Duncan is a lively town surrounded by the lush vineyards and emerald pastures of the Cowichan Valley. It boasts a rich First Nations heritage and is dotted with dozens of totem poles. You can bite into a flourishing "agritourism" food scene featuring wineries, cideries and artisan cheesemakers.
Things to do in Duncan
A walking tour of Duncan's famous totem poles is a rite of passage. The town is home to the world's largest outdoor collection of totem poles, inspired by its Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw culture. Find out more about Duncan's First Nations heritage at the Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre.
Surrounded by lush plantations, the Westholme Tea Company is a unique stop on Duncan's "agritourism" circuit. You can tour the estate and sample artisanal blends like Maple Quail's Nest and Tree Frog Green in the atmospheric tasting room. The Merridale Estate Cidery is another great pitstop that serves crisp cider in a rustic setting.
Three kilometres north of town, the BC Forest Discovery Centre offers a glimpse at Duncan's industrial past. You can peer into pioneer-era buildings, gaze up at monster-sized logging machinery and step aboard a working steam train.
Duncan is a great base for exploring Vancouver Island's beautiful coastline. Wilderness kayaking in Maple Bay offers a unique chance to spot seals, otters and other marine life. Whale-watching tours depart from Cowichan Bay and seek out Vancouver Island's beloved orcas. Alternatively, you can rent a canoe and enjoy a scenic paddle on Lake Cowichan.
Getting around Duncan
Downtown Duncan is easy to get around on foot, especially around the historic district. A rental car is the easiest way to explore the Cowichan Valley and Vancouver Island. Victoria and Nanaimo are roughly 50 kilometres to the south and north, respectively.