A newcomer’s impressions of his new home

The first thing I heard this morning was... nothing.

The first thing I heard this morning was… nothing. Let me rephrase that, the first thing I heard was ‘the sound of silence,’ to date myself with an old Simon and Garfunkel reference.

Perhaps that’s not such an astonishing statement for those of you who have lived in the Ladysmith-Chemainus area for any length of time. But for me – as an emigre from Victoria, and before that Vancouver, and  long before that Montreal – it comes as something of a revelation.

I’ve been a city dweller all my life, and – by way of confession – my wife and I gravitated to the Cowichan

Valley as economic refugees. Affordability was a big factor in our decision to move. I can happily report, though, that it won’t be affordability that keeps us here, it will be community and environment.


Almost from the moment we arrived, we have felt at home. The people are friendly, the scenery gorgeous (especially for one who loves paddling), the weather ideal. Without getting carried away, I’ll say a superlative more emphatic than ‘nice’ is needed to describe Ladysmith-Chemainus.

But back to the silence: when you can hear silence, it’s real. And the chatter of birds only makes it more so, as do leaves rustling, dogs barking, all the sounds it backdrops. It becomes a sort of tablet your day gets written on.

Then to step out your front door and see a doe and two fawns grazing on your neighbour’s lawn – and remember the hoot-owl that has summoned every evening since you moved in – those become aspects of the tableau.

I hope you won’t find it presumptuous of a newcomer to point out some of the amazing things about the community and environment we live in. I also hope you will recommend places to go, things to do and people to see that will only increase my delight for this, our chosen home.

Criag Spence,The Newcomer