Do you ever read about a place that piques your interest and you hope to see it in person one day?
I used to read a little magazine called “Reader’s Digest” from cover to cover as a young girl. After I moved away from home my Father bought me a subscription to this magazine. “Reader’s Digest” was my pop culture, my humour, my miscellaneous trivia, and it contained an abundance of interesting, informative articles.
One of the articles in this magazine in the 1980’s was about a town that had recreated itself on Vancouver Island. At that time we were living in Northern British Columbia.
I always remembered this story and I was hoping to one day visit
Chemainus, “The Little Town That Did.”
Chemainus is in the District of North Cowichan, on the east coast of Vancouver Island.
Lumber used to be the primary industry in this town. The lumber mill operated off and on for 120 years until the mill closed down in the early 1980’s.
As part of a revitalization project, local and international artists were commissioned to create
Giant Murals on the downtown business walls showcasing the history and the culture of Chemainus.
And like “The Little Engine That Could” written by Watty Piper, Chemainus became known as “The Little Town That Did.”
28 Years Ago
When we moved to “The Island” in 1991 we began exploring many areas near our home. 10 Reasons Why You Should Not Live On The Island We camped in Strathcona Provincial Park and at Long Beach our first summer.
We also drove to the picturesque town of Chemainus. Many times.
We often had visitors and Chemainus did not disappoint. It was the perfect place to explore on foot with family and friends of all ages.
Now, 28 years later
It occurred to me how I haven’t spent much time exploring Chemainus for many years.
I go to Chemainus at least twice a year to see the live theatre shows with family and friends. The performances are always excellent! In the month of August we saw “The Magician’s Nephew” and “Mamma Mia.”
We drive directly to the theatre to watch the productions and then we drive home.
This year, we decided to spend the day in Chemainus.
We decided to become a tourist again.
Chemainus has interesting galleries, boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants, ice cream parlours and
Forty-plus World Famous Giant Murals.
10 Takeaways When Planning a Visit to Chemainus
1. Leave early.
2. Bring a camera and good walking shoes.
3. Stop at scenic lookouts on the drive through the mountain pass called the Malahat.
4. Plan on visiting a show at the unique, intimate Chemainus Theatre. Book early! The shows are usually sold out well in advance.
5. Walk into a delightful candy store. It is a fun, colourful and sweet place to visit. You will learn how many of the decorations and trim were hand painted.
6. Make sure to leave room for an ice cream cone. The girls had strawberry cheesecake and cotton candy flavours. I had a double which included three flavours. Mine was blackberry, peanut butter chocolate and green tea (don’t judge me…….I love ice cream!)
7. Enjoy the visit with children and adults young at heart.
8. Visit Chemainus with a dear friend. The extra hours together, priceless!
9. Plan to spend time strolling along the streets looking at the murals and learning about the history of Chemainus. Pictures do not do the murals justice. Enjoy the extensive artwork and read the stories describing the murals.
Chemainus is now a world famous tourist destination showcasing forty-plus giant murals with new murals being added. “An Outdoor Art Gallery.”
10. Drumroll please:
Become a tourist again. I am glad I did!
I had fun playing with painnt app (free) on a few photos. A fun suggestion from Terri Webster Schrandt who is an amazing photographer with a very interesting blog site Second Wind Leisure Perspectives