Category: Vancouver Island

Snug Cafe Bowen Island

A brief trip to Bowen Island found me in a ferry line up at breakfast time waiting to head back to the mainland. The BC Ferry comes into Snug Harbour Bowen Island and on the Bowen Island Trunk Road, there are establishments meant to service those hanging around for a ferry back to Vancouver. (Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver to be precise.) Bowen Island is odd in that, once you’re there, you feel very far away from Vancouver. However, an 8:35 AM ferry allowed me to be at my desk at 9:30 in downtown Vancouver. But, I had time to kill […]

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Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Bay is a small coastal village on Vancouver Island that’s about a 55 minute drive from Victoria. The objective of our mini off season getaway was not to be in a city and not to feel hustle and bustled. We did however have Victoria obligations. But we were willing to do the drive. Speaking of timing, due to what seem to be normal traffic snarls around McKenzie Ave and the View Royal neighbourhoods, I recommend budgeting an hour to drive into downtown Victoria from Cowichan Bay. Since I’m on the tangent of driving tips, this route has the Malahat […]

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Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay

Cowichan Bay is a village north of Victoria and south of Duncan that is wonderfully off the beaten path. We chose to stay at Oceanfront Suites at Cowichan Bay because it was really the only hotel in town. And with a couple of children, the suite with a kitchenette was helpful as it’s just too expensive to eat out all the time. The kids also enjoyed the pool, even though the change area does need an upgrade. Perhaps the best part was the view from the restaurant. We had a great breakfast there and it was quiet and everyone was […]

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BC Ferries

BC Ferries is a crown corporation that is charge of running the ferry system in British Columbia. Many British Columbians are not sure why. In the same way Torontonians complain about the 401, BC residents love to complain about the ferries. This may be because of continuous fare increases and schedule reductions. For example, a car and drive pays $67 one-way from Tsawwassen – Swartz Bay and in 2008 it was $56. (Source Despite the cost, any of these ferry rides is a beautiful scenic trip. Most visitors to BC are likely to use either Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay, […]

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Gardens of the Cowichan Valley

Gardeners all over the Cowichan Valley are going full tilt this month (May 2013) as blooms are bursting forth everywhere you look. A quick tour of my garden today shows an array of the best ever iris. Rhodos in bright red, white with yellow centres, mauve, pink, magenta and another yet to come. Hostas are getting bigger every day. Lillies are growing taller and getting ready for next month’s display. Meanwhile my newly planted annuals are settling in. Spent the afternoon visiting some very experienced gardeners who love to share their garden successes. Find out more at Jacquie Gordon’s Bed […]

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Beacon Hill Park and its Petting Zoo

I had a free afternoon on a trip to Victoria BC and I was in possession of a restless four-year-old.  The four walls of the hotel room were not conducive to joy and gladness so we made our way to Beacon Hill Park. Beacon Hill Park is located in downtown Victoria and is bordered by Douglas Street to the west and Cook St to the east.  It ends at Dallas Road, but if you cross the road, you will see some amazing ocean scenery. There’s a perfectly fine playground in Beacon Hill Park where my child could climb and play […]

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Gardens To See in Victoria BC

The world famous Butchart Gardens are often the first stop for anyone seeking out notable local gardens in the Victoria area.  Butchart Gardens are a privately owned 22 ha (55 acre) estate that is now a National Historic Site.  The gardens are located 23 km (14 miles) north of Victoria and their street address is 800 Benvenuto Avenue in Brentwood Bay.  These spectacular gardens were begun over 100 years ago and today close to a million people visit them each year.  Visit for more details on hours of operation, admission fees and the many featured attractions of the garden […]

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Wild Flowers on Mt. Tzouhalem

The months of April and May certainly bring out the wildflowers. The south western slope of Mt Tzouhalem, home to Gary Oak Trees has been set aside as a wild flower reserve. Keeping this area free of Scotch Broom allows the sun to awaken the beautiful little flowers and fill the meadow with an amazing array of colour. Today [April 23, 2012] we enjoyed blue Camus, pink shooting stars, yellow spring gold, white saxifrage, and amazingly large yellow balsam root. Growing on the rocky edges are sedums. White Easter lilies are slowly fading and a few chocolate lilies are still […]

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Welcome to the Bathtub Racing Capital of the World!

You may have heard of Nanaimo because of those delicious Nanaimo bars that are sold all across Canada, and yes, it was named after the city on Vancouver Island! But there’s more to Nanaimo than Canada’s favourite dessert! Did you know that this is the ‘Bathtub Racing Capital of the World’? No, seriously! Bathtub racing was invented here in Nanaimo in 1967 with a race between Nanaimo and Vancouver as a way of promoting this quirky little city to the rest of the world. The idea took off and now there’s a bathtub race here on the last weekend of […]

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Enjoy Year-Round Splendour at Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens near Victoria BC is, without a doubt, one of the finest botanical gardens in the world, and is consistently ranked as one of the city’s top attractions, even being honoured with an exhibit in its name at Florida’s Epcot Centre. Whether you plan to visit the gardens for only a few hours, or if you intend to spend an entire day or two taking in the flowers and foliage, you are certain to come away feeling relaxed, and refreshed. Butchart Gardens History and Highlights Built over several decades by Robert Pim Butchart and his wife Jennie, who established […]

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