Category: Vancouver Island

Agricultural Fair Coombs

Coombs BC is about 10 km west of Parksville. Every summer for 106 years, there has been the Coombs Fair, which is a flat out good old-fashioned agricultural fair. We for once were in the area when it was being held and decided to join in the fun. There is a dominance of 4-H clubs, which is a group of folks running youth programs in various disciplines. In Coombs’ case, it was animals, arts and small engines. It was interesting seeing young people wrangle rather large cattle with a calm that I wouldn’t have with an animal many times my […]

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Englishman River Falls Provincial Park

Englishman River Falls Provincial Park is located in Errington BC, which is about 6 km from Parksville. It’s my kind of hike (more of a walk, really) because it’s short (3 km) is easy and the scenery is spectacular. There are two falls (upper and lower) that have wonderful views. The lower falls ends in a pool in which thick-blooded individuals were splashing about. The water comes from a mountain and I expect it would be a tad chilly. The park is fairly busy, given there’s a campground attached and is easy access to day trippers as well. But you […]

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Milner Gardens Qualicum Beach

Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach was a visit a long time coming. We visit the Oceanside area of Vancouver Island once or twice a year and, every time we tried to sneak in a visit to Milner Gardens, we’ve been thwarted by scheduling issues. Vancouver Island University came into possession of the 79 acres of seaside walk and botanical gardens in 1996. Make sure to read the History page of the website because the original patrons are super British connected and the gardens have hosted Queen Elizabeth and some of her offspring over the years. For us, we had a […]

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Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria

You know those classy Italian restaurants that have great food and it’s tough to secure a reservation? I do, but honestly what is one doing in Coombs, BC? This tiny town is 10 minutes west of Parksville along highway 4A, also known as the Alberni Highway. This is not the big city! The Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria is a large space with a lot of outdoor seating that looks over the woods that are behind the Goats on the Roof shopping destination. We were connecting with family and friends and others negotiated the reservation and we sat at the Mexican […]

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Sunset Lanes Parksville

What small resort town that has two mini golf places would be complete without a bowling alley? Sunset Lanes in Parksville is at the south end of town and is a small bowling alley that is fun, as a bowling alley should be. We enjoyed 2 frames of 5-pin bowling. If you are with younger kids, they can put up the deflector rails so that newbies don’t get too discouraged by gutter balls. We went on cosmic bowling night, which means you bowl under the glow of black light and look very funny if you’re wearing a lot of white. […]

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Rathtrevor Beach – Sea it to believe it!

For three days and two nights, I was invited to visit my good friend’s family as they spent the last remaining weeks of summer in Parksville on Vancouver Island. I was beyond excited because not only had I not seen my friend in forever (well at least, it felt like that to me) but I had never been to Parksville! I left on a week day, meaning no ride to Horseshoe Bay for me! I took the 257 Horseshoe Bay express bus to the ferry terminal and jumped on the next boat to Nanaimo. It was about an hour and […]

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Tiger Lilly Farm Errington BC

The family decision was to ride horses. Of the four of us, I the eldest, last rode a horse in the early 1990s a couple of years before our trail guide was born. I didn’t feel old at all, no sir. The rest of the gang was equally out of practice or inexperienced. Errington is near Coombs and only 10 minutes from Parksville. Tiger Lilly Farm is a left off of Highway 4A on Errington Road. Tiger Lilly Farm offers trail rides and a farm petting zoo. This part is perfect for younger children, especially those with limited exposure to […]

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Mooberry Winery and Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

On 403 Lowrys Rd, Parksville you will find the Morningstar Farm, which is home to two businesses: the Mooberry Winery and the Little Qualicum Cheeseworks. The Morningstar Log Cabin that greets you. The whimsical and comic layout of both these businesses is to be admired. And it’s refreshing to find because on Lowry’s Road there’s creeping urban development and a Save-On Foods, which I suspect would never stock their products, is a mere 2.3 km away. It’s easy to find your way around the farm. The wines are all fruit wines ranging from apple (close to apple cider but not […]

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Shopping in Qualicum Beach

Qualicum Beach shares tourism marketing with Parksville but are two rather different towns. Parksville has the “miracle mile” feel along Highway 19A with Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza and other national chains. Qualicum Beach on the other hand has only local vendors with lo-branding. The closest is the Quality Foods store, Lefty’s restaurant and the LDB (Liquor Distribution Branch) store. They have other branches in Parksville and, in the case of the government run liquor store, beyond. A few years back a shopping trip to Qualicum Beach yielded so-so results because the stores seemed generic and bland. This trip however […]

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A Coombs BC Shopping Expedition

Coombs is a 10-minute drive (about 10 km) inland from Parksville, which is considered part of central Vancouver Island. We always enjoy a side trip to Coombs when we’re in the area as there’s a couple of favourite shopping spots and there’s always something new. On Highway 4A, our first stop is Dutch Imports because some members of my family enjoy the rather peculiar-to-the-Dutch taste in candy (and other things). Stop here to find 43 types of salty licorice The store has more than odd foods. There’s a lot of traditional Dutch stuff that will make any Hollander homesick. Dutch […]

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