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