Cowichan Lake Sports Arena


Cowichan, B.C.


3,400 square metres




HDR Inc.

Structural Engineer

Fast + Epp

Project Materials


Glue-laminated timber (Glulam)




Solid-sawn heavy timber

Structural Systems

Low rise

Post + beam


Pride of community

Wood played a key role in the refresh of the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, which was upgraded and expanded with a contemporary design.

  • Wood features prominently throughout the 1,200-square-metre addition to the existing hockey arena.
  • The community mobilized to source the equivalent of 15 truckloads of donated wood products.
  • The structure is made of heavy timber and features glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams with solid-wood decking and western red cedar cladding.

Wood reflects Lake Cowichan’s mill town history

The central features of the renovation and addition are made of local wood products, drawing on the historic origins of this forestry town west of Duncan, on Vancouver Island. The revitalization project adds a dramatic new entrance to the 3,400-square-metre facility, as well as large multi-purpose rooms that are easily subdivided, a new concession, viewing areas, an enlarged administration space, and new change rooms tailored to the needs of the local curling and hockey teams.

Wood is a prominent feature in the 1,200-square-metre addition. The designers maintained the contemporary wood aesthetic throughout the building in the finishes and detailing, to provide warmth and favourable acoustic qualities. The dramatic new entrance is warm and welcoming, with use of exposed 2×6 timber decking and glue-laminated timber (glulam) beams. The exterior is clad in tongue-and-groove western red cedar. The interior features birch-plywood millwork and a sprung hardwood gymnasium floor that offers functional versatility, from square dancing to floor hockey. Wood was also incorporated in the new change rooms, where stained plywood lockers and heavy timber benches create a visually harmonious space.

There was tremendous community commitment to source and secure materials, including the equivalent of 15 truckloads of wood products donated by local logging companies and distributors. Groups that host hockey camps are just some of the new regulars at the facility. The community embraced all aspects of renovating the facility, and the use of wood from the region showcases the rich history of British Columbia’s forest industry.