Duncan is a city on southern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. It is the smallest city by area in the nation, the city is about 50 kilometres from both Victoria to the south and Nanaimo to the north. This gives Duncan a much greater population than that contained within the city limits. People in areas of North Cowichan bordering on Duncan usually use Duncan as their mailing city, Duncan is the seat of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. The name Cowichan is an anglicization of Halkomelem Quwutsun, which means the warm land, public transit is provided in conjunction between BC Transit and the Cowichan Valley Regional Transit System. The community is named after William Chalmers Duncan and he arrived in Victoria in May 1862, then in August of that year he was one of the party of a hundred settlers which Governor Douglas took to Cowichan Bay. After going off on several gold rushes, Duncan settled close to the present city of Duncan and he married in 1876, and his son Kenneth became the first mayor of Duncan. There is a Kenneth Street, as well as a Duncan Street, Duncans farm was named Alderlea, and this was the first name of the adjacent settlement. In August 1886, the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway was opened, no stop had been scheduled at Alderlea for the inaugural train bearing Sir John A. Macdonald and Robert Dunsmuir. In the early 1900s, Duncans Chinatown was the centre for the Cowichan Valleys Chinese population. Chinatown was concentrated in a block in the southwestern corner of Duncan. At its largest point, Duncans Chinatown included six Chinese families and 30 merchants who supplied goods and services to the loggers, millworkers, cannery, the city tore the buildings down in 1969 to build a new law courts complex. Some materials from the buildings were used at Whippletree Junction. In the 1980s, the city was noted in coverage related to the 1985 bombings at Narita Airport in Japan and aboard Air India Flight 182, resident Inderjit Singh Reyat purchased bomb parts and a radio used to conceal a bomb at Duncan stores. Duncans 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 poles in the city. The use of the images for commercial purposes requires the City of Duncans approval. Duncan has a large First Nations community and is the home of the Cowichan Tribes
Sign welcoming visitors to the town of Duncan, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.