Cowichan Bay is located in the heart of the Cowichan Valley, known for the warmest year-round temperatures in Canada. The town of Cowichan Bay is home to amazing recreation opportunities, including hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, and whale watching. As well as a wide variety of local food and drink produced by local farms, bakeries, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and restaurants.
For many thousands of years First Nations people harvested the wealth of salmon and shellfish found in the many coves, tidal flats and swiftly flowing rivers of the area. In the early 1860s Cowichan Bay was a thriving hub for the steamer service that connected the island before the railway was built, and later, the Island Highway.
The economic base of Cowichan Bay eventually shifted to a recreational hub of water activities, a revived interest in boatbuilding, and an appreciation for the history and ecology of the Bay. In the 1900s the Cowichan Bay was known as the salmon capital of the world, offering not just fishing but sailing, an annual regatta and, next to Wimbledon, the oldest grass tennis courts in the world!
The Cowichan Estuary Nature Centre is an interactive nature centre overlooking the Cowichan Estuary, a 400 hectare estuarine ecosystem and internationally designated Important Bird Area (IBA) in the unceded territory of the Quw’utsun people. The Nature Centre offers opportunities for all ages to learn about the estuary, its watershed, marine life, and natural and cultural history.
Visitors can see and touch marine and intertidal creatures in the aquarium and touch tank; use the microscopes, telescopes and interactive displays, and enjoy wildlife and bird watching along the oceanfront interpretive trail and from the viewing tower.
The Cowichan Maritime Centre – an active, community-based maritime museum and the home of the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society. The first three pier exhibits are open at each end which allows the public to walk through and view the displays. The end gallery is a two level enclosed unit which contains many of the more environmentally sensitive artifacts such as model boats, pictures and a marine library.