A bright future
from the beginning
The past is filled with vision and hope fostering in an artistic allure seen throughout the town today.
Chemainus Name Origins
The origin of the name Chemainus is rich in first nations culture telling a tale of a shaman prophet called Broken Chest (Tsa-meeun-is) when translated to English. His name came to tell the legend of a massive chest wound that had been inflicted upon him, surviving, he becoming a powerful chief leading his people for many prosperous years. His people, the Stz’uminus First Nations, took his name to honour their chief.
The Chemainus area started as series of quiet bays in the area inhabited by first nations people. The Hul’qumi’num people settled in Kulleet Bay due to the rich abundance of hering and shellfish establishing a permanent village called Shts’emines (English translated name of Chemainus).
First Settlements & History
As the areas abundance began to be discovered by English speaking and island inhabitants, a small town (what you see currently and know as the heart of Old Town Chemainus) began to form. The congregation of the town was slow and steady for many years; establishing their first foray into the forestry industry. As water flowed along the banks and lush forests surrounded the town of Chemainus, it was only natural that this industry would be exploited; bringing with it opportunity and success.
Thriving as a small town tourist destination, those who come are mesmerized by the local artistry that can be seen in everything throughout the town, not just the 40 murals. Store front windows hold local hand made objects and gifts, artisan food destinations dot the town, the parks lovingly adorned with carvings in homage to the culture of our heritage, and slew of festivals and events seen throughout the year all hold those artistic elements close. Keeping large chain businesses away, the authenticity of this town stays true to its values of being a small town. The dreams of what could be take shape more and more every year.
Chemainus is a town where dream do come true, and a town where daily life is truly idyllic.