Back to Vancouver Island
Trip Start May 09, 2009
96Trip End May 27, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Chemainus draws in tourists to view the 40 murals on the town's walls. The mural project began in the early 80s as a response to the news that the mill, the town’s largest employer, was shutting down. What began as five murals in 1981 has grown to 40 – the last just being completed this year. Although we saw murals all over British Columbia, Chemainus claims to be the first to use murals as a way to grow tourism. Using a self-guided walking tour map, we saw most of the murals, although not all.
Duncan also uses art to draw tourists to its downtown, but in the form of 80 totems. Duncan is home to the Cowichan Tribe of the Coast Salish Nation and their art is reflected throughout the town. The "City of Totems" provides free walking tours with a guide who has met with the totem artists and can interpret the meaning of the various totem symbols. We came away from the tour with a better understanding and appreciation of totem art.
We also came away with an appreciation for the imagination and drive that transformed these two relatively small coastal towns into tourist destinations through the use of art.