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Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Company – A Sweets Haven in Chemainus, BC, Vancouver Island

A lot of us share fond memories of candies and sweets overload during childhood. In fact, it’s always a highlight for many important events. However, a lot of people may have not outgrown this predilection to chocolates, toffees and bonbons. If you are planning to visit Chemainus, make sure to visit Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Company, which is home to every imaginable sweet delight to titillate the taste buds and give you a serious dose of sugar rush.

Located on Willow Street in the quaint town of Chemainus, Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Company is a veritable place to find the most succulent candy treats. It’s a candy land for both adults and children alike. I happened to drop by the place with small kids in tow. And as expected, everyone got bright eyed and sported wide smiles at the rare treat of seeing chockfull of candy treats in every color, shape and size.

Chemainus’ Candy Land

The children had a field day checking out rows upon rows of powdered candy tubes, candy corn, salt-water taffy, sour soothers, and so much more. Needless to say, it’s a haven designed to cater to all sweet tooth, young and old. They also offer organic lollipops, which presented a good compromise that the kids and I agreed on.

During our visit, there were a number of families also enjoying their fill of candies. Its no wonder a lot of younger kids succumb into tears and tantrums when its time to leave the shop. For adults, the place takes you back to your childhood years. It’s a great place to visit for souvenirs and treats, which I discovered is actually frequented by both locals and tourists.

A closer look at their selection, you will find that they offer an eclectic collection of modern candies, along with excellent varieties of imported sweets, which you may not be able to find elsewhere on the island. Whether you are on a quick trip or a leisurely vacation, Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Company is definitely worth the stop.

A Sweet Escape, Literally!

Whether you are fond of candies, or you are simply curious about the shop, you are sure to enjoy the experience of going through a full range of candies from all over the world. I personally found the staff amazingly helpful and accommodating, amid the sea of excited children and adults waiting to get their own fill of sweet treats.

Contact Details

Hansel and Gretel’s Candy Company

9748 Willow St, Chemainus, BC V0R 1K1

Phone: 250-246-2059


Whether it’s a short stop over or a weekend trip, Chemainus is a charming town in Vancouver Island, BC, which never fails to draw in tourists and travelers to spend more time and explore its unique attractions. If you are planning to visit the town, make sure to book your accommodations ahead of time. There are a number of options available including one of our sponsors, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Chemainus Inn:


9573 Chemainus Road, Chemainus, BC, Canada, V0R 1K5

Telephone: (250) 246-4181 Toll-Free: 1-877-246-4181


Situated right at the town centre, the Chemainus Inn is located just across Mrt. Brenton Golf Course. For tourists who are seeking close proximity and easy access to all the action and attractions, this is the ideal place to be.

Aside from its ideal location, Chemainus also boasts well-appointed guest rooms that features modern conveniences to ensure optimum comfort. Standard accommodations include a full buffet breakfast, free use of the indoor pool, free Internet access, free parking, as well as free use of their relaxing hot tub, among others.

Whether you are planning a short trip, or a weekend jaunt, you can look forward to enjoying award-winning service Best Western Hotels and Inns are known for.

Re-published from under creative commons license.

Chemainus is a small, charming seaside community 35 km (21.7 miles) south of Nanaimo, tucked right in the heart of the Cowichan Valley. This quaint town draws in thousands of tourists every year from every corner of the world to discover the secrets of what is recognized as one of Vancouver Island’s crown jewels.

Among its famous tourist attractions are the 41 murals, which continually grow in number, easily the largest outdoor art gallery in Canada today. Most of these larger than life art pieces depict the history of Chemainus, along with the latest additions which celebrate Emily Carr’s art and life, a well-respected and loved artist of the island.

To visit all these stunning murals, you can either go by foot on a self-guided tour or you can view these artworks via a horse-drawn carriage. Along with the murals are the string of charming boutiques, pretty bistros, galleries and sculptures, potteries and glass arts, all produced by the highly talented pool of local artisans. 

