Genoa Bay is located between Separation Point and Mount Tzouhalem on the north shore of Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island, about 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Nanaimo and 5 miles (8 km) east-southeast of Duncan, British Columbia. The bay was named by Giovanni Baptiste Ordano after his birthplace of Genoa, Italy. Ordano arrived in the area in 1858 and opened the first store in the district at Tzuhalem.
Cowichan Bay was the gateway for European settlement of the Cowichan and Chemainus valleys from the early 1860s. In 1984, 44 acres (18 ha) on Mount Tzuhalem was set aside for an Ecological Reserve to preserve the remaining stands of Garry oak. The Tzuhalem area was historically used by the Coast Salish First Nations for harvesting camas. Controlled burns were used to increase yields and maintain the open habitat.
Mount Tzouhalem has an elevation of 1,759 feet (536 m) and was originally named “Shkewetsen” meaning “basking” or “warming in the sun”. According to legend, the local inhabitants fled to the mountain to escape the rising waters of a great flood. When the waters subsided, a frog was seen warming itself in the sun on a large rock on the side of the mountain. The mountain was renamed after a preeminent Quamichan chief who lived here. Tzouhalem was infamous for his combative behaviour, even though his fighting prowess probably helped establish Quamichan as the largest and wealthiest of the Cowichan villages. Tzouhalem was at last banished by his fellow tribesmen because of his frequent murders, and he took up residence in a cave on the side of Mount Tzouhalem. Read more here and here. Explore more of Genoa Bay here: