As much of the coastal regions of British Columbia were inhabited around Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands by the First Nations Salish tribes, so was the area near Chemainus. The island's rich forest provided shelter, materials and berries. The oceans provided sea life and salmon fishing as a staple food resource. Their culture and spirit/legendary tales, which existed for centuries prior to the arrival of European explorers, is shared today through living ancestors and artifacts preserved in museums up and down Vancouver Island.
Around the 1860's, settlers foresaw the potential for developing this area full of huge forests and seaside harbour into a perfect site for a mill. Hence, Chemainus began to grow into a small town of 600, which included Chinese and Japanese immigrants who were brought to work with the railways and who came to discover riches during the gold rush, and Salish Natives.
Chemainus' original industries (mining, fishing and forestry), which had flourished in the late 1800, lost their importance due to limited demands, national economic change and technological advances by the late 1970's. Chemainus, however, succeeded in reinventing itself as a historic and cultural attraction. An idea created led by social entrepreneur, Karl Schutz.
Summer average 18 degrees Celsius
Winter average 6 degrees Celsius
Map of Chemainus
Please select from the Chemainus travel directory below to find out more details.