Beyond Art

Mural painting is not a modern concept. The history of this art form can be traced back through centuries and known to be prevalent in many countries around the world.  So what makes the Chemainus murals unique and well worth the trip? It was primarily designed to spur the economy and used the arts as a strategy to revitalize the town during the 1981 recession. As a mill town, its very existence primarily relied on the mill production.

With pure ingenuity and spunk, the then mayor, Graham Bruce enthusiastically presented the concept. This then became the world-famous example of just how a small town is able to turn things around and successfully create substantial change for its survival. This earned its monicker, “the little town that did”. So more than just the art pieces that are truly breathtaking in person, the very meaning of its existence makes it all the more profound and evocative, making Chemainus one of the most loved places in all of Vancouver Island.

Today, the town is a hub of bustling activity where both locals and visitors alike enjoy what this small village has to offer. Discover for yourself and be captivated at how Chemainus is able to combine old world charm with modern conveniences that is just so rare these days.

Mural in Chemainus

Getting There

Chemainus is easily accessible from different major cities of the island. If you are starting from Victoria BC, travel north and enjoy a one hour scenic ride, the town is just 77 km (46 miles) away. From Nanaimo, it’s a mere 34 km (21 miles), making it a perfect weekend side trip.

• By Bus – You can travel by bus (coach) from Nanaimo and Victoria via BC Ferry Terminals.

• By Ferry – enjoy a day trip to Chemainus via BC Ferries, which takes you on small tour of the scenic Gulf Islands.

• By Plane – the nearest terminal is the Cassidy Airport, which is just a short 10-minute drive north of Ladysmith. If coming from Victoria Airport, it’s a 6-minute drive to the town.


A short day trip is simply not enough to bask and enjoy the unfettered beauty of the town. Stay for the weekend and make the most of it. There are a number of fine Vancouver Island hotels and inns you can choose from in the area, including our sponsor, the BEST WESTERN PLUS Chemainus Inn:

9573 Chemainus Road, Chemainus, BC, Canada, V0R 1K5
Telephone: (250) 246-4181   Toll-Free: 1-877-246-4181   Email:

Whether you are on a business trip or a leisure holiday, Best Western Plus would love to be your temporary home during your stay.

Located at the heart of Chemainus, this Inn is just across the street from the Mt. Brenton Golf Course. If you want to be at the heart of all the action, this is the best place to be. Aside from a guided mural tour all across town, you can also enjoy a number of outdoor activities, such as scuba diving bc, kayaking, fishing trip, whale watching tours, theatre performances and wine tours. A lot of sports fans prefer staying at Chemainus Inn since its just a few minutes away from the area’s top-rated sports venues.

As a guest of the BEST WESTERN PLUS Chemainus Inn, you can look forward to enjoy the luxury of modern conveniences, complete with spacious well-appointed guest suites. Accommodations include a full buffet breakfast, use of the indoor swimming pool, free parking, free Internet access, relaxing hot tub as well as onsite exercise facilities.

Re-published from under creative commons license.

The Mount Brenton Golf Club is a 18-hole facility located in Chemainus BC on beautiful Vancouver Island. The Golf course carved out of a forest with its tall fir trees, creeks and ponds has been in operation since 1948. The Mount Brenton Golf Course has run a Junior Golf Program for many years which has resulted in a well deserved reputation throughout the area.

Mount Brenton Golf Course

Mount Brenton is a membership club with public access and suitable for all types of golfers. The signature hole just over 400 yards is the 18th hole at Mount Brenton, the course name sake.
The facilities include:
• 18 hole course
• Open to public play
• Par 71/73
• 5,825 yards
• Pro shop
• Practice area
• Putting green
• Chipping green
• Lounge & restaurant
• Large parking lot
• Easy to get to off Highway 1
• Golf cart rental

Golf Lessons

The club pros are available to help you improve your game with golf lessons tailored your level of experience.

