Chemainus – World Famous Mural Town
The quaint town of Chemainus is found on the Chemainus River Valley on the east coast of Vancouver Island in Canada. We didn’t know of the town but found it as we headed from Victoria to catch the ferry to Vancouver. Because we had some spare time before ferry left, we spent a few hours exploring the town. If you are visiting Vancouver Island, add Chemainus to your itinerary. Spend at least a few hours exploring the town, finding the murals and doing some shopping.
The Hul’gumi’num first nations people originally settled in the area because it was rich in herring and shellfish. The original permanent village was called Shts’emines which translates to Chemainus in English.
English speaking inhabitants then discovered the area and a small town was established in the 1850’s. In addition to its proximity to the water it was also surrounded by lush green forests so it wasn’t long before the areas natural resources started to be exploited. From this a forestry industry was established.
Why stop in Chemainus?
The town is now a tourist destination. Due to the work of its local artists, over 40 murals now adorn many of the buildings in the town. It is also a great place to do some shopping with many of the shops and cafes selling local hand made wares.
The murals that have now made Chemainus famous, were actually a project to save the town from economic collapse. It has been recognised as the world’s leading community driven art tourism experience and became a model for similar projects around the world. Chemainus even hosted the 1st Global Mural Conference in 1998.