Lake Cowichan

Lake Cowichan

Town of Lake Cowichan

The Town of Lake Cowichan is located 31 kilometres west of Duncan on Vancouver Island. This rustic Vancouver Island community is situated on Cowichan Lake with the Cowichan River flowing through the center of town. The Town of Lake Cowichan is located on the shores of Lake Cowichan, one of the largest bodies of fresh water on Vancouver Island and is the passageway to astounding miles of boating and other activities, such as hiking, camping and fishing. Other Vancouver Island communities encompassing the Cowichan Lake area are Honeymoon Bay, Mesachie Lake, Caycuse and Youbou. These neighbouring Vancouver Island communities are accessible by road from Lake Cowichan.


The native population migrated to Cowichan Lake on a seasonal basis to secure food and to trap. They came from the Nitinat and Cowichan coastal areas, by foot or canoe. Cowichan Lake is known by its native inhabitants as "Kaatza" or "Big Lake", as it is over 30 kilometres long.

The lake Cowichan First Nation being a distinct group, is closely linked to the Cowichan and is part of the Hul'qumi'num linguistic group.

In 1883, William Forest arrived in Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island. In 1884, William Forest and James Tolmie (the older brother of the late premier of British Columbia) were guided through Cowichan Lake by the native Ikilass brothers. William found this Vancouver Island area to be "the most beautiful spot he had ever seen" and lobbied the premier for a road to the lake. The premier authorized the building of the road on the condition that at least 10 to 12 settlers move into the area. A road was built and settlement began in 1886.

In 1912, the E & N railway reached Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island and this prompted a logging boom. Unfortunately, the start of the First World War in 1914 disrupted the markets and the logging industry suffered a downturn.

In 1917, the logging industry was revived and the population around Cowichan Lake increased steadily.

On August 19, 1944, the community at the head of the Cowichan River became the Village of Lake Cowichan with 660 residents in its borders.


The Cowichan Lake is 26 miles long and has excellent trout fishing, water sports, boating, camping, houseboating and swimming. A marine and boat launch are also available. Encompassing the shore of Lake Cowichan is a network of nature walks.

Festivals & Events

Every year, on the long weekend on Victoria Day in May, Cowichan Lake holds a Family Heritage Days. The second week in June holds a Lake Days in Lake Cowichan. The last weekend in October brings the Salmon and Mushroom Festival.

Chamber of Commerce and Information

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Office Phone: 250-338-5466

Courtenay, British Columbia