We had our first visitors this week, so we took them on a walk around the village. You know how, even when you're new to a place, you don't always see everything that's there until you're showing it to someone else? Well this is what we saw.
We visited the Cowichan Wooden Boat Society, which we hadn't done yet, and saw some really amazing displays about the history of the area and boat making and a lot of intricate model boats. The wheel above is a miniature thing just hanging out on a railing at the end of the pier. The colors caught my eye, but I love this little detail.
If you keep walking past the Wooden Boat Society to Hecate Park, there's some fascinating art. I don't have any idea of the significance of this carving, but a passerby told me the artist is definitely local and is quite prolific. Now I've got my eyes open for similar pieces.
Walk a little further and you get to a tiny beach with a lovely view back on the village marina.
This is back the other direction, but I have to give you a glimpse of the reason we're here.
It's a widely-held view that True Grain Bread is the best bakery on the island, and I'm fortunate enough to have a baker for a husband. You'll notice that the place is adorned with bicycles, which is a lovely touch, but we didn't have a clue why they were there in such abundance (there are more just out of the frame - some even attached to the outside walls!). But visitors ask questions, and we got the story from a local that the original owner of the bakery loved cycling, so he encouraged folks to bike to the bakery. Back in the day, the parking wasn't parallel, but nose-in, and very tight. Having old junker bikes in front of the building apparently encouraged drivers to stop before they rammed into the front of the place, which I'm told happened with some regularity!
The bikes are also a bit of a testimony to the fact that Cowichan Bay is a Cittaslow community. Basically that means that the folks here have decided that they value community and quality of life more than some other considerations. Only locals own the businesses here, and they all attempt to sell local and organic when possible. The bakery uses flour from grain that is grown right here on the island and milled in the bakery. There is even a wonderful boutique that sell clothes and jewelry made only by local artisans, including some Cowichan knitting, and a few baby hats that I've knit. I'll share more about that shop, The Spinning Ninny, in the future.
I had no idea when I moved here that it was a Cittaslow community, but it suits us perfectly. Now I'm off to ride my bike to the grocery store!