This charming little community is located in Chemainus River Valley, on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Nestled between mountains on one end and the ocean on another, Chemainus is a stunningly pretty seaside community inhabited by a mere 3900 people. This town boasts several tempting attractions as well as an ideal temperate climate of cool winters and comfortable summers, making it a popular destination point of Vancouver Island.

Things to do/attractions

Quaint though it may be, Chemainus has activities and attractions to offer by the spades. Be enthralled by the diverse range of dining sensations in the area, as well as various wineries, breweries and grocers, and the island’s own-grown specialty foods. There’s a whole host of activities available including live theatre, hiking, biking, golf, and marine sports. Two attractions in particular stand out as being famous the world over; the outdoor gallery of murals, and the Boeing 737-200 that was purposely sunk as an artificial reef for marine life and divers to enjoy.

Hospitals, schools, colleges, public transport

There is no lack of amenities or facilities within and surrounding Chemainus. The Chemainus Health Care Centre offers not only urgent care but also services such as physiotherapy and wheels-on-meals programs. It has a prosperous public school system for primary and intermediate schooling, and many more in addition to several good high schools and universities in the surrounding district.  Chemainus is but an hour’s drive from Victoria and the local bus services are efficient. Ferry Terminals to the mainland also operate from nearby Nanaimo and Schwartz Bay, and Greyhound Bus Service runs from here. The ferry to Thetis Island also leaves from Chemainus. Thetis Island is a quant island with a few hundred year round inhabitants. The population swells in the summer as many own summer vacation homes on the island. There are not a lot of amenities on the island, most services are provided form Chemainus.


Chemainus has gradually evolved into one of Vancouver Island’s most delightful shopping locales. Antique stores, fashion outlets, art galleries, gift shops and quality confectioners line two blocks of the popular Willow Street. An open-air street market is held in downtown Chemainus on Wednesdays all summer long.

Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit

Perhaps the most talked-about and well-known attraction of the region would be the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit. Set in front of Mount Prevost in Cowichan Valley, it is a private membership club and motorsports playground. It offers a 2.3-kilometer road course, a dynamic driving area to refine reactive skills, and a 1.0 kilometer off-road proving ground. All in all, it is definitely a motorsport enthusiast’s dream come true!

Why would someone want to live here?

The beauty of Chemainus lies in the way it manages to be at once an attractive tourist destination simmering with lively recreational activities and events, and somehow also a most quaint and peaceful little town. Hospitable, culturally rich, quiet and relaxing, yet far from dull, Chemainus promises an absolutely idyllic life for all.