Contact info:

Mount Brenton Golf Course
2816 Henry Rd, Chemainus B.C.
Pro Shop : Tel: (250) 246-9322 Fax: F: (250) 246-2783
Catering & Restaurant: Chef Mike Morgan, Tel: (250) 246-4948 Fax: (250) 246-2786

Directions to Mount Brenton Golf Course

Located about half way between Victoria, BC in the south and Nanaimo in the north, both of which have major ferry terminals for access from the mainland or Washington State.
From Victoria travel north on Highway 1 then exit right to Chemainus on Henry Road - it is about a 5 minute drive off Highway 1.
From Nanaimo travel south on Highway 1 then exit left to Chemainus on Henry Road - it is about a 5 minute drive off Highway 1.
It is right across the street from The BEST WESTERN PLUS Chemainus Inn.

Chemainus Accommodations

There are a number of hotels, motels and bed & breakfasts to pick from including our sponsors, Best Western:
This elegant suite style hotel, is across from the Mount Breton golf course, near the Chemainus Theatre, the world famous Murals, some excellent whale watching and is a 100% non-smoking Chemainus, British Columbia hotel.
The BEST WESTERN PLUS Chemainus Inn where visitors will experience exceptional customer service and convenient access to a variety of key area attractions in British Columbia’s Cowichan and Chemainus Valley, offers 75 spaciously appointed guest suites, most with a kitchenette. Guests will wake each morning to a delicious complimentary buffet breakfast.
This Chemainus hotel’s additional amenities include an indoor swimming pool, hot tub, exercise facilities and golf. Business travelers will appreciate the hotel’s business services and meeting facilities accommodating up to 20 guests.
Contact Info BEST WESTERN PLUS Chemainus Inn.
9573 Chemainus Rd, Chemainus, BC V0R 1K5
Tel: (250) 246.4181 (250) 246.4181  Fax (250) 246-4184 Toll Free: 1.877.246.4181 1.877.246.4181  Email:
Come and enjoy Chemainus on Amazing Vancouver Island and please tell your friends about us.

Re-published from under creative commons license.


Vancouver Island: Shopping in Chemainus

posted by Chemainus Inn on October 19, 2011 4:52:16 PM

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.

Willow Street  

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).

Outdoor  Market

Summer months bring an outdoor market in downtown Chemainus on Wednesdays


Art Galleries

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

Gift Shops

•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

Free Parking

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

Re-published from under creative commons license.



Chemainus BC Offers World Class Diving

posted by Chemainus Inn on October 13, 2011 2:40:08 PM

Some of the best cold water diving destinations in the world are on Vancouver Island. There is something special for both new and experienced divers. The waters off Chemainus have natural and “man made” reefs which are home to Cloud Sponge , Octopus, Rock Fish, Wolf Els and a host of other varieties of sea life.  Seals can also be seen on some of the reefs.

Vancouver Island  and the Gulf Islands are in a temperate climate zone. The water temperature varies only by a few degrees between summer and winter. The best diving visibility is in the winter.

You can dive Chemainus and discover the world’s first artificial reef made from a sunken Boeing 737 plane.

The Sunken Boeing 737 Artificial Reef

In 2006 the Artificial Reef Society of BC sunk a de-commissioned Boeing 737  in the Stuart Chanel near Chemainus.  The reef is named The Xihwu (pronounced key’ quot) which is the local First Nations  word for Red Sea Urchin which are in abundance.

The reef is protected by Gulf Islands to the east and Vancouver Island to the west. The reef (sunken 737 plane) is about 30 meters (100 feet) below sea level.  It is about 5 meters (15 feet) off the ocean floor.  Divers can enter and swim the full length of the fuselage. You can grab a picture sitting in the captain’s chair.

In just a few years the Xihwu reef has attracted over 100 species and has become one of the most popular scuba diving sites in the region.

Shipwrecks off Chemainus

In addition to the 737 artificial reef there are a number of other reefs created by shipwrecks over the years all offering unique diving experiences.

For experienced divers there is the wreck of the Del Norte, a 60 meter (190 foot) steam side-wheel schooner. This reef is in the Porlier Pass, between two Gulf Islands, Valdes and Galiano.

