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What's New in Downtown Duncan?

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

It’s summertime in Cowichan! Come downtown and discover what's happening now.

The Covid-19 crisis rattled everyone, but downtown Duncan is not only recovering - it is growing. In the last few weeks, several new shops have opened as well as a food court. Whether you are looking for financial planning, art, food, or a gift, downtown Duncan has lots of new offerings worth checking out now.

People enjoying the Station Street Common. Photo by Ian Locke, CNCLV. Copyright DDBIA

The newest addition to downtown, the Station Street Common food court, opened up in Station Street park on the corner of Craig and Station streets, just in time for the seasonal sunshine. Running from 11am-7pm, Tuesday through Saturday, the Common presents an opportunity to come to Duncan and enjoy take out from our many delicious downtown restaurants while also listening to music under a red umbrella by planters resplendent with roses and boxwood. Pick up some fish tacos from Fresh Kenny’s or a coffee from Tin Cup. Or play some checkers on a life-size board on the grass by star-shaped topiaries and just enjoy the Common’s ambiance. The space is monitored and sanitized by a host to ensure safety.

While you’re sunning in the park, why not go shopping? Aside from the usual mainstays like Outlooks for Men and Cardino Shoes, there are also lots of new shops to discover.

You need to check out VayVay Baby. Photo by Ian Locke, CNCLV. Copyright DDBIA

One of the most recent shops to open is VayVay Baby on 38 Station Street. This lovely new boutique offers baby jumpers by brands like Parade, toy blocks, plush animals, and more necessities for your little one. VayVay Baby has taken over the old Matrea Baby Boutique space and is a perfect spot to pick up a special gift for a friend’s baby shower.

Blocks at VayVay Baby. Photo by ian Locke, CNCLV. Copyright DDBIA

Right next door, The Descendants Native Art Gallery has opened up at 24 Station Street. Suzan Kostiuk of Acho Dene Koe band and Excellent Frameworks – E.J Hughes Gallery notoriety has partnered with renowned Coast Salish artist Shawn Johnny to launch this gallery space featuring First Nations art from across Canada. From Ojibwe artist IceBear to Anishinaabe artist Mike Alexander, The Descendants is full of stunning original artwork worth bringing home.

Stewardship by Andrea Fritz at the Descendants art Gallery. Photo from Facebook.

Over at Little Bird there is also a new gallery addition to the space! Featuring art by late local graphic design artist Dale Nigel Goble, as well as beautiful origami crane mobiles by Trisha Klaus and collages by Bara of Arrow & Longing, the new Little Bird art gallery fully compliments the original space full of cards and gifts.

New gallery space. Photo by Ian Locke, CNCLV. Copyright DDBIA.

Open Monday-Friday from 10am-4pm - visit 163 Station Street to see the new space. Be sure to follow the little white birds on the ground to respect physical distancing guidelines.

Little birds on the floor mark the physical distancing guidelines. Photo by Ian Locke, CNCLV. Copyright DDBIA.

Meanwhile, in the old Limberlost Boutique space at 167 Canada Avenue is Bath Naturals by Sarah. This company sells bath products and other small accessories like soothers catered to children with sensory issues. This charming shop is a great place to pamper yourself or a loved one with a doughnut or floral shaped bath bomb or a candle shaped like a succulent in a vibrant holder.

Bath Naturals by Sarah. Photo by Ian Locke, CNCLV. Copyright DDBIA.

If you are in need of some financial planning, visit John Hirst. Owner of Ravenwood Financial Services Ltd contracted to Sun Life, John has a bachelor in business from VIU. The father of two daughters, this family man specializes in creating a personalized financial plan for clients, including investments and insurance. He has just opened up at 161 Jubilee Street. Call 250.737.3321 for more information.

Meet John Hirst. Photo provided by John.

Of course there are also old favourites like Essential Remedies. During these Covid-19 times it is worth checking out the Barb Smith cloth masks sewn locally, or the Island Essentials oil blends with cardamom and other herbal scents. Essential Remedies also carries some very popular diffusers and smudging herbs to refresh your home after the last few stressful months.

Barb Smith masks at Essential Remedies. Photo by Ian Locke, CNCLV. Copyright DDBIA

Downtown Duncan isn’t just a great place to eat and shop. It is also a good spot to come for entertainment. On Saturdays during the summer after the Duncan Farmers Market closes down, the Old Firehouse Wine Bar will be taking over City Square with themed nights, including a patio party this Saturday the 18th.

The Old Firehouse has set up a funky space in the City Square on Saturdays. Photo from Old Firehouse Facebook.

Whatever you do, come enjoy downtown this summer! Whether new or not, there is lots on offer here, and shops have taken great measures to protect customers. Keep Cowichan strong and buy local!

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