Tourists and area directors are in disagreement over the name of the area

Tourists and area directors are in disagreement over the name of the area

Is naming confusion a barrier to tourism?

Some town officials are concerned that unclear naming of the area could be effecting tourism.

Lake Cowichan or Cowichan Lake?

While the distinction may be clear to most residents, some officials with the Town of Lake Cowichan are concerned that the branding of the town, most notably the confusion surrounding its name and the name of the surrounding area, is holding back its image and its potential as a tourist destination.

The naming issue however, isn’t just an issue with potential tourists, but even within the Cowichan Valley itself. Councillor Bob Day, who has been leading these recent discussions at the council table, said that even the area directors with the Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) aren’t on the same page when it comes to the name(s) of our community.

“During meetings, regional directors won’t want to say that we live in Lake Cowichan, they’ll say that it’s Cowichan Lake,” Day said. “I’ll joke about it often, that it’s what’s politically correct – we’re on the edge of the Cowichan Valley. It’s a bit silly, but we should all be using one name if we’re trying to sell something.”

The most conventional nomenclature, which the Lake Cowichan Gazette and many other local organizations use, is that Lake Cowichan refers only to the town, while Cowichan Lake refers to the lake itself along with the surrounding communities of Youbou, Honeymoon Bay, Caycuse and Mesachie Lake.

While the topic has recently come up around the council table, Mayor Ross Forrest said that the name confusion is nothing new for the town and that he’s unconvinced that it could be having an effect on the area’s tourism.

“When [tourists] are coming here, they’re coming to Lake Cowichan or they’re coming to Cowichan Lake, it doesn’t matter what they’re calling it,” Forrest said. “It’s nothing that we’ve ever really focused on, but it does come up now and then.”

The town will be hosting a series of Valley-wide “webinars” this summer, one of which, set to take place in late June, is planned to focus on the branding of local communities. Day said that something he hopes that will come from that webinar is less of an emphasis on the “Cowichan” part of Lake Cowichan, seeing as the word could already be used to refer to Cowichan Bay, Cowichan Tribes or the entire Cowichan Valley.

Day also said he hopes the town can adopt an official slogan, and offered “come for lunch, stay for a lifetime” and “BC’s best kept secret” as his own personal suggestions. The town did have a slogan at one point, though “it’s worth the drive” apparently failed to catch on.

“In my opinion, we can’t sell ourselves as an industrial logging town anymore,” Day said. “We should sell ourselves with the lake, as having lots of outdoor activities and great places to eat.”

The slogan could be incorporated into a new town entrance sign as well, seeing how the term Cowichan Lake is more pronounced than the town’s actual name.

According to Day, the sign at the entrance to town is due for an entire redesign. He named the sign at the entrance to Parksville, with its use of timber, as an example of what Lake Cowichan’s own sign should look like.

“It has these big, huge wooden timbers [sic], and that’s part of what we’re about too,” Day said. “There’s not a lot of wow factor [in the current sign], aside from the bears.”

The town has also looked into having a commercial produced to promote tourism. The town’s options have ranged from $3,000 to 35,000, with the priciest package including a redesign of all of the relevant websites and a mobile app. Due to more pressing issues coming up recently, such as the water treatment upgrades, the town has had to pass on that for now.

With proper branding, Day believes, Lake Cowichan could see a rejuvenation in tourism. BC’s best kept secret, as he calls it, would become a little less secretive, and its name much more clear.

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

North Cowichan’s committee of the whole have rejected staff’s recommendation to limit the use of fireworks to Halloween. (File photo)
North Cowichan rejects limiting fireworks to Halloween

Municipality decides staff recommendation would be unpopular

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

CVRD Area E director Alison Nicholson, right, hiked two hours to Waterfall Camp at the Fairy Creek watershed along with Comox town councillor Nicole Minion and Comox Valley Regional District director Daniel Arbour to meet with old-growth logging activists on Monday, June 7. (Submitted)
Cowichan Valley regional director visits Fairy Creek protest camps

‘They clearly communicated that they are committed to what they are doing’

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read