuds happy.

Cowichan Bay was North America’s first community to be named as a Cittaslow community in 2009. Cittaslow is an offshoot of Slow Food which promotes sustainable regional foods and tries to encourage farming on a local ecosystem. When you arrive here you will notice the relaxed pace of the community and it may just remind you of Europe if you have been there.

Top Things to do:

Wine tours

29 wineries in this small region will keep you busy learning about the areas best wines. There are a few wineries all within close proximity by either bike or car. The wines offered include some old world grapes of Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio,Ortega and Gewürztraminer and some great local blackberry desert wines.

Cuisine

Some great local chefs and bakers will give you a menu of foods made from locally grown meats and vegetables. You can find cooking classes and food tours that show you about how the foods are grown and produced.

Duncan Farmers Market

Here you can buy many of the foods and local products including baked good and handcrafted preserves from the Cowichan Valley producers all year round rain or shine. It has been voted as one of the best in Canada and is open every Saturday morning from 9 am to 2 pm.

Chemainus Murals

There are now 41 murals and 13 sculptures that decorate the small town of Chemainus.About 400,000 visitors pass through every year to view these works of art.

Visit a Water Buffalo Farm

Water Buffalo meat is lean and the milk and cheese has a lower fat content then cows milk and cheese. Fairburn Farm started in the 1880’s and is still running today with about 130 acres. Tours run during summer months.

Wakeboarding/Waterskiing

Shawnigan Lake is a great place to find protected water that’s large enough for fast boats. You can either bring your own boat or hire one for a little summer fun.