Malahat Proper is a rugged region containing mature forests and steep cliffs. Winding north of Victoria, the Malahat Drive offers spectacular views of the Saanich Peninsula and Gulf Islands.
In the north is the community of Shawnigan Lake, an area noted for its pristine lake views and water recreation. The community of Mill Bay, with its quiet waterfront streets, is found at the north end of the Malahat Drive. Beyond Mill Bay is the farming village of Cobble Hill, located on the southern end of the famed Cowichan Valley.
Vancouver Island University has a regional campus in Duncan that offers programs and courses in university transfer, access, trades and applied technology, health and human services, and career and academic preparation.
Duncan has one public secondary school, Cowichan Secondary School, as well as several elementary and middle schools. It also has one private secondary university preparatory school, Queen Margaret's School, established in 1921 which has a co-ed junior school included. There is also an independent Catholic school, Queen of Angels which continues up to Grade 9. The city is also home to Duncan Christian School. Sunrise Waldorf School and Island Oak Waldorf School serve the Cowichan Valley's Waldorf population. The head offices for School District 79 Cowichan Valley are also located in Duncan.
Brentwood College is a private high school located in Mill Bay. Frances Kelsey Secondary School is a local public high school named after pharmacologist Frances Oldham Kelsey.
Shawnigan Lake home to rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass
Memory Island Provincial Park, a small islet in the lake, was founded in memorial to two Lake residents lost during the Second World War. Also, a local park (Old Mill Park) contains the remains of a lumber mill that was built to support the fledgling village when it was founded nearly one hundred years ago.
Duncan's tourism slogan is "The City of Totems". The city has 80 totem poles around the entire town, which were erected in the late 1980s. In 2007 the city of Duncan deemed copyright privileges of the totem poles in the city.
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