Cowichan Hospice House: The House that Love Built

Stained glass drawing at Cowichan Hospice House

Drawing of stained glass window design for Cowichan Hospice House

Cowichan Hospice House, or The House That Love Built, opened during the depths of the pandemic in November of 2020, thanks to the generous contributions of people from across the Cowichan community, including several who are fund-holders with the Victoria Foundation. Though the house has been serving the community for over a year, one significant piece is still to come—a series of three glorious stained-glass windows inspired by the natural settings of the Cowichan region.

The windows’ creator was Glenn Spicer, a talented sculptor and stained glass artist, who had lived with cancer for 24 years. As it turned out, Glenn would be one of those cared for at the house during its first year of operation.

Glenn’s wife Diane says, “We often said how lucky we were… but we knew that his time was coming to an end very soon. What Glenn really, really wanted was to finish that window. It was… his legacy. He put his whole heart and soul into that. He wanted it to reflect nature because he loved nature and he wanted people to go in that sacred space and connect with nature when they couldn’t go out in the forest.”

As his health deteriorated, Glenn completed two of the stained glass windows commissioned for the sacred space and was well underway with the third before he became too ill to complete it. Within a few weeks, he was welcomed to Cowichan Hospice House to be supported in his final days.

For Diane, Cowichan Hospice House was “like an island of sanity.” “When we first entered it was an enormous, enormous relief. I felt that I was in a place that I could recharge myself to be a help for Glenn. You don’t feel like you’re in an institution. You feel like you are in a sacred place …to share that final journey with the one you love.”

Glenn Spicer and his wife Diane

Glenn Spicer and his wife Diane

She especially appreciated being able to snuggle up with Glenn as he got sicker: “That cuddle bed, what a gift that was! Since Glenn had the hospital bed in April, I had not laid down with him. Forty years with that man… so to be able to do that was the most beautiful thing.”

Cowichan Hospice House welcomes all from the community. It supports patients to live well at the end of life and welcomes those considered family as they care for their loved ones. Well-appointed patient rooms have views of heritage homes and old Garry Oaks, with a sleeping couch and expanding ‘cuddle bed’ in each. A family kitchen, living room and children’s play area provide for the needs of families. The sacred space, where the stained glass windows will be installed, invites quiet contemplation or a gathering where drumming and the use of candles or smudging is permitted.

Cowichan Hospice House is owned by Island Health, which provides the nursing care and operating costs. As part of a cooperative team, Cowichan Hospice staff and volunteers ensure wraparound, whole-person care for patients and family members.

Nicky and Donna working on stained glass panel for Cowichan Hospice House 

Nicky and Donna working on the stained glass panels for Cowichan Hospice House

Before his death, Glenn chose Nicky Lehwald and her mentor Donna Doherty to complete the leading of the glass pieces he had already cut for the final window. It is anticipated that the completed windows will be installed this spring, as the final chapter in the creation of The House That Love Built. At this moment, the windows in the sacred space are bare glass but, when Glenn’s stained glass is in place, they will glow with the colour and beauty of nature in Cowichan.


During the ten million dollar campaign to build the house, Cowichan Hospice established an endowment fund with the Victoria Foundation for those who wish to ensure the long term sustainability of care in the house and in the community.

Take a virtual tour of Cowichan Hospice House.

Learn more about Cowichan Hospice programs at Cowichan Hospice House and in the community.


Cowichan Hospice

January 2022