Chemainus is a beautiful little sea-side town on the east side of Vancouver Island and well known for its outdoor gallery of murals. If you have never visited this quaint and quiet town, then you are in for a real treat!
The first time the kids and I ventured to Chemainus was purely due to a google search. We were hunting for a particular Father’s Day present, and the store happened to be located there. As soon as we hopped out of the car on picturesque Willow Street (the towns main shopping area), I knew we were going to do a whole lot more than just pick up a gift.
As mentioned above, many people go to Chemainus to view the world-famous Mural Project. A project brought on to save the community from economic collapse. While the murals are truly a spectacular sight and definitely well worth seeing, after wandering around this special place I felt certain this town should be more known for its wonderful hospitality.
We had an absolutely delightful morning popping into each charming boutique shop. With antique stores, fashion outlets, art galleries, gift shops, quality confectioners, and a lovely little church built in the 1890′s, we had plenty to keep us busy.
One of our favorite finds was the Christmas store. With the highly anticipated holiday still being many months away, the kids felt like they walked into a magical portal wandering around a shop decked to the nines in Christmas trimmings. Even if you are walking around Chemainus in the hot summer sun, and being festive is the furthest thing from your mind, don’t be too quick to pass by this store. You may just be pleasantly surprised by the other interesting trinkets they sell.
At the top of the list for the kids was Hansel & Gretel’s Candy Co. They sell a staggering selection of old-fashioned and much-loved confectionaries. I recommend buying a “Mystery Box”, if not just for the little box filled to the brim with an assortment of candies, then for the pure enjoyment of how you must choose this special box (hint: think Harry Potter). Alas, if you would just like to steer clear of candy, they also have a huge selection of ice-cream to enjoy.
If nothing else, make sure to take in one of the spectacular shows at the Chemainus Theatre. As one of the largest live professional theatre companies in Western Canada, they offer year-round productions including popular musicals, dramas, comedies and mysteries. And let me tell you, the quality of the productions are second to none. To complete your Theatre experience I also recommend eating at the Playbill Dining Room, for great food and live music to enjoy before or after your show.
If you are looking to discover a hidden gem on Vancouver Island, I strongly encourage you to visit Chemainus. Rich with artistic culture, a warm and friendly atmosphere, a temperate climate, and full of natural ocean-side views, I promise this is a town you don’t want to miss!
Chemainus is located just an hour north of Victoria, and a half-hour south of Nanaimo.
From Victoria – take the Trans-Canada Highway North from Victoria. After you pass through Duncan, watch for the Chemainus exit (about 10 minutes later) at Henry Road.
From Nanaimo – take the Trans-Canada Highway South and take the scenic route. Watch for exit signs approximately 5 minutes after you pass through Ladysmith. Exit at Davis Road (which turns into Chemainus Road).
What is your favorite place to stop in Chemainus? Let me know in the comments below.