Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island

Cowichan Bay Marina, Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Cowichan Bay Marina, Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Favourite Locations – Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Cowichan Bay is a quaint small seaside town located in the Cowichan Valley about 45 minutes north of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Of all the small towns in the Cowichan Valley, Cowichan Bay is by far the funkiest and has some of the best photo opportunities.

Most of the town is built right on the water in fact, many of the small cottages are built on piles with the ocean rising and falling underneath them. Cowichan Bay was a working town during its heyday which explains this building on the water. Industries included sport and commercial fishing and logging. Cowichan Bays maritime history is still alive and well with a large commercial fishing fleet and an active shipyard.

Bicycle at the Cowichan Bay Bakery, Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Bicycle at the Cowichan Bay Bakery, Cowichan Bay

Modern Cowichan Bay is a blend of the old working town with new shops and businesses catering to both the locals and tourists. As with much of the Cowichan Valley, food and wine seems to be the main emphasis. Now you know why so many of us live in this area! If you do visit, grab a fresh loaf of bread at the bakery, a wedge of cheese from Hilary’s Cheese and some of the world’s best Ice Cream at The Udder Guy’s Ice Cream. A perfect lunch on the dock. For restaurants there are many to choose from ranging from the local favourite, The Rock Cod Cafe to the Masthead Restaurant specializing in local farm and vineyard products.

But enough of this, we aren’t here to just eat and watch the world go by! What is there to photograph? On the big scale there are many very picturesque marinas with Mt Tzouhalem looming in the background. My favourite of these is the Cowichan Bay Fishermen’s Wharf, the main commercial marina in the area. There are some very photogenic trawlers located here, look for detail shots as well. The main street in town has a funky feel that you don’t see very often any more. While the main street is photogenic I find that it can be difficult to photograph as there is so much going on and usually cars are parked everywhere you look.

The Cowichan Wooden Boat Society and Maritime Society has excellent displays of classic boats, old motors and tug and fishing boat models. Herb Rice, a native carver can often be seen carving totem poles and beautiful doors at this location. The views from the peir are great offering a look into the lifestyle of living in a float home. At the north end of town is Hecate Park, an area where people launch their boats and kayaks. This location gives the best overall view of Cowichan Bay and excellent views of the funky cottages that hang out over the water.

Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia



My favourite photography subjects in town are not the big vistas however but the many numerous details on the houses, old docks and marinas. Everywhere you look you will find interesting gates, fun signs and abstract images of reflections in the water. Cowichan Bay is a town you go back to again and again and there’s always something new to photograph!

More images are located on my Cowichan Valley Photography web site at Cowichan Bay Photos.

A freighter at the Western Forest Products terminal, Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

A freighter at the Western Forest Products terminal, Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada.

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4 Responses to “Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island”

  1. LisaNewton says:

    I love the shot of the marina. The color is just perfect, and what a cute bike. It almost looks like flowers are growing out of the basket.

    I hope to visit there sometime……………..:)

  2. Lisa's Chaos says:

    These are lovely photos and it sounds like a wonderful place to visit! I don’t know why but I have always loved bikes with flowers draping out of a basket. :)

  3. kevin says:

    Hello Lisa and Lisa,

    That is a good looking bicycle isn’t it? When I photographed it I was thinking that it looked so European, a little like the small markets with fun decorations that are everywhere. Maybe that’s one of the charms of Cowichan Bay.

    The marina, one of those picture perfect evenings. Hopefully this summer will bring more.

    Hope you have a chance to visit some day!

  4. bettyl says:

    Thanks for the tour of this quaint town! I can see why you like it so much!

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