Why I Want To Move To Cowichan Bay, BC

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Let’s dream, shall we? We are in the middle of a serious dump of snow here in Edmonton and it’s about this time of year I really start daydreaming about warmer places to live.

This October when we were in BC we headed on over to Vancouver Island. While on a day trip to Nanaimo from Victoria, we took the seaside village route, of course. Once I saw that sign there was no turning back. Seaside village? What?! That’s only my dream place to live!

And off we went.

I’ve never been to the Island and it’s been on my list to finally get over there.

We stopped for a few family pics and while I won’t bore you with all of them, I will share this priceless gem with you all.

Yup. My daughter’s photobomb sums up our crazy family.

family picture with daughter's photobomb

Cowichan Bay is literally a small, seaside village. It’s adorable. As soon as we came down a little hill and turned a corner, I gasped. Then I informed Mike we were making an unplanned stop.

Oh my word, it was love at first sight.

It’s adorable.

Cowichan Bay - a small, seaside village with stores, benches and bikes

It has a Maritime centre that the kids loved.

Wooden Boat miniature at the Maritime centre

It has a Cowichan Wooden Boat Society.

The Cowichan Wooden Boat Society

Within that society is a small area that the kids can build their own wooden boats, which as you can imagine, was a hit with them both.

Two kids holding hammers and build their own wooden boats

Everything about Cowichan Bay is seriously out of a novel. I’ve pictured a place like this a million times in my head.

view of Cowichan Bay with plenty of boats

The marina looks out onto the large, beautiful bay. Boats rock gently in the surf, shore birds call out in a cacophony of seaside sounds and the smell of the ocean…well, either you love it or you hate it.

beautiful bay of Cowichan with boats rock gently in the surf

There was so much seaside beauty to capture in the 15 minutes without rain (seriously, that’s all I had) that I had to choose my favorite scenes. This is one of them. The long dock with buildings is where the kids were building their boats and the end building is a display of older wooden boats.

long dock with wooden buildings

I figure I could live in a float home quite happily. There are so many adorable ones there.

Can you imagine? Oh, I can. My heart can imagine living here, at least for a while.

I have made a new bucket list item of renting a float home for a month in the summer, just to see what it’s like.

colorful houses floating at Cowichan Bay

I would be set in the town for a while. There are restaurants, a pub, a few stores (yes, a lot of touristy ones)..

town in Cowichan bay, signage of The Mud Room clay works


..and a seriously fabulous bakery.

signage of The Grain Bread bakery

Oh yes, I’d be ok with staying on a float home for a while in Cowichan Bay.

young boy's picture inside the bakery with lots of bread on his background

To be honest, when you combine the lure of the seashore and the better weather that Vancouver Island has, I’m not sure why we haven’t moved there yet. We are going to try to go back this year and stay longer, to see what the summer is like perhaps and what the other parts of the island are like as well.

For now though, I’m going to dream about living in a float home in Cowichan Bay.

Could you do it? Would you want to live in a small community like this? Perhaps not in a float home, but in a house, in a seaside village? It’s not that far of a drive to the “big city” from there…

Wishing, dreaming and planning,


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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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  1. Lois Luckovich says

    This is where I buy all my seafood. Either from the Community Supported Fishboat Michelle Rose or one of the other fishermen. There is a Workboat Assn Rendezvous during the summer, it’s wonderful. I’ve lived in the area all my life and I can’t find fault with it. I have shirt-tail cousins on the Rez and I don’t hear them complaining about their lot in life

  2. Cassandra says

    All that glitters is not gold.

    I live in Cowichan Bay and although it looks like a strange idyllic little outpost in the middle of nowhere it is not without its problems. LIke anywhere. Its always lovely to fall in love with a place on vacation but living here is different. The poverty and destitution of the local Indian Reserve surround this Bay and are depressing to look at as you travel through and get to know Cowichan Bay.

    A industrial plant inhabits and pollutes Cowichan Bay as well as an ugly sawmill which, you probably did not see when you looked out in the Bay. Boats are often abandoned in Cowichan Bay and sit there polluting and rusting for years until government forces taxpayers to pay for their removal.

