3 Reasons To Visit Chemainus On Vancouver Island

When you begin exploring Vancouver Island, you will hopefully discover the quaint, eclectic charm of Chemainus. Home of the world-famous Chemainus murals.

Vancouver Island is known for many things: lush, green forests, gorgeous beaches, temperate climate, and lovely cities and towns to name just a few.

Chemainus Murals, Vancouver Island attractions, Chemainus town

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When you begin exploring Vancouver Island, you will hopefully discover the quaint, eclectic charm of Chemainus. Home of the world-famous Chemainus murals.

Located one hour north of Victoria and 35 minutes south of Nanaimo, Chemainus sits right on the ocean and boasts such a beautiful charm, it’s easy to see why people come from all around to visit.

To convey some of my love of this small, coastal town, here are my top 3 reasons why you should visit Chemainus.

1. Unique Shopping

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When walking the main streets of town, it’s almost like stepping back to a simpler time where stores offered goods made by local artists and craftsmen. Pottery shops, soap and candle stores, small art galleries, a bakery, cafe, and my children’s personal favourite – the candy store all line the street.

Imagine walking into a store entirely devoted to all things sweet.

The saying “you’re like a kid in a candy store” may have just started here in Chemainus. Chocolates, candies, gummies, and more await in Hansel and Gretle’s and even if you don’t have a child with you, you will be sure to purchase something for your sweet tooth.

Chemainus candy, Chemainus murals, Vancouver Island activities, The anticipation on my middle son’s face is priceless… I think he is anticipating something. 

During the summer months, local musicians come to the outdoor amphitheatre in Waterwheel park and there is even a weekly outdoor market that gives even more opportunity for local artists to share their craft and farmers to share their goods.

Horse-drawn carriages even appear during the summer to take you through the streets and share even more the history of Chemainus.

2. World Famous Chemainus Murals

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A few decades ago, as it’s only industry was possibly coming to an end, Chemainus found itself in danger of becoming a ghost town. In an effort to rebuild itself, Chemainus mayor pitched the idea to tell the history of the town through massive wall paintings. In a few years’ time, this charming seaside town became know world-wide for its unique Chemainus murals.

Chemainus murals, Vancouver Island activities

I have visited many times and every time I find a new mural I haven’t seen before.  Follow the yellow footprints on the sidewalks and learn the history of the town and surrounding areas on these Chemainus murals.

Find the kind-faced man who follows you with his eyes as you walk by and watch as the team of oxen switch directions as you pass them in the parking lot.  Hop on the bike attached to the side of the wall or become part of a mural yourself and watch the cars drive by as my children like to do.

3. Dinner Theatre

Stop and visit the vibrant and fully professional stage theatre in Chemainus.

With actors from all across Canada, The Chemainus Theatre Festival offers wholesome performances throughout the year and the theatre’s Playbill Restaurant offers wonderful dinners before each performance. The luxurious theatre getaway packages which includes an overnight hotel stay, dinner, theatre and breakfast is well worth it.

The theatre is small and intimate with not a bad seat in the house. See one of our experiences for yourself! 

Chemainus Theatre, Vancouver Island

We have never been disappointed in a show or a meal at the Playbill and The Chemainus Theatre has provided us with such wonderful date nights. When you visit Chemainus, be sure to allot enough time to enjoy whatever is playing at the time of your visit.

Choosing the Best Western in Chemainus opens the door to the entire Cowichan Valley. We have enjoyed stays here as a couple and as an entire family and every time we spend the night here we throughly enjoy ourselves. 6 reasons to stay at the Best Western Plus Chemainus Inn.

For more information on Chemainus you can visit the town’s website.

Hope you can enjoy a visit to this charming town soon on your Vancouver Island Vacation or “Staycation”!

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  • I've always wanted to make it there and despite visiting Vancouver Island on 4 different occasions - I still haven't! Definitely next time as it looks like such a lovely little town. We have a mural town in New Zealand too - Katikati - Reply

    • Wow..... I had the honor of being part of the very first Global Mural Conference, held in Chemainus in 1998, and met several wonderful folks from Katikati there! Hope you make it here some day.... we'd be very happy to help you plan your stay and tell you about some of our other treasures! Cathy. - Reply

      • How special to be on a global mural conference right in our very own Chemainus. :) -g - Reply

    • Oh Katie, you can't miss this lovely town again. It's so quaint and full of character. I'm sure you'd like it. Does the mural town in New Zealand tell stories of the area too? -g - Reply

  • I really love Chemainus and have visited several times. I even attended a play there once at the lovely theatre. - Reply

    • It's definitely a great little town that you can visit over and over. Do you remember what play to enjoyed? -g - Reply

  • What a cute town! It looks like one of those places that's just perfect for wandering around. Are the murals all historically-themed or do they vary? Regardless, they're pretty cool. I'd love to check it out if I ever make it out that way. - Reply

    • You're so right, Amy. Chemainus is great for wandering. I love walking even the neighbourhoods near the main street as they ooze character. I believe all the murals a follow the history of the town. I haven't noticed any that are a "just for fun" painting. There is a walking tour you can do what explains all the murals and helps guide you through the process. -g - Reply