Category: Vancouver Island

Errington Farmers’ Market

The Errington Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from 10 AM to 1 PM.  It is about a 10-minute drive from downtown Parksville.  Errington is a spot in the woods away from the main Island Highway.  The market itself was a quiet affair due to the pandemic.  If you are wanting really fresh produce, and you are at the beginning of your self-catering trip, this would be a good place to start. The fair is held in a playing field, next to a walking trail.  I imagine parking is interesting at busier times, so keep your wits about you. There […]

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Giovanni’s Ristorante and Lounge Qualicum Beach

It you are planning on dining out in Parksville-Qualicum during a pandemic with its accompanying labour shortage, plan early.  We had a couple of failed attempts at Lefty’s in both Parksville and Qualicum Beach.  In Qualicum Beach we found Giovanni’s Ristorante and Lounge and lucked out with a table for our party of six.  They were working hard in hot temperatures and the demand of being one of the few sit-down restaurants open that hot Thursday nights.  At lot of these places close at 7 PM.  For example, in Coombs, we dined at Cuckoo’s and managed to arrive for 4:30 […]

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Robert Held Art Glass Parksville

When on vacation, I often like to look in on different shops and galleries because for a change I’m shopping for fun, not necessity. One place worth popping into is Robert Held Art Glass. It’s in Parksville on the main 19A highway and is near Rathtrevor Beach and the local bowling alley, Sunset Lanes. There are demos of the art of glass blowing and, as the images show, his capturing of flowers in glass is evocative of impressionism. It’s definitely a spot to go for unique gifts for friends and family. He was working in the back on the day […]

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Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Bowser BC

Vancouver Island University (VIU) has this site called Deep Bay Marine Field Station. It’s located in Bowser, BC, which is about 30 minutes down the road from Qualicum Beach. My family had been curious about it for years and had some bad luck. In 2014 we tried to visit the Field Station and last year (2020) we rebutted by COVID-19, but this year we struck it rich. Between 10 AM and 4 PM they were open. VIU has a research station where they are working on selective breeding of oysters and, more recently, scallops. It’s an industry initiative because they […]

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Coombstock the Hippie Store

We were sad to see in Coombs this summer that Coombstock the Hippie Store was liquidating. The lady working that day made it quite clear that she was unsure what the owner had planned, although online distribution seemed to be in the works. As of writing, there was no dedicated website. Coombstock’s sale, however, inspired my son and daughter to buy cool sunglasses, tank tops, balloon pants, hippie hoodie – overall an Indian Subcontinent meets the hippie movement with some odes to Hawaiian shirts. As you can tell from the sign below, the owner was fairly clear about mask-wearing given […]

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Coombs Antique Attic and Collectibles

For those of you looking for a staircase leading to a Hemp store in Coombs, you now have a new antiques store. Coombs Antique Attic and Collectibles has a variety of memorabilia and a decent selection of Depression glass. My daughter found a selection of old LPs which she took advantage of. The fact someone so young has a turntable is fascinating. My mother was an avid antique collector and I’m always curious to see if instances of her collection show up. If you are looking to decorate a basement hideaway and want it to be retro, they did also […]

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The Dutch Store Coombs

In the last year, a store called Dutch Imports moved and renamed itself to the Dutch Store. I was originally in a kind of industrial mall off Highway 4 and is in Coombs proper and able to enjoy more foot traffic. It’s where the general store used to be. When I entered the place I could hardly believe that we were in that site. Last year the building was pretty rough and now the interior had clearly been completely re-done. The process took from January 2020 to May. Anyone with Dutch heritage, this is a must visit. My family’s interest […]

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Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria in Coombs

Coombs BC is a funky corner of the earth with the Country Market Goats-on-the-Roof and random stores along the highway. It’s not where you’d expect a fine dining Italian restaurant. But here you are in the middle of the market area, across from a big ice cream parlour, and snug next to a Mexican casual outdoor patio. Little Italy. The restaurant is good during a pandemic because they have a lot of patio seating and always have. It’s a little piece of heaven hidden from the world. There were five us in our bubble and we enjoyed a late lunch. […]

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Big Qualicum Hatchery

When you are driving around on holiday, it’s sometime rewarding to decide to follow a sign. We have been on the road to Deep Bay Marine Field Stationin the hopes to be able to walk the grounds. This did not work as the gate was closed. They had decided to not be open to the public due to the pandemic. Other places like Milner Gardens had followed suit, sadly. On the way back to Parksville, we say a sign for Big Qualicum Fish Hatchery. The kids of course seem to get nervous whenever Dad says, “Hey let’s check this out.” […]

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Brickyard Community Park Nanoose Bay

After our search for Notch Hill didn’t work out, I wanted to treat the family to a nice ocean view. I had seen on one of the maps a tiny park right in Fairwinds Community called Brickyard Community Park, which was maintained by Regional District of Nanaimo. This sounded a little more promising that the Fairwinds’ private trails. We drove down to the water past the Fairwinds Golf Course. The area and architecture spoke to me saying, “rich white dudes wearing bad golf shorts.” Had the housing come with price tags, it would have said, “if you have to ask, […]

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