There is just something purely magical about the quiet hours of the morning.  Those fleeting few moments that belong neither to the night nor to the day.  As if the world is unaware that you are watching, or simply doesn’t mind.  Uninterrupted by the clatter of everyday life, it is a time that belongs to each one of us in our own way.  A time to be both introspective and poetic, and yet also to rejoice in the feeling of being a part of something much, much bigger.

Thank you for joining us today as we visit a truly special place, Cowichan Bay, B.C.  If you have ever tried to imagine the perfect little town, this would be it.  Home to some of the finest dining, artisan breads and cheeses, arts and crafts of every kind, and a lifestyle as unique as the people who live there, it has seemingly managed to bring all of the best things in life together.

Cowichan Bay Marina - Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

Cowichan Bay Marina – Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

Unable to be contained on land, or unwilling to at least, it pours out into a floating neighbourhood.  Every house different from the one beside it and lovingly decorated to reflect it’s own unique personality, it creates an eclectic and colourful little village where it’s not uncommon to find a sealion in your backyard!  Tethered to the island by docks and bridges, it is the perfect place for anyone hoping to avoid yard work.

But in the pale light of dawn, more can be seen with the imagination than could ever be seen with the eye.  Only in the deafening silence can the whispers of the past be heard.  Only in the murky landscape can the fluid lines of the past be seen.

Cowichan Bay Marina - Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

Cowichan Bay Marina – Cowichan Bay, BC, Canada

Looking out over the still waters, only the occasional ripple of life is visible.  Far in the distance, dwarfing even a massive steamship, mighty Mount Tzouhalem towers over the landscape, keeping an ever vigilant eye on the happenings beneath.

While colonial history of Vancouver Island goes back only about one hundred and sixty years, Cowichan Bay and the surrounding areas have been home to the Coast Salish First Nations People for well more than ten thousand years.  Many legends tell of a fierce and courageous warrior named Tzouhalem, who lived a storied life and finally came to live in a cave on the mountain after being exiled from his tribe.  Originally called squw’utsun meaning “basking in the sun” after a rock located on the side of the mountain which resembles a frog warming itself, and traditionally known as Quw’utsun Smeent, it was renamed Mount Tzouhalem after the chief’s death in the mid 1800’s.  More information on Chief Tzouhalem and the area can be found here, including a link to a very well-written and detailed story by Chris Arnett.

Only when we take the time to stand still and look with our hearts instead of just our eyes can the magical presence of those before us be truly felt and appreciated.  The legends and traditions of the Coast Salish People, and other First Nations People, do not just complement the culture of Vancouver Island, they birthed it. And only on that solid foundation can we continue to write that story, together.

Thank you ever so much for joining us for an early morning visit to Cowichan Bay, one of our very favourite places that we are lucky enough to call a part of our neighbourhood.  If you are ever on Vancouver Island for a visit in person, make sure you put this wonderful little spot on your “must see” list, we promise you will not be disappointed!

Until next time!


Mrs. Toad

References: Mount Tzouhalem

North Cowichan: Guide to Mount Tzouhalem

Mount Tzouhalem Duncan | Nanaimo Hiking Daytrips | Hiking Mt Tzouhalem  (featuring story by Chris Arnett)

  1. avatar dragonflydreams88 says:

    . . . yes, a favorite spot on our beautiful Island!!!

  2. avatar Rich McPeek says:

    Wonderful work! Beautiful!

  3. I do SO enjoy seeing such a very different part of the world.

    thanks for sharing!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you for your wonderful comments Derrick, it is our absolute pleasure to share this beautiful place with everyone!

  4. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Mrs. Toad you’ve outdone yourself with this post. The words flow so beautifully…AND these images are simply outstanding.

  5. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    These images are awesome Mrs Toad. The fog really sets the mood. Love your write-up as usual.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Len, I agree, the fog really adds a touch of magic to the scene! Thanks so much for popping by!

  6. avatar Chris Nitz says:

    I dunno how you do it, but you consistently make me want to live on the water. In your neck of the woods. Like now!

  7. avatar ehpem says:

    This post reminds me of our wonderful visit to Cowichan Bay with the Toads last year. It is definitely a must see place for visitors. These photos are very nicely done – I love the lit window in the first shot. And Mrs. Toad has excelled, as usual. Nice to have that link to the Mt. Tzouhalem story, I will be looking it over!

  8. avatar Jimi Jones says:

    I couldn’t agree more about those early morning hours, Mrs. Toad.
    Love the poetic flow to your writing and of course, the wonderful imagery to make the trip complete. 🙂

    All the best!

  9. avatar Jim Nix says:

    lovely photo work and keyboard work too! nice post, thanks for sharing your view on things!

  10. avatar Rick Louie says:

    Those floating houses have so much character! I love the serene scene of the big ship at bay’s edge. Just give me a rocking chair and a cup of tea and I’m set for a relaxing view in front of that second image. Good Stuff!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so very much Rick, I have always wanted to live in a floating home but alas, it hasn’t happened yet. There is just something so quaint about them. Thank you for popping by today!

  11. avatar LensScaper says:

    A wonderful piece of writing especially that first paragraph, Mrs Toad. The sad fact is that when we toured BC about 15yrs ago we drove the length of Vancouver Island north to south in a single day. We lunched in Nanaimo but I suspect we drove through Cowichan without stopping. It pains me deeply to have to admit that fact. Maybe I’ll get a second chance.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Andy, from the bottom of my heart. Don’t feel too bad, Cowichan Bay is a little off the highway and you probably wouldn’t have even known you passed it! If you ever get back this way, let us know and we can show you around!

  12. Great post and lovely images! Thanks so much.