Duncan, BC, incorporated as a city in 1912, population 4932 (2011c), 4986 (2006c). The City of Duncan is located on the east side of Vancouver Island midway between Victoria and Nanaimo, in the Cowichan Valley, surrounded by scenic, rugged mountains. By area, it is Canada's smallest city, covering only 2.07 km2.
The area was first inhabited by the Cowichan ("Land Warmed by the Sun") Nation, encompassing all the independent bands in the valley. The colonial government did not allow non-native settlement in the area until 1862, and although there were 18 200 ha of good agricultural land available, growth was slow until the valley was reached by the Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway in 1886. William Chalmers Duncan, a farmer, led a petition for a station, which was built on his land in 1887. The city was named after him and his son, Kenneth, was its first mayor.
Duncan became the service centre for the valley's main industries, lumbering and agriculture. Copper was found and mined between 1897-1908. Tourism is also important and Duncan is internationally known as the "City of Totems." More recently, Duncan's mild climate has attracted retired people.