Chemainus Murals, Province of BC
The small seaside community of Chemainus, located in the Cowichan Valley, has become well known for its over 40 professional murals, carvings and statues that depict the history of the area. These murals attract thousands of visitors every year. Gift shops and art galleries also abound, offering some of the Island’s best pottery and native and local artworks. You can also be entertained at the Chemainus Theatre, an award-winning neo-classical building that houses the 274-seat theatre and Playbill Dining Room, where professional stage productions, musicals, concerts and pre-show dining are offered year-round. For outdoor activities visit Fuller Lake, a pristine lake, free of pollutants, and stocked with trout. It is a great place for swimming, paddling, fishing, picnicking, hiking, or just relaxing on the beach. Golfing, walking trails and water sports are all nearby and if you are a diver there is a unique Boeing 737 Dive Site located in Stuart Channel between Chemainus and Thetis Island.
Chemainus is located 15 km (10 mi) south of Ladysmith, 20 km (12 mi) north of Duncan. It is 32 km (20 mi) south of Nanaimo and 80 km (50 mi) north of Victoria via Trans-Canada Highway 1 and Hwy 1A on Vancouver Island.
The early history of the Chemainus area is inextricably tied to its forests and the First Nations people that lived here for centuries. Chemainus, or more specifically the bay around which the town grew, was home to natural features which made it attractive to the forest industry. The sawmill, which opened in 1862, was operated by a powerful stream with a potent waterfall.
The late 1880s heralded the arrival of the railroad and the town slowly grew for the next thirty years. In the early 1920s the population was estimated at 600 with the inhabitants being of Chinese, Japanese and Salish Indian origin.