Duncan covers 2.07 square kilometres on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, making it the smallest city by area in Canada.
The city has a population of over 4,000 people and is located near the communities of Crofton, Cowichan Bay, Sahtlam, and Koksilah.
Highway 1 runs through the city, connecting it with nearby communities. The Strait of Georgia borders the city’s eastern edge and a number of small lakes and rivers can be found throughout the area.
Duncan is known as the City of Totems, due to the 80 totem poles scattered within its boundaries.
Province: British Columbia
Area: 2.07 km2
The western section of Duncan includes a motorsport circuit, vineyards, a golf course, parks, residential areas, a curling club, schools, churches, a hospital, and a commercial area with shops, restaurants, and service providers.
In the central section of the city, you can find tourist attractions, a lake, a marsh conservation area, a university campus, residential areas, a library, an aquatic centre, a performing arts centre, a bowling alley, parks, a museum, and a number of commercial areas with plenty of restaurants, retailers, and service providers.
Churches, schools, parks, a large lake, residential areas, walking trails, accommodations, and a few small businesses are located in the eastern section of the city.
The BC Forest Discovery Centre is a 100-acre open-air museum that has forest and marshland areas. Walking trails provide opportunities for birdwatching and wildlife viewing. The centre allows visitors to explore the history of BC’s forestry industry through exhibits, heritage buildings, and logging artifacts. The museum also has an operational railway, with gas and steam trains that provide visitors with a unique way to see the centre. A concession area, picnic areas, and a gift shop are also part of the centre. Numerous events are held at the venue throughout the year, including seasonal celebrations.
Art Mann Park is located on the shores of Quamichan Lake and is a popular spot for birdwatching, canoeing, and picnicking. The park has greenspace, a playground, a small sandy beach, picnic tables, lake views, treed areas, and restroom facilities. A small island in the middle of the lake is accessible by canoe. Various species of birds can be found here, including sandpipers, seagulls, and trumpeter swans.
Key industries in Duncan include healthcare, retail, professional services (education, finance, business), construction, manufacturing, cultural tourism, and natural resource-related sectors such as fishing, farming, and forestry. The top employers in the region include School District No. 79, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Cowichan Tribes, Island Savings Credit Union, Cowichan Valley Regional District, Catalyst (manufacturing), and TimberWest Forest Products (harvesting).
The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce provides local businesses and entrepreneurs with networking opportunities, resources and support, promotion, and professional development.
Newer and older mid-priced, single-family homes can be found in the western section of Duncan. Many homes have large, rural-style lots in this section. Affordable condo options can also be found here, as can vacant land.
Older, affordable single-family homes are available in the central section of the city, along with condo options. Plenty of commercial space (retail, restaurant, and industrial) is located here, especially in the downtown area of the city. Vacant land is also available, but can sometimes be pricey.
In the eastern section of Duncan, a mix of older and newer affordable single-family homes can be found. Vacant land is common in this section, and comes at a variety of price points. Land and homes close to the waterfront can be expensive, especially when it comes to luxury-style homes with sprawling lots.
Schools in Duncan include Alexander Elementary School, Duncan Christian School, Cowichan Secondary School, Queen of Angels School, Island Oak High School, Drinkwater Elementary, Alex Aitken Elementary School, Queen Margaret’s School, Ecole Mount Prevost, Maple Bay Elementary, Khowhemun Elementary, and Quamichan Middle School. Other schooling options can be found in nearby communities and include Sunrise Waldorf School, Bench Elementary, Ecole Cobble Hill, George Bonner Elementary School, and Shawnigan Lake School.
Duncan’s only post-secondary option is Vancouver Island University, which offers programs in business, education, health, human services, trades and applied technology, university preparation, and professional development. Other options can be found in larger nearby communities, such as Victoria and Nanaimo.