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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > The Islands  > Duncan

Duncan
Duncan is located on southern Vancouver Island approximately 52 km (32 miles) north of Victoria and 52 km (32 miles) south of Nanaimo on the Trans-Canada Hwy 1.

Cowichan Valley
Duncan lies in the middle of a large valley called the Cowichan Valley with the Cowichan River located on the south side of town.

"City of Totems"
Duncan is called the "City of Totems" because of a collection of more than 80 totems that stand proudly along its streets and parks. You can take a free, guided walking tour to view these wonderful displays of local First Nation artwork. Start the tour package at the Train Station Museum at 130 Canada Ave., from May to September.

Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre
You can find other local First Nation art and tradition at the Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre. Located near the Superstore, where you can find lots of parking, the centre features the traditional artwork of local knitters, carvers and jewelry makers belonging to the Quw'utsun' people.

"Boutique Capital of Vancouver Island"
Duncan has a wide array of small clothing stores, curio shops, funky cafés and restaurants, all catering to different tastes. The downtown is made up of a large number of heritage and vintage buildings proudly displaying their past. Duncan is often referred to as the "Boutique Capital of Vancouver Island."

Leisurely Pace
If you enjoy walking, the town is quite flat, safe and easy to get around. Vehicle traffic in the downtown core rolls along at a leisurely pace. Parking is relatively easy to find with the time limits still set at a longer duration than some other cities.

City Square
Duncan started a revitalization plan to help improve the city's cultural awareness with the completion of the new City Square. Every year annual events are held at the City Square to bring celebration and togetherness to Duncan. Some events include the Duncan Summer Festival, Halloween Spooktacular and Market in the Square.

Market in the Square
Taking place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the months of March to October is 'Market in the Square.' This is definitely well worth the trip if you're visiting the area. The market blends a various mix of vendors, artisans, entertainers as well as alternative and complementary health practitioners all in City Square.

Cowichan Region
The City of Duncan is actually quite small when compared to the surrounding area called the Cowichan Region. The Cowichan Region is made up of the Municipality of North Cowichan (Chemainus, Crofton and Maple Bay), Lake Cowichan, Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake and Cowichan Bay plus numerous native bands belonging to the Cowichan First Nations.

Incredible Recreational Activities
With this in mind, Duncan is so close to some absolutely incredible recreational activities that include Cowichan Lake, Cowichan River and the ocean at either Port Renfrew or Maple Bay, all within a short grasp.

Beautiful Parks
There are a number of things you can do outside Duncan. You have the choice of golf, fishing, river swimming, cycling, kiteboarding, motorcycling and sailing. The provincial parks and regional parks included in the Cowichan Valley Regional District are all incredibly beautiful

Cowichan River
A few favourite activities that locals do are tubing along the Cowichan River at the Provincial Park; cycling the Trans-Canada Trail; walking the Cowichan River Trail; waterskiing at Gordons Bay Provincial Park; hang gliding off 787 metre (2,582 feet) high Mount Prevost; golfing at Duncan Meadows Golf Course and hiking up or biking along Mount Tzouhalem.

"The Land Warmed by the Sun"
The local indigenous word, 'Cowichan' refers to "The land warmed by the sun." You will be able to see evidence of this from the number of beautiful gardens in this area. Duncan falls into a zone 8A Canadian climatic category and can support a large number of varied plant species throughout the year.

Wineries and Vineyards
If you enjoy wine and grape vineyards, the Cowichan Region has some of British Columbia's finest vintages. Throughout the area you can visit the various wineries for free tours and sample testing. A great cause for charity that includes the wineries is the annual Grape Escape MS Bike Tour which takes place in September.

Maple Bay
Home to some excellent cruising for boaters, Maple Bay is located just east of Duncan around 25 minutes. Here you can find a number of marinas featuring waterfront pubs and restaurants. Genoa Bay, another little seaside community, is just south of Maple Bay and also features a marina and a café.

Port Renfrew
For boaters who want to experience excellent ocean fishing near Duncan, try Port Renfrew. Located beyond Lake Cowichan via a forest service road at Mesachie Lake, Port Renfrew offers some of BC's best salmon fishing but is within hours of driving time Duncan.

Trans-Canada Hwy 1
Located on the Trans-Canada Hwy 1, going through Duncan, are most of the banks, hotels, gas stations and grocery stores that include a Canadian Superstore, Safeway, Save On Foods and a Wal-Mart.

Restaurants
If you require some fast food a good selection can be found on both sides of the Trans-Canada Hwy #1 including a Tim Hortons, Starbucks, the Dog House Restaurant and a local favourite, Java World. Unfortunately there was a fire in 2015 that destroyed the White Spot.

Information on Duncan

Accommodation

 

 

Map of Duncan
click map for larger image

 

Station Museum
Station Museum

 

"City of Totems"
"City of Totems"

 

City Hall
City Hall

 

Mount Prevost
Mount Prevost

 

Lake Cowichan
Lake Cowichan

 

Golfing Courses
Golfing Courses

 

Cycling the Trans-Canada Trail
Cycling the Trans-Canada Trail

 

Cowichan River
Cowichan River

 

Maple Bay from Saltspring Islandland
Maple Bay from Saltspring Island

 

Cowichan River
Cowichan River

 

Java World
Java World

 
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