— an artisan coastal town —
So much to discover in one little town…
be mesmerized by the local artistry that can be seen in everything, not just the murals.
SO MUCH TO DISCOVER
be mesmerized by the local artistry
Storefront windows hold local handmade objects and gifts, artisan food destinations dot the town, the world-renowned Chemainus Theatre operates year-round, the parks are lovingly adorned with carvings in homage to our heritage, and a slew of festivals and events seen throughout the year all hold those artistic elements close.
Young at heart visitors love the town’s distinctive free and easy character and the friendly, homespun service. The true charm of this lively community is the chance to share experiences and connect with the people who live here – affectionately known as Chemainiacs. Steeped in rich history and culture, Chemainus was originally a quiet string of Indigenous settlements that grew into a town. For more information on our history please click here.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES HISTORY
Before colonizers came to this land the Coast Salish people lived along the east coast of Vancouver Island from what we know as Kulleet Bay to the mouth of the Cowichan River.
Stz'uminus is the original Hul'qumi'num language name for Chemainus. The Stz'uminus (sta-mane-us) First Nation is located in Shell Beach and around the Mohawk Gas Station (both sides of the road) and are quite separate but carry the name because there is a Chemainus Bay on their land. The Coast Salish people had a home base but had homes/camps in three to four places. They had to travel by canoe for food for survival. The rivers of our area (Cowichan and Chemainus) have salmon returning but not of the quality or quantity of the Fraser River. The Fraser River has a huge sockeye run that was bountiful. Enough fish had to be dried for the winter and it took three to four months. On route to the Fraser River in the spring a camp would be set up in the Gulf Islands where herring, cod, and spring salmon were plentiful.
It is with great appreciation we reside and do business on these lands. For more information on Indigenous communities and organizations in town click here.