The city of totems
Duncan Travel Blog› entry 2 of 17 › view all entries
On Sunday February 26th, 2008 I figured I would take a trip to Duncan. I always rush up and down the Island, without really stopping anywhere along the way to look any more. So I figured because it is BC's 150th anniversay I would start being a tourist in my own neck of the woods, starting in Duncan the city of Totems.
There are nearly 80 totem poles in Duncan, both downtown and along a half of a kilometer section of the Trans-Canada Highway. There are 41 totems on a self-guided tour all you have to do is follow the yellow footprints. (you have to find them first though). So I set out on my tour looking for these totem poles. Of course you would think after living on the Island for the last 20 years I would have seen them all.
Duncan is the hub of the Cowichan Valley, which is the traditional home of the Coast Salish Indians. The Cowichan makers of the world famous Cowichan sweaters. By the way these sweaters are very warm if you have not had the chance to see one up close...(smile). The band still makes their home there today. They still make the sweaters to. In the summer you can watch the creation of these sweaters as they are hand knit in one piece, their unique patterns reflecting the knitter's family design.
Duncan is located in the Cowichan Valley, about 60Km north of Victoria. Duncan came to be in 1886 when the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railroad was completed. In 1896 copper was discovered and for six years beginning in 1902 a mine was the main economic contributor. Since closing the mine, forest related industries, agriculture, and tourisim have been the economic forces.
Duncan's cityscape holds a fine example of old tradition infused with contemporary relevance and life. I love the the old building's reminding me of the way the city once was...and then seeing new building's along the way.
The BC Forest Discovery Centre portray's the history of BC's forest industry through indoor and outdoor exhibits. (this will be another trip for me can't do it all in one day).
You can take a tour of the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery. The hatchery stocks about 150 lakes and streams along Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands.
The Cowichan Valley Museum, which is now inside a 1912 train station, features pioneer artificats, and displays many photos. The museum is open daily in July and August.
Also at Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan is the world's largest hockey stick and puck. (only in Canada eh?). Built from wooden beams and reinforced with steel, the stick measures 205 feet and weighs 61,000 pounds (28,118kgs).
There is many wineries in the Cowichan Valley. Go see the Duncan info centre and they can give you a map of the many wineries in the summer.
There are so many things to do in the small town of Duncan ...it is totaly amazing. You can go fishing on the cowichan river, which happens to be one of the most consistant fishing rivers on the island. Part of the Cowichan River Footpath. (Which I have hiked and fished many times). Fishing the river is legendary, with brown trout, rainbow, steelhead trout, as well a vigorous salmon runs. Chinook, coho, and steelhead that enter the Cowichan River to spawn in November and December. Then there is the steelhad run in March. There are parks for hiking or just walking, sea kayaking, golf, camping and Farmers Market. A busy place in the summer. There a funky shops, and restaurants....you just have to go with your eyes wide open and take a look around.