Chemainus, ‘the little town that could’, best known for its’ amazing wall murals and year-round Chemainus Theatre Festival, has also emerged as one of Vancouver Island’s delightful boutique towns.
Some of the town’s more popular stores specialize in original art, antiques, locally designed women’s clothing, giftware, and coffee and desserts, desserts and more desserts. For example, for baked goods you can pop into the Chemainus Bakery for apple fritters; if you prefer a more European style you can swing over to Utopia Bakery and select from a great variety of fresh breads and Almond Tarts; and the Muffin Mill is, of course, your best bet for muffins
If you can’t resist freshly baked fudge or hand made chocolates then Caravaggio’s is not to be missed; Hansel & Gretel harkens back to a more old fashioned time when the local candy store ‘sold its wares by the weight’; and you might want to cap the day off with a trip to Billy’s Delight & Ice Cream parlor just to make sure you’ve tasted all forms of sweetness available in this very sweet town.
Throughout the compact ‘main shopping drag’, which is located in and about Willow Street, you will find antique stores, fashion outlets, art galleries, gift shops and in and about the stores are restaurants and cafes for a relaxed and refreshing atmosphere. Below you will find a sampling of the shopping fun to be had in Chemainus (some on ‘the main drag’ and some in ‘the charming little out of the way’ places).
Summer months bring an outdoor market in downtown Chemainus on Wednesdays
The Pottery Shop
- Jane Wolters; high fire reduction pottery
- Turning Point Arts; Brad Grigor, digital artist; Peggy Grigor, potter, dramatic crystalling glazes
- Glimpses in Time, Water Colour, Martina Zuidema
- Rhythms Artglass; Claude Duperron; Linda Westrom
- The Gallery at the Chemainus Theatre
- Sheryl Sawchuk Studio Gallery
- Itzyu Designs Natural Fibre Clothing, eco-friendly, locally manufactured line of men and womens clothing, much of it designed by owner Nicki Gurr, and made of linen, hemp, bamboo and cotton
- Degage Fashion Ltd.; hand-washable women’s clothing designed by company owner Sherri Dusseault at her own Vancouver island local factory
The Kinney Clothing Co.; namebrand fashion, housed in a former bowling alley where you actually shop in the bowling lanes
- Willow Antique Mail; there’s a communal artisan space of 20 artistsat the Willow Antique Mall
- Royal Dalton; figurines, rare books, vintage glassware, jewelry
- The Highway Antique Emporium; the size of a barn, this is a vintage mega-store
- Ladysmith’s; also a quite substantially sized Antique Mall, for collectors of all varieties
Pampering and Indulging the Senses
- Vancouver Island Soap Factory; has its own line of Chemainus made Kogi Naturals beauty products
- Willow Street Soaps; fine imported soaps and luxurious bath items
- The Flowering Tree Natural Spa; full spa services using organic skin care products – heavenly
- The Urban Legend; Spa services and hairstyling
Café and Tea Emporiums
- Twisted Sisters Tea Room; dozens of varieties of loose-leaf tea ‘to go’ or indulge in a light tea-time right there
- The Dancing Bean Café; freshly roasted coffee
- The General Store; especially for dishware and wind chimes
- Toad Hall Emporium; an eclectic mix of toys for all ages, kids clothing, and artisan work
- British Allsorts; a mixture of Soccer jerseys and specialty food items
- Gifts & Things; kitchen gadgets, a large selection of gift items, candles & cards
- Sonshine Flowers; fresh flowers, and interestingly enough, they also carry a line of items for dogs
- A Flower Affair; fresh flowers
You can easily find parking and it’s free, a true bonus when strolling leisurely through a boutique laden environment. One ‘free parking find’ is the lot at Waterwheel Park, which is across from the Visitor Centre and convenient to stores and restaurants. While you’re parking there you can also take advantage of the lovely views of the park, itself.
For more Shopping in Chemainus
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