The Community
of
Cowichan Bay
Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.


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Population: 2400
Location: Latitude:
49°08'00" Longitude: 123°55'00"
Native Bands: Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group > Cowichan, Chemainus, Koksilah, Penelakut, Lyackson, Halalt and Lake Cowichan Name Place and History:
• Native Names:
Cowichan is the name given in the early days for the colony on Vancouver Island and is the name for a large tribe of indians who resided in the area for hundreds of years.
The small bands that make up the Cowichan Tribes are also known in the present day as the Saanich, Somenos, Quamichan, Koksilah, Chemainus, Lamalachi and Peneakut.
• Cowichan Bay is 27 miles (43.5 km) north from Victoria on the Trans Canada Island Highway #1.
•Place:
Cowichan Bay is on the "Old Island Highway" where many years ago was bypassed by a much shorter and straiter route, Highway 1, The Trans Canada Highway, which starts at Victoria mile 0.
History:
•First Settlers:
Probably the first white men to set foot in the Cowichan Bay area were the surveyors sent from the government in Fort Victoria, and the representatives of the Hudson's Bay Co. The first settlers, a hundred of them, were to arrive on a steamer at Cowichan Bay in 1862. At that time there were already people living there.
It was at Cowichan Bay that the British warship HMS Hecate, a steamer, dropped anchored on August 18, 1862 with one hundred settlers on to the shores of the Cowichan Bay. The Hecate towed a sloop behind with all their belongings. They were all men and of British origin having pledged allegiance to Queen Victoria and had been allotted 100 or more acres of land, on a priority basis. The cost was about a dollar an acre with three years to pay. Being in residence would entitle you to possession of the land.
John Nelson from Sweden was one of the first to meet the steamer when it arrived with his fresh produce from his farm. Mrs Nelson later bought a house in Cowichan Bay in 1910.
Provisions were later brought in to Cowichan Bay on board such boats as the Maud or the Cariboo Fly. When S.S. Fideliter arrived in March 1863, (175 days out of England around the Horn), it provided regular service on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, calling at Cowichan Bay. The wharf, kept in repair by William Shearing, became the meeting place for settlers. By 1869 the little steamboat, Sir James Douglas, was making weekly trips between Victoria, Cowichan Bay, and Nanaimo.
(from ... Hidden Vale-St. Andrew's and the old South Cowichan)
•Some of the oldest families from Cowichan Bay area were the Corefields, Dodds, McLays, Croziers, and Boles.
•Cowichan Indian Sweaters:
•The world renowned Cowichan Indian Sweater has its roots in Cowichan Bay. In the 1860s settlers brought sheep to the area. The Sisters of St. Anne taught the native women to wash, card and spin the wool in preparation for knitting.
•Mrs. Jeremina Colvin instructed then in the art of making Fair Isle patterns learned in her native Shetlands. This influence can still be seen today. Through the years, the Cowichan Sweater gained favor with all who wore them. In the early 1930s the knitting of the sweaters developed into a cottage industry.
These sweaters were sold by Mu. H. Corfield at the Canoe Store, Cowichan Bay. The attractive, warm, water proof sweaters brought fame throughout the continent. Movie stars and Royalty received them as gifts. Many native women became famous for their outstanding craftsmanship. Today the industry has grown beyond all expectations. The native people have their own woolen mill, and the Cowichan Indian Sweater is sold throughout the world.
- Article by Lois Evans (Harrison)-
• The Buena Vista Hotel was in operation by 1910.
• Cowichan Bay yacht club was formed in 1913.
• Giovanni Baptiste Ordano acquired Sam Harris store and property in Cowichan Bay in 1877. He built the Columbia Hotel where the Masthead restaurant is today. The Marshalls came.
•The Dominion Day regatta at Cowichan Bay;, with sailboat, rowing, canoe and motor boat races, pus a number of Indian events, was already an annual affair of many years standing.
Attractions
• Cowichan Bay has some of the finest sport fishing around the area.
• Kinsol Trestle http://www.kinsoltrestle.ca/
• Mount Tzouhalem:
Heading north from Cowichan Bay the road winds along the seaside and slowly rises up to the foothill of Tzouhalem. This is where the famous Butter Church or Stone Church can be seen. It is nicknamed the Butter Church because of its builder, Father Perer Rondeault, made butter and traded for labour and materials. The church was finally abandoned ten years later when it became to small for the congregation. So a new church was resurected above on a hill and was named St. Anns. This church in later years was heavily damaged by fire and rebuilt. Today this church still stands at the foot of Mount Tzouhalem, with regurlar Sunday service.
• In 1976, as part of their Easter celebration, they erected on top of the mountain a large white cross weighing over two hundred lbs. The group carried the cross up the trail that rises 1640 feet from the church.
Parks
• Bright Angel Park
• Hecat Park



Communities near Cowichan Bay:
Duncan, BC
Cowichan Bay, BC
Cowichan Station, BC
Chemainus, BC
Crofton, BC
•Thetis Island, BC
Cobble Hill, BC
Mill Bay, BC
Cedar, BC

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