Imagine waking up in a beautiful character home, surrounded by the chirps of the local birds as the fresh Cowichan Valley air gently stirs in your room.  You awaken and head downstairs to where a lovely breakfast awaits you as the day begins.  All your plans for the day are yours for experiencing, as well as some wonderful surprises that are quintessentially Vancouver Island.  If this sounds good to you, you will definitely want to consider booking your stay at the McLay Heritage Guest House.

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The Arts and Crafts style of architecture was fairly predominant during the early 1900’s on Vancouver Island, resulting in many buildings, homes and facilities that exhibit this style.  Several well-known architects were responsible for many of these designs, and Robert McLay Jr. was most certainly one of those.  Here we see many of the features and details of this particular style including the river rock masonry, wood-framed windows and half log siding.  These details are carried over to the interior of this house where we find the original Douglas fir floors, a granite fireplace, wood built-ins and wood paneling to add the perfect finishing touches to this character home.

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Early 20th century charm awaits you at every turn as you make your way into the entrance-way where Teresa and Jim are ready to greet you.  When you consider the time that the house was built in and realize all the craftsmanship that goes into such a construction, the sense of character here really sets in.

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

The main great room is the perfect location for a quiet and intimate experience, or if you are looking for the perfect wedding venue or party location we can think of no better place.

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

An exquisite sense of decorating that Teresa and Jim bring to the home add perfect touches that are both eclectic and sympathetic to the character of the design.  This all works together in harmony to create a space that is warm and inviting, making everyone feel right at home right away.

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

As we venture upstairs to see the accommodations we find that all the design features and elements we enjoyed downstairs are carried over to the second floor.  Terrific architectural features are found everywhere, as is the wonderfully romantic bathroom with a deep tub that just beckons you to relax and live life on island time.

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House - Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

McLay Heritage Guest House – Duncan, Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada

Delightful discoveries don’t stop inside as the lush Vancouver Island forests that McLay Heritage Guest House lives in come to life just outside the doors.  Peace and tranquility are the words of the day as you ponder which spot to sit in to take in all the ambience that the Cowichan Valley has to offer in both the intrinsic wildlife that is found everywhere, along with the trees that seem to reach forever to the sky above.  If you are planning a wedding, the wide open green spaces are absolutely perfect as a setting for your nuptials helping to make your special day one you will never forget.

And it doesn’t stop there either.  Located right in the valley we find distinct Vancouver Island attractions that are sure to keep you busy on a journey of wonder and discovery for days on end.  Visit the world-famous Pacific Northwest Raptors, the incredible Kinsol Trestle, and the must-see BC Forest Discovery Centre just to name a few, all located a mere few minutes away from this secluded spot.  A literal hop-skip-and-a-jump away we also find the wonderful town of Cowichan Bay, a quiet little community that portrays a distinct west-coast feel for those looking to shop in quaint local stores, or check out the Cow Cafe West Coast Grill for food that is simply second-to-none.  These are just a few of the highlights to be found in the Cowichan Valley as the entire island is at your feet just ready to explore.

See the entire gallery of photographs on our McLay Heritage Guest House site.  Also see the Heritage Statement of Significance for further information.




  1. avatar Lisa Gordon says:

    My goodness, this is beyond beautiful!
    The first thing I notice, is how wonderfully serene every single area looks.
    I can just imagine how it must feel to be sitting on that patio. It is so unique.
    And all the wood? Just gorgeous.
    I”ll just bet that this is a wonderful place to just “be.”
    Thank you so much for sharing it here.

    Wishing both of you, a wonderful week ahead!

    • Thank you so much Lisa, that means a lot to us, and Teresa and Jim! It is a wonderful place just to “be” as you have said here, a perfect spot to get away! Thanks for taking the time to visit and leave your wonderful comments that we are quite sure everyone will enjoy, Lisa, cheers to you! 😀

  2. avatar Bev Oliver says:

    Beautiful work, Toad. Some dazzling shots here!

  3. This is a beautifully maintained historic building photographed with perfectly balanced compositions that complement the classic lines of its design. As a travel essay, Mr Toad, it ranks with the best.

  4. avatar Edith Levy says:

    My goodness Toad these are awesome images. have you ever thought of doing real estate photography?

    • Wow, thanks so much Edith, that really means a lot to us coming from you! Yep, I have DEFINITELY wanted to get into that market and I hope that this new catalog of shots might help to that end. Thanks so much for your kind comments and support! 😀

  5. Love that front entrance, very unique place, charming as well