Living in The Cowichan Valley
Real Estate in the Cowichan Valley, from Mill Bay to Cowichan Lake
The Cowichan Valley is located in Canada's only Maritime Mediterranean climatic zone, resulting in the warmest mean year round temperature anywhere in Canada.
Originally named The Warm Land by the First Nations peoples, the Cowichan offers one of Canada's finest climates. A truly unique combination of warmth and moisture throughout the year has resulted in lush plant growth and spectacular vistas. This environment became a desirable location for early farmers. Today, due mainly to its climate, the Cowichan continues to attract tourists, residents, and businesses.
The eastern portion of the Cowichan Region experiences a transitional climate, somewhere between cool Mediterranean and Maritime. It is characterized by warm, bright summers and mild winters. The mean annual temperature and precipitation varies to some extent within the region, depending on the elevation and proximity to salt water. Snow fall is infrequent at ocean level, while a winter snow experience increases with elevation. The dominant winds are from the south-east; however, their influence has been moderated due to the protection of the Gulf Islands.
Duncan has a July mean maximum of 25.2°C (77.4°F) and a July mean minimum of 11.6°C (52.9°F), whereas Cowichan Bay has a July mean maximum of 22.2°C (72.2°F) and a July mean minimum of 12.5°C (54.3°F), which demonstrates the moderating effect of the Strait of Georgia. The January mean temperatures are also moderated.
Much of the eastern coast is located in the rain shadow of the Insular Mountains. However, precipitation varies based on location: 86.3 cm (34.52 in.) in Mill Bay, 96.1 cm (37.85 in.) in Cowichan Bay, 109.2 cm (41.04 in.) in Duncan, 117.6 cm (46.28 in.) in Chemainus, and 102.9 cm (40.51 in.) in Crofton.
Near Cowichan Lake, there is a significant change in climate as it moves into a Maritime climatic zone. Precipitation increases to 212 cm (83.5 in.), and the snowfall is 180 cm (70.8 in.) compared to 75 cm (29.5 in.) in Duncan, or 57 cm (22.3 in.) in Cowichan Bay. The mean temperatures are similar in the summer but are 1°C (2°F) cooler in the winter.