With only a couple of weeks left until Christmas, we’re looking for every magical way to enhance the holiday experience. If you feel like you’ve done it all in Vancouver, we got you.
There’s so much happening outside the city, and it’s all waiting to be discovered in Cowichan.
It takes just over four hours to get there from Vancouver when you take the bus or drive, then hop on a ferry. You can also access Cowichan via a short flight with Helijet or Harbour Air directly from Downtown Vancouver. Cowichan is just a short drive from Nanaimo and Victoria.
When you arrive, you’ll delight in the fact that the weather outside is anything but frightful — the Cowichan region has the warmest year-round temperature anywhere in Canada. The diverse region extends between Victoria and Nanaimo and inland to Lake Cowichan.
This is one of the many reasons why Cowichan makes the perfect pre-Christmas getaway. Here’s a look at how you can make your Christmas magic in Cowichan.
Thoughtful holiday shopping
Swap the bustle of shopping in Vancouver for the quaint vibes of Cowichan. Each community has a unique shopping area that’s perfect for picking up one-of-a-kind gifts for your favourite people. There’s something for everyone, from Beyond the Usual (for the adventure lover) in Chemainus, to Cardino’s Shoes in Duncan. On December 7, you can enjoy a night of seasonal festivities at Chemainus’ highly-anticipated Moonlight Madness.
Illuminate the holidays
Cowichan locals really know how to celebrate Christmas, and that’s why they’re hosting a series of events to make your holiday season brighter. You can enjoy a beautiful light show as you wander down First Avenue until the second Sunday in January.
If you’re looking for the magic of an old-fashioned Christmas, be sure to attend a Christmas at the Farm – Long Table Dinner at Merridale Cidery & Distillery and entertainment at Merridale. The events are taking place every weekend before Christmas and feature thousands of twinkling lights, festive, farm-to-fork food, and entertainment in Merridale. Round up your group now!
Step aboard the Christmas Express
Every year in Cowichan, the BC Forest Discovery Centre hosts holiday fun that even the Scrooge you know will love. This includes everything from visits with Santa, to carols, hot chocolate, and — wait for it — a ride on the iconic Christmas Express train. You’re sure to be in the Christmas spirit after this train ride and exploring the 100-acre property.
Visit a winter winery
Ever wondered what a winery is like in winter? Taking a trip to Cowichan this season gives you a wonderful opportunity to explore many wineries, including Blue Grouse Estate Winery. On December 1 and 2, join wine tastings, enjoy lunch, dance to live music, and stock up on holiday gifts at the winery during their open house event. Pro tip: Get a taster of the Blue Grouse special holiday wine release of their 2016 Estate Pinot Noir, and the new Fortified Black Muscat.
Go see a Christmas Play
The Chemainus Theatre Festival is running through December 30 and you can go see the holiday-perfect production of Little Women. Sit back and enjoy the musical featuring romantic escapades, Christmas wishes, and a little sibling rivalry. Make the evening even better by booking a seat at the Playbill Dining Room before the show.
Stay in serenity
Your accommodation options are endless in Cowichan, so it really depends on the kind of experience you want to have during your stay. The region is home to B&Bs, guesthouses, yurts, float homes, houseboats, and of course, hotels.
Enjoy the magic of the Canadian outdoors when you stay at the idyllic and newly-opened Cowichan River Lodge. Farm Table Inn is one of the charming B&Bs that serves up organic, house-made meals, Villa Eyrie Resort offers a spa-inspired mountainside retreat, meanwhile, Microtel Inn & Suites has everything you’d want in a modern, midscale hotel.
Start planning your unforgettable pre-Christmas getaway to Cowichan by visiting tourismcowichan.com now.