Youbou is located on the north shore of Cowichan Lake on Vancouver Island. The Lake is over 30 km long, and one of the largest bodies of fresh water on Vancouver Island. Formerly called Cottonwood, it was renamed Youbou in 1914 in honor of 2 of its employees, one was the general manager, a man named Mr. Yount and Mr. Bouten, who was the president of the company. It was built to house the mill employees.
The Empire Lumber Company purchased huge blocks of timber around the area in the early 1900s. The E&N Railway was pushed through in 1912 and logging began in 1913. A small mill was built, the Cottonwood Mill, began shipping lumber in 1918. The Canadian National Railway was extended in 1925. Today the population of the Youbou area is around 1500.
The Sawmill closed in January 2001, it had been in operation continuously for 73 yrs. It was and still is, a real piece of the history of the lake. When the sawmill closed, it severely impacted the economy of the region and the livelihood of families that had been dependent on the mill for generations. But now there is a new economy the is creating real employment again for the area. Eco-Tourism is running the economy now, and there are extensive recreational opportunities, including swimming, canoeing, kayaking, boating, fishing, and hiking available and this is bringing in the tourists.
This is a beautiful little community, colorful and built on a small hillside overlooking the lake, a great place to visit.