Chemainus, British Columbia, Real Estate:  “The Little Town That Did”

Chemainus is a quaint, seaside town nestled in the Chemainus River Valley, approximately eighty kilometres north of Victoria on the east coast of Vancouver Island.  It belongs to the district of North Cowichan-along with adjacent communities including Crofton, Saltair, Thetis Island and Penelakut Island.  Situated between a mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, Chemainus Harbour is sheltered from the Straight of Georgia by the Gulf Island archipelagos.  It’s a mere fifteen minutes to all the amenities of Duncan and a half-hour to Nanaimo, Duke Point and Departure Bay Ferry Terminals.

In recent years, Chemainus has become an international tourist destination.  Compact and walkable, it boasts more than forty outdoor murals and eleven sculptures that pay homage to the people and events that helped shape the town; one can take in this outdoor art gallery by foot, trolley car, or horse-drawn carriage.  Locals and tourists alike are drawn to the many events that take place throughout the year (see the list below!), notably the world-class productions presented by the Chemainus Theatre Festival.  An eclectic, art-driven community surrounded by breathtaking nature, it’s no wonder that houses and condos for sale in Chemainus are not on the market for long!

Are you buying or selling a home in Chemainus?  If you require the services of a Chemainus Realtor, or have any questions about the Chemainus Real Estate Market, call Jurgan today (604) 626-1391

Population of Chemainus: Roughly 3,000

  • Average age of population in years: 7 (Median Age: 61.3)
  • Average size of household: 1.9

Occupied private dwellings: 1,609

  • Single detached homes in Chemainus: 920
  • Semi-detached homes in Chemainus: 155
  • Apartment buildings with 5+ stories in Chemainus: 0
  • Apartment buildings with fewer that 5 stories in Chemainus: 335
  • Row Houses in Chemainus: 95
  • ½ Duplexes in Chemainus: 20
  • Mobile homes in Chemainus: 0

Source:  2016 Census


  • Animal Hospital, Chemainus
  • C. Ambulance of Chemainus
  • C. Ferries, Chemainus
  • Canada Post, Chemainus
  • Eagles, Chemainus Branch
  • Extended Care Hospital
  • Fuller Lake Arena, Chemainus
  • Go Taxi, Chemainus
  • Golf Course, Chemainus
  • Legion in Chemainus
  • Marina in Chemainus
  • Masons, Chemainus Branch
  • Museums in Chemainus
  • RCMP in Chemainus
  • RE/MAX Ocean Pointe Realty, Chemainus
  • Rotary Club, Chemainus Branch
  • Skate Park in Chemainus
  • Vancouver Island Regional Library, Chemainus Branch
  • Visitor Centre, Chemainus


Arts and Culture:

  • Chemainus Theatre Festival
  • Chemainus Valley Artists Association
  • Festival of Murals Society, Chemainus
  • Galleries in Chemainus
  • Horse-Drawn Tours, Chemainus
  • Historical Society of Chemainus
  • Live Theatre, Chemainus
  • Polka Dot Trail, Chemainus
  • Sketch Group, Chemainus



  • Calvary Baptist Church, Chemainus
  • Chemainus United Church
  • Michael and all Angels Anglican Church, Chemainus
  • Chemainus Pentecostal
  • Joseph’s Catholic Church, Chemainus
  • Chemainus Congregations Church
  • Crofton United Church, Chemainus



  • Accordion Festival, Chemainus
  • Bluegrass Festival, Chemainus
  • Canada Day, Chemainus
  • Chemainus Theatre Festival
  • Craft Beer and Food Festival, Chemainus
  • Halloween Harvest Festival, Chemainus
  • Jazz Festival, Chemainus
  • Moonlight Madness Shopping and Fun, Chemainus
  • Remembrance Day in Chemainus
  • Roots and Blues Festival, Chemainus
  • Street Market, Chemainus
  • Summer Entertainment in the Bandshell, Chemainus


Local Schools:

  • Chemainus Elementary Community School
  • Chemainus Secondary School
  • Joseph’s, Chemainus


Parks and Outdoor Adventures:

  • Artificial Reef, Chemainus
  • Askew Creek Wilderness Park, Chemainus
  • Birding Tours in Chemainus
  • Chemainus Cenotaph
  • Chemainus Lake Park
  • Chemainus River
  • Cycling the Cowichan Valley Scenic Route
  • Echo Heights Forest, Chemainus
  • Fuller Lake Park, Chemainus
  • Geocaching in Chemainus
  • Hermit’s Trail, Chemainus
  • Kin Beach Park, Chemainus
  • Maple Mountain, Chemainus
  • Mount Provost, Chemainus
  • New Town, Old Town, Scotchtown, Chemainus
  • Stocking Creek Park, Saltair
  • Trans Canada Trail, Chemainus
  • Waluum Park, Chemainus
  • Waterwheel Park, Chemainus



  • Antiquing in Chemainus
  • Art Galleries in Chemainus
  • Chemainus dollars
  • Clothing Boutiques in Chemainus
  • Gift Shops in Chemainus
  • Food and drink, Chemainus
  • La Petite Auction House, Chemainus
  • Liquor Store, Chemainus
  • The Secret Garden, Chemainus


“Tis But a Scratch!”

-Monty Python

Legend has it that the town Chemainus was named after a native shaman and prophet, who survived a horrific chest wound to become a powerful Chief that led his people to greatness.  His name, Tsa-meeun-is, literally translates to “broken chest”; so impressed with his healing capabilities and the prosperous years that followed under his leadership, the people adopted his name as their own:  Stz’uminus First Nation (formally Chemainus Indian Band).

Source:  WIKI

Chemainus was an unincorporated logging town back in 1858 when European settlers initially arrived and began to clear land; the first water-driven sawmill was erected in Horseshoe Bay in 1862.  The original industries were mining, fishing and forestry:  Many Chinese immigrated to the area in the late 1880s, working in ‘bull-gangs’, hauling enormous lumber planks to the ships in the harbour.  In later years, Japanese and East Indian immigrants blended with the Scots and the Germans living in the area. By 1904, the library and hospital were already established.

Source:  HelloBC

“The Little Town that Did”

In the 1980s, the future of Chemainus was uncertain.  The recession hit the area hard; combined with a decrease in global demand for BC forest products, tariffs from the United States, public support for environmentalists and aboriginal land claims, the Chemainus forestry industry faltered.  The sawmill closed, replaced by a smaller, more efficient mill, which reduced the number of employees from 600 to 145.

Members of the community realized that for Chemainus to survive, they needed to diversify.  The idea of Canada’s largest outdoor art gallery was born; artists were commissioned to paint murals on the walls of neighbourhood buildings, each work depicting an important piece of the town’s history.  Entrepreneurial locals set up shops filled with art, clothing and confectionery…  The tourists came.  Today, although the largest industry of the region is still forestry, Chemainus is now an international destination for those travelling the path between Vancouver Island’s two largest cities.

Source:  WIKI