The Cowichan Valley is a region around the Cowichan River and Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. There is some debate as to the origin of the name Cowichan, which many[who?] believe to be an anglicized form of the First Nations tribal name Quw'utsun.
Communities include Duncan, Lake Cowichan, Cobble Hill, Shawnigan Lake, Mill Bay, Ladysmith, Crofton, Chemainus, and Maple Bay. Of these, only Duncan, Lake Cowichan, and Maple Bay fall within the Cowichan River/Cowichan Bay watershed. The others are affiliated with the Cowichan Valley mainly through the Cowichan Valley Regional District.
The Cowichan Valley is the home of a growing number of vineyards and wineries. They include Cherry Point Vineyards, Blue Grouse, Glenterra,Vigneti Zanatta,Venturi-Schulze Vineyards, and Averil Creek. Locals claim that the warm, dry summers and mild, moist winters are reminiscent of a cool Mediterranean climate, providing ideal growing conditions for many grape varieties.
The Trans Canada Trail goes through the Valley, and there are numerous options for hiking enthusiasts. On January 7 2010 they installed an air quality monitoring station.
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