The Area of Cowichan Station

Cowichan Station Village proper was established in 1862, see history, many years before Duncan became the main Cowichan centre. It was a busy hub for the local small community of farmers, loggers and miners. At its height of prosperity, Cowichan Station (then called MacPherson Village after one of the founders) was home to numerous enterprises including hotels, general stores, laundries, boarding houses, stables, churches, community halls,  a sawmill, quarry, and resident doctor. Its boom years fell to wars, a large fire, the Depression, and motorized vehicles. Today, the community remains agricultural-based.  It is passionate about preserving its historical roots, embraces the many recreational and cultural offerings available, and proudly promotes the sustainability of a rural lifestyle.

Cowichan Station is situated 7 km south of Duncan, midway between there and Cobble Hill, and west off the TransCanada Highway. A short drive along Koksilah Road takes you through the heart of it, passing a school site, then under a stone train bridge, past an historic church, and over the Koksilah River. A left turn will take travelers to the west side of the world famous Kinsol Trestle. Continuing along Koksilah will take you to the turn-off for Bright Angel Park.  Farther along is Fairburn Farms, home to the Island’s only herd of water buffalo, and the community of historic Fairbridge.

The village of Cowichan Station proper encompasses a small area around a whistle stop train station. Each weekday morning around 9:30, residents who enjoy coffee at St. Andrew’s Church hall, are greeted by friendly “toots” as the ViaRail passenger train passes through, northbound from Victoria to Courtney, returning around 4:30 pm.  The train can be boarded at Cowichan Station for trips to any destination along the route by contacting ViaRail, as well as for information on their weekend schedule.

The stones of the train bridge are from a cliff of sandstone, discovered during construction of the railway through here.  Robert Dunsmuir founded a quarry to excavate and dress the stone, which he also used to build Craigdarroch Castle (Victoria). The residue of the quarry can be found in the stone wall around the former home of Jack Fleetwood.

The Koksilah River was once regarded as the steelhead capital of North America.  Today kayakers make their way through the challenging waters, and swimmers enjoy some calm deep pools. The old wooden bridge that crosses the river is from circa 1939, the original from 1876 having been washed out in a flood, and is one of two that remain in the Cowichan Valley.Throughout the Cowichan Station area are numerous hiking, horse, and biking trails, including the TransCanada Trail, accessible from local side roads.

The Cowichan Station Area Association is working towards acquiring the site of the former elementary school for a community hub for arts groups, recreational facilities, a farm market, and other opportunities. Cowichan Station is a community connected. It is a place where people can share the taste of goodness from local farms, gardens, and wineries, enjoy the numerous parks and trails, and celebrate its historical roots.  We invite you to enjoy the beauty of a place local historian Jack Fleetwood called the “hub of the universe”.

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