    During low tide it smells terrible.

    In the winter it is literally unihabited and the businesses remain largely closed. There really isn’t anything in Cowichan Bay a half dozen restaurants, a pub that used to be a jail, an overpriced overhyped bakery and a overpriced liquor store.

    There are people who live in their cars and vans all along Cowichan Bay road because its free.

    I would have to say you had a romantic notion attachment to Cowichan Bay but as I originally stated “all that glitters is not gold”.

    • Lois Luckovich says

      So it’s not ideal, but as a longtime Cobble Hill resident I still love it. What about the pluses? Our wonderful community supported fishboat Michelle Rose, the Workboat Assn Rendevous, come on, it’s not that BAD and I’ve been in it at all times of year

  3. vern says

    Hey there Lover of CB
    Living the dream life myself and often venture off elsewhere just to come home and sigh in the welcome return to home. Let me know if you are interested in a staycation here someeime.

  4. Rob says

    Came though this charming marina town a few years ago on a bike trip. Loved the bakery and the place with all the different kinds of smoked and cured salmon.

  5. C.Preston says

    if you want to rent on Vancouver Island get your name down NOW on one of the rental company lists. I stayed with my daughter for six weeks this last summer desperately trying to find a place to live, with my small dog. Literally 80 people were booked to look at a tiny little cabin behind a gas station not far from the runway at Nanaimo airport. needless to say I couldn’t even get on the list. good luck.

  6. MarcioWilges says

    I think after moving and removals, if you’ve got a neighbourhood like that to explore, you’ve pretty much got it going well! I love when we handle a removals job that brings us to such a nice and quaint place! The perks of being in a travelling business haha!

  7. JamesSimon1 says

    I love watching boats out on the water. The sunsets are even better when you’re out on the water. You need to be able to navigate home in the dark, though, and that can be scary for some. You’ll want a helmsman who understands how to do all that. 

  8. Daina Smith says

    One of my fav places use to live 5 min from there… such a wonderful little place.. great little shops…

  9. Krystina Schmeisser says

    V.I. Is where it’s at! Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else!

  10. Cathy Aageson says

    Absolutely! My retirement plan is Vancouver Island!

  11. Nicole Westre says

    Snows maybe once or twice a year! 🙂 Rains A LOT though! The village is nice but didn’t spend too much time down there as a local! There was no real close-knit small town community – at least not that I was involved in. It’s such a wonderful place though, I love it! I’m living in Victoria now for work, but hope to move back in the future!

  12. The Kitchen Magpie says

    Oh…lucky girl! What was it like there? Winter weather? Atmosphere? Was it close small townish?

  13. The Kitchen Magpie says

    It’s 55 km outside of Victoria so yes, similar weather! Which is why it’s high on my list!

  14. Katie Hampton-Sandford says

    Would move in a heart beat if we could, love Sooke, rented a condo a couple of times in the summer

    • Michelle says

      Living on our boat full time and commute to Victora five days a week….. what a place to come home to 🙂 mother nature rocks us to sleep every night 🌙…

      Living our dream…..our way…

  15. Bev Baxter Thomas Batchelor says

    My brother comes to Victoria lots- he’s never had a problem traveling the Malahat like some seem to. I just love it there- it’s a quaint community but yet close to everything you need – farm produce- eggs,cheese, breads/bakery, food from the sea- you name it it’s available, there or close by.

  16. Ida Pence Waterous says

    Depends on the weather, is it comfortable like Victoria?

  17. Helen Saulnier says

    Me too! I don’t regret it at all. When I retire, I might move out of Victoria as rent is quite high but staying on the Island for sure 🙂

  18. The Kitchen Magpie says

    We are seriously considering it as a possiblity in the next few years. I loved the Island!

  19. The Kitchen Magpie says

    Oh they are so lucky! It’s top of my list for places I would move to! Do they commute into Victoria? It’s not that far at all.

  20. Helen Saulnier says

    I always wanted to move back to Vancouver Island (born in Comox but raised in NS)….did it 3 years ago. Living in Victoria now 🙂

  21. Bev Baxter Thomas Batchelor says

    My brother and his family live here- and I hope to one day too!

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