From the moment you enter Youbou, you know you’re in elk country.
“This is pretty cool,” said visitor Fred Bosma. “This is childhood stuff, it’s pretty cool.”
“They’re just gorgeous animals,” said Wendy Stokes.
“They’re just so nice to see,” said the Youbou resident.
The Cowichan Valley town is like nowhere else.
The majestic Roosevelt Elk adorn yards like lawn ornaments, meander slowly across driveways and pictures plaster the local coffee shop, with close encounters.
“Oh it’s incredible,” said Cassy Emerson of Cassy’s Coffee Shop.
“They’ll walk down the middle of the road in herds of 20 or 30 animals right down the middle of the road,” she said.
But four bull elk have everyone’s attention.
“There’s four,” said Wendy Stokes. “There’s Bob, Henry, Mr. Hollywood and Dennis.”
“They live harmoniously with all the people that are here,” said Bosma. “As long as we’re respectful of their environment.”
Stokes is locally known as the elk lady.
“They trust me,” Stokes said.
The Youbou resident does daily patrols to check on them and if something’s wrong with one, she jumps in to help.
Their entanglements in everything from blinds, to rope, and fencing is a pretty regular problem.
The latest was Mr. Hollywood, who needed to be tranquillized by Conservation Officers to remove it.
Youbou is proving itself a town as embracing as any new neighbour could ask for, with a watchful eye out for anyone who may try to do harm to their new residents.
Bringing a wild charm to this one-time mill town, now embarking on a tourist trade it would never have imagined before.