Duncan’s Whippletree Junction – a charming shopping enclave

Pathway to curtyard at Whippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

One of the oldest and quirkiest little shopping enclaves on Vancouver Island is snugged up right alongside the Island Highway just south of Duncan. Whippletree Junction came in to being 47 years ago, the result of relocation of some of the old buildings in Duncan’s Chinatown.  The contract to demolish Chinatown went to a fellow named  Randy Streit, who came up with the bright idea of establishing a small business centre using the aged structures.            Whippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, british ColumbiaWhippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaThe scheme took hold, and over the years many businesses have come and gone at Whippletree Junction.  But many have endured, too, for upwards of three decades.

Gift shop at Whippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, bRitish Columbia

One of the heritage buildings houses a gift shop

Carved beavers on eaves of gift shop at Whippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Detail work on the eaves of the gift shop

These days Whippletree Junction is a colourful conglomeration of charming buildings, garden-lined pathways and a pretty central courtyard that hosts a delightfully funky water fountain (The Trickle Tree Fountain) comprised of old scrap metal.

Tryptich at Solid Gallery and Studio, Whippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Original artwork at Solid Gallery and Studio

All of the businesses at Whippletree Junction are owner-operated, so there is very much a village feel.  You can find all sorts of unique and beautiful items in the eclectic gathering of merchants.  Shops offer locally-produced goods, rattan furniture, Italian leather furniture, reclaimed furniture, original art works, garden décor – all the sort of stuff that you will never find at a mall or a chain store, all of it special because of its distinctive characteristics.

Reclaimed furniture at Whippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Upcycled furniture

There are also a couple of places where you can grab a bite to eat.  Or, you can learn how to spin or weave or enjoy many other aspects of textile arts at Leola’s Studio, tucked away at the back of the courtyard.

Trickltree Fountain at Whippletree Junction, Duncan, Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The Trickltree Fountain

I hadn’t visited Whippletree Junction for probably 35 years, and was delighted to see how well it has survived – nay, thrived!  It is bigger than I remember it, with more diversity, more colour, more charm and charisma, and plenty of life.  It’s a treat to visit and well worth an hour or two of your time.

            Whippletree Junction is located at 4705 Trans Canada Highway, Duncan        wheelchair-l GPS co-ordinates are:

            Lat. 48.738975  Long. -123.652504

            N 48 44.339   W 123 39.150


About Shirley

More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the venerable daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers. In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.
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