The small farming community of Glenora is nestled in the Cowichan Valley, near Duncan on Southern Vancouver Island. About two-thirds of Glenora is devoted to vineyards and farming, while the remainder supports rural and residential lifestyles. There are approximately 250 homes and businesses in Glenora.
A trip through Glenora will delight visitors with fine artists and artisans, wine-tasting tours of Glenora’s three wineries and vineyards, and views of everything from llamas, emus and ostriches to alpacas and wild peacocks.
Other places of interest include a tree nursery and fuscia-basket outlet, a blueberry farm, dairy farms, Bed and Breakfasts, a general store, and an excellent restaurant.
The name Glenora is of Scottish origin, meaning Golden Valley. The name is said to be compounded from the Gaelic word glen (valley) and the Spanish word oro (gold). British Columbia has another community called Glenora, located southwest of Telegraph Creek in the remote Northwest BC. This latter community was important during the Cassiar gold rush of the 1870s.
Location: Glenora is located four minutes southwest of the town of Duncan in the Cowichan Valley on Southern Vancouver Island, 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Victoria. Access to Glenora is on Glenora Road, west off the Island Highway.
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The Glenora Community Hall, managed by the Glenora Community Association, is the heart of the community, and the site of the numerous social events held throughout the year.
The Vancouver Island Wine Route is centred in the Cowichan Valley area. The route begins in Mill Bay and heads north to Cowichan Bay and Cobble Hill. Next stop is Vigneti Zanatta Winery and Blue Grouse Vineyards in Glenora/Duncan. It is a fifteen-minute drive north to the southern end of the city of Duncan and another half-hour drive north to Nanaimo, and the northernmost tip of the Island’s wine-growing region.
Bright Angel Park is a tiny refuge on the banks of the Koksilah River, southeast of Glenora off Koksilah Road. Trails wind through the forest and cross a suspension bridge high above the river. Huge, old Red Cedar and Douglas-fir lean over the river and fawn lilies nod among the trees at Easter time.
Cowichan River Provincial Park is a 750-hectare area stretching almost 20 kilometres, from the village of Lake Cowichan to Glenora. This spectacular park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River and is internationally recognized for its wild salmon and steelhead trout. The park is also known for the historic Cowichan River footpath that winds through dense Douglas-fir and Western Hemlock forest.
The Cowichan River Footpath is an historic 20-km trail that winds its way along the scenic Cowichan River in Cowichan River Provincial Park, from Glenora to Skutz Falls. The Cowichan Fish and Game Association built the footpath during the 1960’s, and although the trail was primarily for anglers, it is now a popular spot for hikers and naturalists. The banks of the river support an interesting diversity of wildlife. This is an easy to moderate level of hiking, and you should allow about 6 hours to hike its length. If you plan to hike the complete trail, it’s advisable to arrange a pick-up at one end. The main trail is well marked, but several older secondary routes still exist, and these are not sign-posted or maintained. The trail is accessed from the grounds of the Cowichan Fish and Game Association.
Hiking: Outdoors enthusiasts can hike a section of the Trans Canada Trail, known locally as the Holt Creek Trailhead. The path begins at the entrance to the Cowichan River Provincial Park. The Trans-Canada Trail Regional Park follows the abandoned Canadian National Railway (CNR) right-of-way from Sooke Lake Road (at the south end of Shawnigan Lake) to the Holt Creek trestle in the Glenora area. The trail will eventually connect with the Galloping Goose Trail and create a continuous Trans Canada Trail from Mile ‘0’ at Douglas and Dallas Roads in Victoria to St. John’s, Newfoundland, with a branch going up through the Yukon, a distance of approximately 17,400 kilometres.
Golf: Golfers have a few golf courses in the area to choose from; Cowichan Golf and Country Club in Duncan (20 minutes from Crofton), Duncan Meadows Golf Course (15 minutes from Crofton), Mount Brenton Golf Course in Chemainus (10 minutes from Crofton), and Arbutus Ridge Golf Club in nearby Cobble Hill. Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
Fishing: Opportunities abound for sport fishing in the area. Anglers can fish along the Cowichan River, one of the most consistent fishing rivers on Vancouver Island. A fishing/hiking path stretches 31 kilometres (19 miles) along the riverbank, providing good access. Fishing the Cowichan River is legendary, with brown trout, rainbow, and steelhead trout, as well as vigorous salmon runs. Chinook, coho, and steelhead that school in Cowichan Bay enter the Cowichan River to spawn in November and December. There’s also a steelhead run in March.
A few minutes east of Glenora is the town of Duncan, which bills itself as the City of Totems, with a public display in the parks and downtown streets of dozens of distinctive cedar totem poles hand carved by local Native artisans. Other attractions in Duncan include the BC Forest Discovery Centre, the Vancouver Island Trout Hatchery, the Cowichan Valley Museum, the Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre, and the world’s biggest hockey stick.
The Cowichan Valley is a place of incredible beauty, with rich culture and timeless traditions. The Cowichan Valley ranges north across the Malahat Ridge from Victoria through the Cowichan and Chemainus Valleys to south of Nanaimo.