Category: Vancouver Island

Bowen Island’s Artisan Square

Bowen Island is a contradiction.  It’s a 20 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay but feels like miles and miles from the Lower Mainland and Vancouver.  In fact I suspect for most people, just getting to Horseshoe Bay makes up the bulk of the travel time. The island is about 6 km wide and 12 km long taking up about 49.94 sq. km.  Like the nearby Horseshoe Bay, which oddly is part of West Vancouver, it’s mountainous and lush.  There are about 3500 permanent residents.  There are both coniferous and deciduous trees on the island and when my family was […]

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Pacific Rim Whale Festival Tofino – Ucluelet

A fluke of timing (yes, I intended the fluke pun) allowed my family to partake in the Pacific Rim Whale Festival, an annual event that March 19-27, 2011 was the 25th anniversary. Significant restructuring of all the closets in our home led us to flee and we chose Tofino as our destination. As we reached the crossroads between Tofino and Ucluelet we say the big banner for the Whale Festival and we said to ourselves, “What whale festival?  Annual?  We live in Vancouver, not Bolton Ontario or some place … How clueless are we?”  Into the tourist office we went […]

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Half the fun of Tofino is getting there

The trip from Vancouver to Pacific Rim National Park, Tofino and Ucluelet is a significant drive but has benefits, most of them visual. When you think about traveling around an island, you don’t often think of mountains.  On Vancouver Island, mountains are very real and have an impact on your driving plans, unless you’re a nitwit like me and forget about the mountains. As you take Highway 19 from Nanaimo (follow the signs to Parksville as you leave the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal) it all seems fairly normal coastal Vancouver Island terrain.  To get to the Pacific Rim, watch for […]

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Jamies Whale Watching Ucluelet

Jamie Bray started out his whale watching trips out of Tofino in 1982, but on the day in March 2011 we wanted to go, we found out that the second office in Ucluelet had a family deal, which meant that the kids were free if there were enough adults.  It’s $99 per person for the whale watching tour.  If you have a child under 5 or a certain height, you are required to do the tour in a covered boat (not a Zodiac).  In this case, our vessel was the Lady Selkirk.  We were early in the season (the Ucluelet […]

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Shelter Restaurant Tofino

March Break 2011:  When restaurant hunting there’s an issue of finding boring enough fare for children that has something the big people will want.  Also it’s tougher when you have no idea what any restaurant in a town is like. Upon entering Shelter Restaurant in Tofino, we were greeted by good looking people who were the 20-somethings that you expect in a downtown Vancouver restaurant (think Earl’s or Cactus Club).  So, I was forced to ask if the place was kid-friendly.  “We love kids,” said the hostess and she produced a kids menu and crayons.  All the staff were great […]

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Courtenay in a Hurry

The editors of this website asked local businesses for the essential recommendations for Courtenay. We asked them: “If you imagine that someone has come to you and they are on a totally tight time line, and asked you these questions, what would you tell them?” 1. Where should I eat that I should not miss in Courtenay? Answer: The Silverado West Coast Grill at the Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community. 339 Clubhouse Drive, Courtenay, BC 2. If I only have time for one outdoor activity, what should I see or do in Courtenay? Answer: Go skiing at Mount Washington […]

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Victoria in a Hurry

The editors of this website asked local businesses for the essential recommendations for Victoria. We asked them: “If you imagine that someone has come to you and they are on a totally tight time line, and asked you these questions, what would you tell them?” 1. Where should I eat that I should not miss in Victoria? Answer:Pagliacci’s 1011 Broad Street Victoria, BC V8W 2A1 (250) 386-1662 2. If I only have time for one outdoor activity, what should I see or do in Victoria? Answer:Butchart Gardens 800 Benvenuto Ave Victoria, BC V8M 1J8 (250) 652-4422 3. Is there a […]

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Parksville In a Hurry

The editors of this website asked local businesses for the essential recommendations for Parksville. We asked them: “If you imagine that someone has come to you and they are on a totally tight time line, and asked you these questions, what would you tell them?” 1. Where should I eat that I should not miss in Parksville? Answer: For Parksville, would be either Mekong River located at 625 Island Hwy, Parksville. Best vietnamese food! Or, Gary’s Bistro in Qualicum Beach. Fun atmosphere, great staff, large variett on the menu! They are located at 115 West 2nd Ave. 2. If I […]

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Port Alberni in a Hurry

The editors of this website asked local businesses for the essential recommendations for Port Alberni. We asked them: “If you imagine that someone has come to you and they are on a totally tight time line, and asked you these questions, what would you tell them?” 1. Where should I eat that I should not miss in Port Alberni? Answer:Breakfast: Pescadores, Hwy 4 at Johnston & River Road Lunch: Swale Rock Cafe, lower Argyle Street Dinner: Aroma Restaurant, 10th & Roger 2. If I only have time for one outdoor activity, what should I see or do in Port Alberni? […]

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McKenzie Beach Magic

Around the world you will find many sacred sites. Ancient rock and mystical tales abound in places like Scotland, England and Ireland. Canada I have been told is a young country. Well the land we walk on is ancient, full of mystery and natural beauty. Tofino is a fishing and tourist town filled with First Nations culture, art and people, hippies living their dream and people who just love the rain forest way of life. For 13 years we travelled to Tofino each winter and for us it became a sacred place. A place to watch the ever changing cycles […]

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