Category: Vancouver Island

Shopping in Coombs BC

Coombs BC takes its hippy heritage seriously. If you can imagine a totally funky market with goats literally on the roof, grazing, you are in the right place. Goats on the Roof Old Country Market is located at 2326 Alberni Highway, west and north of Parksville, and west and slightly south of Qualicum Beach. It’s no more than a 15 minute drive from either town. The market, apart from its unusual roofing, has a deli section, a bakery, a restaurant at the back, a great cheese section, a wild selection of craft items including home furnishings, bamboo fans for cooling […]

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Riptide Mini Golf Parksville

Mini Golf is one of those games where, once at the third hole, and if you were playing fairly, gives you the thought “why did I ever think this was a fun game?” The “no cussin’” signs are appropriate. Parksville has a couple of mini golf courses and RipTide is in the southern end of Parksville’s part of the 19A “old” Island Highway. It services all the Rathtrevor Beach traffic and Resort Drive folks. Riptide has two courses that are consistently themed and decorated in a very imaginative way. I’ll let the photos do the talking on that point. Despite […]

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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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