There are a dozen other popular diving sites in the Chemainus and Vancouver island region, offering a variety of different places to survey shipwrecks or enjoy the marine life of the Salish Sea.

The Salish Sea

The Salish Sea is an overall embracive term to describe the waters from the north end of the Strait of Georgia and Desolation Sound to the south end of the Puget Sound and west to the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, including the inland marine waters of southern BC and northern Washington state.

Cold Water Diving

 To be comfortable diving in these waters you will want a 7mm wetsuit with gloves, boots and hood. If you are planning multiple dives you should consider a dry suit.

Getting To Chemainus

Chemainus is right off Highway 1, the main north-south highway on Vancvouer Island – about a 20 minute drive from Nanaimo to the north and about 1.5 hours from Victoria in the south. Watch for signs for Chemainus, or the Penalakut (formerly Kuper), Thetis Island ferry. Look for the BC Ferries terminal which can take you to Thetis Island. Check the sailing schedule in advance as it is not frequent.

Chemainus and Area Dive Operators

49th Parallel Dive Charters

A top dive operator to dive the 737 reef is 49th Parallel Dive Charters. They are located on nearby Thetis Island which you can get to via a BC Ferry trip from Chemainus. They can service larger groups but they specialize in smaller groups of up to 8 divers. Their boats include a custom 37 foot cruiser and a 17 foot catamaran.

Contact: 250-252-0758

Gulf Islands Explorers Ltd.

Gulf Island Explorers provide scuba diving, sightseeing and fishing throughout the Gulf Islands.  There is a certified dive master available upon request. Dive tanks and air are included in the fees. Onboard services include meals and beverages.

Contact info: Gulf Islands Explorers Ltd.
Gulf Islands Explorers Ltd,  PO Box 494, Chemainus, B.C.  V0R 1K0
Toll Free: 1.877.245.9559  Phone: 250.246.9559  Mobile: 250.246.7866  Fax: 250.246.9559

There are also dive outfitters and charters out of Nanaimo.

Come and enjoy Vancouver Island and please tell your friends about us.

Re-published from under  creative commons license.


With ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ as a ruling concept, the leaders and townspeople of Chemainus turned what could have been the end of their hometown into a renaissance, and became known as ‘The Little Town That Did’.

The Murals of Chemainus

When you see The Murals of Chemainus you understand what words could not say.  Historically and culturally they tell us the tale of the townspeople and the town and speak to us of their survivalist spirit.

Wall Murals Are Not New

Wall murals have been around as long as there have been people who could draw: First seen in 30,000 year old prehistoric caves; often used for ceremony in Egypt, Greece, Rome and India, created as religious Tibetan symbols, and as elaborate a variation as Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, wall murals are not new.

They’ve been used politically in the 1930’s and 40’s as part of The New Deal with the creation of over 2,500 public wall murals, and more modernly used in advertising in the form of billboards. They are a form of personal expression and sometimes protest in the case of graffiti; and yes, it’s even a contemporary and fun way to design the walls of your home.  However, Chemainus utilized this ancient art form differently – to create an economically viable town, on the brink of shut-down.

How the Murals of Chemainus Came to Be

Chemainus, is a coastal town, settled originally by the Coast Salish Natives. A mild climate, many natural resources, and breathtaking views invited a westward immigration of new settlers.  Together these people created Chemainus, a mill town, which was, as most mill towns were, completely economically dependent on the mill.

All was well for more than a century and a half, until 1982, when it was announced that the Town Mill would be closing.  As you can imagine this created significant challenges for these people, but not easily defeated, and unwilling to leave their home, they rallied.

A Chemainus mural by Sandy Clark


Revitalization Project

As they were not the only town having difficulty staying afloat, the BC government created ‘community initiative grants’ for towns like Chemainus, to help in developing revitalization projects.

Graham Bruce, the Mayor of Chemainus at the time, in tandem with Karl Schutz, a resident businessman were creative and energetic – they had an idea that would take Chemainus to the forefront as an example for small towns world-wide. Those two men and a group of townsfolk volunteers harnessed their energy and vision and the Festival of Murals Society came into being.

