Canadian Growth City No. 9: Duncan Embraces Beauty, Affordability

Feb 23, 2016

Arrivals Account for 55.6 Percent of One-Way U-Haul Traffic

Duncan Totem Collection. Credit: Richard & Calvin Hunt.

The heart of the Cowichan Region witnessed a good deal more one-way U-Haul truck rentals arriving than leaving its beautiful niche of Western Canada last year.

Duncan, dubbed the City of Totems, captured the No. 9 spot in the U-Haul Top 10 Canadian Growth Cities rankings for 2015.

“We often notice that people come here as visitors and then love the area so much, they make it their home,” Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce president Julie Scurr said. “Duncan and Cowichan have so much to offer: beautiful scenery, mild climate, affordable housing, wonderful outdoor recreation and great services. Foodies love our exceptional farm-to-table sector, and wine lovers are within an easy drive or bicycle ride to excellent wineries.”

Plan Ahead: Reserve a Truck in Advance for Your Summer Move

Growth rankings are determined by the net gain of incoming one-way U-Haul truck rentals versus outgoing rentals for the past calendar year. U-Haul locations in this city saw 55.6 percent of truck rental customers coming into the city as opposed leaving.

Despite the net gain, there was less traffic in Duncan among do-it-yourself movers year-over-year, with a 32 percent drop in U-Haul arrivals and a 29 percent drop in departures compared to 2014 activity.

Quote about Duncan Growth

Duncan sits along the Trans-Canada Highway about halfway between Victoria and Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.  It is the unofficial capital of the Cowichan Valley with its abundant farmlands, vineyards and river systems.  Some contend Duncan and the surrounding areas are among the most beautiful spots in the world.  The downtown area features a new city square with shops, restaurants and vintage buildings.

“Tourism has increased by 10 percent over last year, opening up the market for housing with increased jobs,” said Michelle Benson, U-Haul Company of Vancouver & Vancouver Island president. “I also think people are leaving the Victoria area for less expensive housing in Duncan. You get more bang for your buck whether you are buying or renting a home. Duncan has a lot of offer families, including a fantastic recreational facility, wineries and accessibility to water for sailing to the gulf islands.”

U-Haul migration trends don’t correlate directly to population or economic growth, the growth cities data is a strong gauge of how well cities are attracting and keeping residents.

Additional photo credits: Tourism Cowichan (featured image of Duncan market) and photographer Paul Fletcher and sculptors Harvey Alphonse, Nelson Canute, Cicero August, Richard Hunt and Doug LaFortune (thumbnail of Charles Hoey Park Totems).

Duncan growth facts

More on Duncan

  1. There are more than 80 First Nations carvings located throughout the city. You can find 41 carved cedar poles extending upwards in the downtown area alone, and more than 30 have been erected nearby. Duncan also is home to the World’s Largest Hockey Stick, standing at just over 200 feet and found outside the Cowichan Community Centre.
  2. Moving customers have access to a pair of U-Haul neighborhood dealers located in the Duncan city limits: S T E Rentals (2956 Boys Road) since 2011 and Highway Autobody & Frame (6961 Trans-Canada Hwy.) since 2012.


  • “The exciting thing about Duncan is that we have room to grow within our semi-rural setting. People can have it all: a quiet, safe lifestyle with local shopping and services. In addition, it’s an easy drive to the cosmopolitan centres of Victoria or Nanaimo. And it’s a nice day trip to either Seattle or Vancouver.” — Julie Scurr, Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce president

For tips on moving to this city click here!

What was your favorite thing about living in or visiting Duncan?  Share in the comments.

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