Category: Vancouver Island

Lefty’s Fresh Food Parksville, facilitated by BC Ferries

It seems we have a tradition with Parksville. It’s Lefty’s Fresh Food, which is a restaurant on the Island Highway. It’s right beside a Thrifty Foods in the same strip mall. We never manage to leave Vancouver early enough to stock up for our stay at Thrifty Foods and have the energy to cook something back at where we stay. Part of the reason that we end up late in Parksville is because of a) we aren’t morning people and b) BC Ferries is odd. BC Ferries charges you extra to book a sailing but they only allow bookings for […]

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A Day in Chemainus

We were visiting family in Victoria in August and decided to drive the hour and a half up Hwy 1 to catch a show at the Chemainus Theatre. As my son is only 7 we enjoyed the matinee of James and the Giant Peach originally a book by Roald Dahl. This production was dramatized by Richard R. George and was just delightful. It was entirely geared to a young audience with songs, audience participation, funny costumes and wonderful puppets. The Chemainus Theatre boasts an entire festival season of 6 to 8 productions throughout the year (http://chemainustheatrefestival.ca). It was lunchtime when […]

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5 Best Kept Secrets of Mayne Island

Carmen at Blue Vista Resort tells us these five secrets. Having Bruce’s amazing chowder at the Sunny Mayne Bakery Seeing the sea lion colony off the shores of Bennett Bay by kayaking out with Bennett Bay Kayak tours or your own kayaks Snorkeling near Piggott’s Bay and seeing the giant mollusks just at the entry to Navy Channel Cruising with Mayne InterIsland Sea Tours for a cold Beer at Saturna’s Lighthouse Pub Don’t miss the Mayne Island Fall Fair, which happens in August!

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Noodle Box

A couple of months back I was sitting with some friends and we were discussing good food places to eat at because let’s face it, I am a food junkie. One of my friends said that they had just gotten a job at this place called Noodle Box. All that was going on in my head was Noodles…. Sounds amazing…. Where is this place and where can I get some? The following day I told my friend about it and we decided to go because it was five minutes away from my school. When we got there the place had […]

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Brand free or Bland? Qualicum Beach vs Coombs Shopping

With the exception of banks, pharmacies and gas stations, Qualicum Beach is fairly brand free. This does not mean that there’s no shopping. There’s a lot of knick-knack, clothing stores, independent coffee shops like Bailey’s and perhaps the last video store in existence called Catacombs Video. A partial list is here: www.qualicumbeachdowntown.ca/p/shop.html We did find an antique store that had everything. Good quality antique glassware (it may be a rustic shop, but he knows his stuff) along with old LPs, some comic books and memorabilia from the 50s and 60s. There’s enough stuff to fill a man cave / basement […]

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Buena Vista by the Sea – an Oceanside Escape

Qualicum Beach is an unusual town in that its town centre is inland from its amazing seascape, which is right on Highway 19A, suitably called the Oceanside Route. (In fact the tourism board for the area was called Oceanside Tourism, but changed to Parksville Qualicum Beach Tourism. Oceanside is a bit generic, so I see why they made the change, but the romance is lost for me.) Along Highway 19A there is a series of accommodations that are perched on the water. One we stayed at was Buena Vista by the Sea, which has x oceanfront suites. Because of the […]

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Mini Golf has never been this Kitsch

Parksville as a town was always a bit more commercial than its neighbour Qualicum Beach. In recent years with more swanky resorts appearing in Parksville, you start to see the shift away from the classic beach, sunburns, ice cream and burger stand kind of holiday. To prove this all wrong, there’s Paradise Mini Golf and Fun Park. It is a combination of faux castle, mini golf, water bumper cars, a games room, a cheesy gift shop, and RV Park and a Motel (Paradise Seashell). It’s awesome. The mini golf has two courses which can be very annoying. It’s the only […]

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An Accidental Trip to Deep Bay

We were visiting Qualicum Beach (staying at Buena Vista by-the-Sea) and we decided to do something educational for the kids, specifically the Deep Bay Marine Field Station. This is further down the 19A highway/Oceanside, about 25 km from our motel. It is past Bowser (can’t help but thing of a barking dog) and down a series of streets and a gravel road. Sadly, we picked a day that the place was closed for a private function. Important tip: check their website in advance. There was a sign at the highway saying it was closed, but I was determine to double […]

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Cryptid Tourism in BC?

Cameron Lake, which is about 22 km from Port Alberni and 20 km from Qualicum Beach is supposed to have a strange creature that’s silvery and serpentine, but no one is sure what it is. Such mysteries fall under the category of cryptozoology and in keeping with British Columbia’s tradition of nuttiness, there’s an actual organization called the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club (bcscc.ca) that takes a serious approach to various mysteries. Given the lake monster Ogopogo in Kelowna and Sasquatch having its naissance in Harrison Hot Springs, you could create quite an interesting travel itinerary. This local Vancouver newspaper […]

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Tofino, surf capital of Canada

When you think “surfing” you rarely think “Canada”. However, anyone who knows anything about Tofino knows about surfing. But it’s not the California or Hawaii surfing. Think 10 degrees Celsius water temperature and lots of rain. Tofino is at the edge of the Clayquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and in the middle of the Pacific Rim National Park. One of my favourite things to do is to head down to the dock where you can find the official sign indicating the end of Highway 1 at the bottom of First Street. Imagine that only Pacific Ocean is between you and […]

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