The city of Duncan is named after William Duncan, a pioneer who moved from Ontario to BC in May 1862. He arrived in the Cowichan Bay area along with about a hundred other settlers that were looking to settle on Vancouver Island. He settled close to the present city location and built a little farm, it became a stop on the Island Railway and was known as Duncan’s stop.
He married in 1876, and his son Kenneth became the first mayor of Duncan. The City was incorporated in 1912. The city is located in the Cowichan Valley on southern Vancouver Island, 60 km north of Victoria.
Somenos Marsh is a wonderful wetland located immediately north of the City, somenos marsh nature sanctuary is a crucial winter habitat for waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds and is a great area to view bird, fish, and wildlife. Species commonly sighted around the water include Canada geese, mallards, wigeons, wood ducks and black-headed grosbeaks. Watch for owls in the woods around the marsh and listen for songbirds in the wet meadows nearby. Ospreys, northern harriers, red-tailed hawks and merlins use the marsh as a feeding ground. On the shores of the marsh, you will find the Duncan Forestry Centre, it’s a pretty awesome place to visit.
On the Koksilah River in the Cowichan Valley is the Bright Angel Provincial Park. Trails wind through the forest and cross a suspension bridge high above the river here, red cedar and Douglas firs lean over the river. The Bright Angel park lies within the coastal douglas fir ecological zone where, in the lee of the Vancouver Island Mountains, summers are warm and dry and winters mild and wet.
Cowichan River Provincial Park stretches almost 20 km from the village of Lake Cowichan to Glenora, just south of Duncan. This spectacular Provincial Park protects significant stretches of the Cowichan River, it is known as a first-class recreational corridor. The park is internationally recognized for its wild salmon and steelhead trout fishing and for the wonderful footpath that winds through a dense douglas fir and western hemlock forest along the edge of the river.
Wildlife viewing is great around Duncan and you stand a good chance of seeing black bears, blacktail deer, cougars, elk, otters, beavers and a huge variety of birdlife, down at the sea you could see seals, sea lions, whales and many types of seabirds.