Category: Vancouver Island

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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Superheroes on BC Ferries

This isn’t going to be a story where an infant saves a senior from some horrible fate in the cafeteria. Rather, it was a gorgeous summer sailing from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo. We were starting or family vacation at last before the madness of the Fall descends. We were seated near the cafeteria when my son says, in hushed tones, “Dad, is that Jimmy Olsen?” My son had successfully recognized Mehcad Brooks of the TV show Supergirl, which films in Vancouver. Later on the sailing I saw him again and stopped him and introduced my son and daughter to him. […]

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Top 5 Things To Do on Hornby Island

Hike the trail at Helliwell Provincial park. Free admission, easy trail (5kms). Recommend doing it in clock-wise direction for best view of cliffs . Allow time for photos along the way. Lots of great views, including old growth forest, spectacular coastline, seals, flowers. hint: take binoculars if you have them for watching the seals and sea lions. Hornby Island Blues Society puts on several events throughout the year, including a Blues workshop in May featuring several renowned Canadian blues musicians as instructors. hornby-blues.bc.ca/concerts/ Enjoy a great dinner at the Sea Breeze Restaurant. They also have great housekeeping cabins and a […]

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Dutch Imports

In Coombs BC, there is a small little Dutch Imports store right off Highway 4. They are a bright orange and hard to miss, they have everything from Dutch food to little Dutch dish towels. When you walk in the first thing you see is the aisle of Dutch candies, with their specialized licorice. They also carry a variety of other foods, meat, cheese and treats such as Dutch honey cake and speculaas cookies. The service is helpful and friendly, no complaints there. The only complaint I have is something rather unfixable, the location of the store. I’m not the […]

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Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf

In Parksville on Resort drive is Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf, with two mini golf courses that easily serve tourists who stay at the resorts. This summer I stayed with my family at Ocean Trails Resort, one of the places on Resort Drive for about the fifth time in a row. Due to the fact we’ve been staying so long the mini golf has worked its way into becoming a family tradition. They have several attractions on their grounds, bumper cars, arcade, ice cream, and of course the mini golf. Actually playing mini golf is a bit like playing in a […]

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Lefty’s Restaurant in Parksville

Lefty’s is a yummy restaurant in Parksville, B.C. Their menu has many choices with a lot variety, as it is not a “we-only-have-one-focus-that-we-take-way-out-of-proportion” restaurant. Lefty’s has everything from pastas to burritos, literally, when I visited I had a burrito. When I went it was at an odd time, before dinner but after lunch so there were very few people in the restaurant. The waitress came right away with menus and drink orders (I had a Shirley Temple) so no complaints there. However, once we’d decided what we wanted to eat and ordered it took a rather long time for the […]

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Shopping Therapy Coombs BC

Coombs BC is an interesting place. It’s 10 km from Parksville and is noted for its eclectic shopping, specifically Goats on the Roof AKA The Old Country Market. See www.oldcountrymarket.com This was not our first time at the market, but changes had been made as they are refurbishing the non wooden buildings across the street from the main market. Because this market prides itself in being fairly brand-free, the opportunities for unique shopping are good. For example, I was not expecting to find a clothing store called Wabi Sabi, which is a surfer clothing store. Considering the nearest surfing in […]

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Parksville Museum and Farmers Market

The Parksville Museum, which is also called the heritage park, is located right next to the BC tourism info centre off of highway 19A as you enter Parksville via Nanaimo. This small museum works to preserve Parksville’s history. It comprises of a collection of old buildings that have been moved to the site and filled with artifacts dating back to the late 1890s. What’s compelling is the rustic harshness that people who lived in the area had to deal with. They were all trying to keep a connection to the larger world while dealing with the limitations in transport and […]

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BC Ferries – A View

BC Ferries. When you say this name to BC residents, you might not receive entirely enthusiastic responses. Most people place BC Ferries somewhere in the annoying category. Because many Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands communities are cut off without the service, people see it as an extension of the highways and wonder why the cost is so high when most other roads in BC have no tolls. (E.g. a Nanaimo to Vancouver ferry cost $129.15 for one child and three over-12-year-olds and that included the $15 advance reservation fee. The question of why we are charged extra to let BC […]

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