Murals! Murals! Murals!

Chemainus vancouver island, with its outdoor art gallery, became the first town to grow a new business, tourism, from their wall murals. Starting with just five wall murals in the summer of 1981, Chemainus determinatedly persisted and created a place for itself by depicting its history in art.  With the now 41 murals painted and displayed all over the walls of Chemainus it is no wonder that ‘The Little Town that Did!’ has  been acknowledged world-wide for its amazing artistry, as well as presented the New York Downtown Revitalization Award fin 1983 for its revitalization of the town’s core.  These Murals, and the town that developed them, are amazing and a must-see!

For a sneak peek you can view some of the Murals of Chemainus now.

Known as, “The envy of the world”, Vancouver Island offers clean air, pristine lakes and rivers, secluded beaches and  towering forests, all with a mild climate. There is so much to do whether outdoors or in!  In a region renowned for its many artists and artisans, Chemainus and nearby Salt Spring Island offer the opportunity to explore a variety of boutique shops, antique outlets and artist’s studios; local Galleries feature over 100 BC artists.  For the more outgoing, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, hiking and golfing are readily available.

Have you seen the Murals of Chemainus?   Share with us your favorite things about it.

Re-published from under  creative commons license.


The Chemainus Theatre Festival is a true Vancouver Island star.  Well-known for producing amazing entertainment, like classic, award winning comedies, musicals, and dramas, as well as developing new Canadian classic adaptations and original plays, this professional theatre is dedicated to entertaining and enriching the lives of both Vancouver Island visitors and residents alike. 

Chemainus Theatre Festival

The Chemainus Theatre Festival opened their doors in 1993 and produces 5 mainstage shows annually, in addition to presenting children’s shows during the summer months – yes, indeed, they do stay busy – They must really like what they do.

The Chemainus Theatre

I have to tell you, the building that the theatre is in creates a one of a kind  ”Chemainus Theatrical Festival experience” in its own right.   You walk into an exquisite Italianate building, with domed lobby, which, by the way, houses not only the intimate, state-of-the-art 274 seat theatre (every seat, a great view), but a Dining Room and Gift Shop as well, incorporating visual and culinary arts into the Festival’s repertoire – If you’re anything like me, great food, great shopping and great theatre will make you very happy.  Since the Festival has over 14,000 patrons and 70,000 visitors annually who come from all over Vancouver Island, Greater Vancouver and the Pacific Northwest, you’ll be happily in good company.

The Playbill Dining Room

You can start your amazing evening at the Chemainus Theatre Festival in the Playbill Dining Room. Serving a great hot buffet, seasonal salad bar and an abundance of amazing desserts, they also have a very special menu of regional wines, beers, and estate ciders.  Have a little, have a lot, you really can’t go wrong.

The Gallery Gift Shop

This lovely Gift Shop houses the work of over 100 artisans from BC.  The diverse collection includes pottery, paintings, prints, jewelry, clothing, glass, wood, books and sculpture.  These great gifts are offered in all price ranges and just might tempt you to shop for yourself as well as your friends – I know I’m tempted.

You can create theatre, dinner, accommodation packages and if you’re feeling romantic, you can add a horse-drawn carriage ride to take you to the Chemainus Theatre Festival.  Amazing!

More information about the Chemainus Theatre Festival

Known as, “The envy of the world”, Vancouver Island offers clean air, pristine lakes and rivers, secluded beaches and  towering forests, all with a mild climate. There is so much to do whether outdoors or in!  In a region renowned for its many artists and artisans, Chemainus and nearby Salt Spring Island offer the opportunity to explore a variety of boutique shops, antique outlets and artist’s studios; local Galleries feature over 100 BC artists.  For the more outgoing, kayaking, scuba diving, fishing, hiking and golfing are readily available.

If you’ve been to the Chemainus Theatre Festival tell us about it – we really like hearing about your experiences.

Re-published from under  creative commons license.

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