The southern coast of British Columbia is fronted by dozens of islands, the largest among them being Vancouver Island, which is home to several towns and cities including Duncan, Parksville, Tofino, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Hardy, and the provincial capital, Victoria. Between it and the mainland of BC are the Gulf Islands. These include such gems Savary, Galiano, Mayne, Saltspring, Thetis, Gabriola, Denman, Hornby, Lasqueti, Texada, and both Penders (they are a great many others).
In The Islands at the moment (our HOOD palettes are ever-changing), we’re seeing the two blues on the funnel of BC Ferries Coastal Celebration vessel; the brick interior of Victoria’s Habit Coffee; the hot stones in the spa at Sonora Resort; the thirsty August grass at Mile Zero in Victoria; the smooth pebbles of Higgs Beach on Pender Island (tri-colour); purple and orange starfishes; the green of Pagliacci’s exterior in Victoria; sunset on the wooden cabins of Bodega Ridge on Galiano Island; the six shades of a winter storm from the The Pointe Restaurant at Wickaninnish Inn; the blue veins of Beddis Blue cheese from Moonstruck on Saltspring Island; the stunning sand of Savary Island’s better beaches; the light blue of Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria; the copper green dome of the provincial legislature; the yellow of the Mary Jane’s Kitchen sign on Lasqueti Island; a Margarita at Sobo in Tofino.
A WODDEN BOAT MUSEUM IN COWICHAN BAY
GOOD SURFING IN TOFINO AND SOMBRIO
RENAISSANCE BOOKS IN VICTORIA’S BASTION SQUARE
THE SINGULAR EXPERIENCE OF HIKING THE WEST COAST TRAIL
SUMMER BASKING ON WHIFFEN SPIT
THE WIDE AND (USUALLY) EMPTY SUN SWATHE OF VICTORIA’S GONZALES BEACH
GREAT EXPLORING AT FORT ROD HILL
THE VALUE VILLAGE & LOWER JOHNSON VINTAGE HUNT LOOP IN VICTORIA
DITCH RECORDS ON FORT STREET IN VICTORIA
BACH, HAYDN, HANDEL, AND VIVALDI ON REPEAT AT MUNRO’S BOOKS IN VICTORIA
BEACHFRONT CAMPING AT BELLA PACIFICA IN TOFINO
CHOCOLATE DIPPED CONE FROM BEACON HILL DRIVE-IN
PIZZA FROM LA PRIMA STRADA IN VICTORIA
VOLTAGE ESPRESSO STOUT FROM HOYNE BREWING
HABIT COFFEE IN VICTORIA
THE BIG BURGER AT THE SPOTTED BEAR IN TOFINO
SPAGHETTI ALIO OLIO AT ZAMBRI’S IN VICTORIA
ANYTHING AT SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE
STEAK FRITES AT BRASSERIE L’ECOLE IN VICTORIA
CHAMPAGNE SUNDAY BRUNCH AT THE POINTE IN TOFINO
SEASONAL TASTING MENU AT THE COWICHAN VALLEY’S STONE SOUP INN
DEEP FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB AT NORI IN NANAIMO
CAJUN HALIBUT SANDWICH AT THE HUMMINGBIRD PUB ON GALIANO ISLAND
ESPRESSO AT THE TOFITIAN
PIMENTO ROOT HASH AT THE CAFE AT HOPE BAY ON PENDER ISLAND
THE BREAD AT PAGLIACCI’S IN VICTORIA
CIBOLO SHRIMP & KEY LIME PIE AT SOBO IN TOFINO
PEA SOUP AT ULLA IN VICTORIA
- Except for rocky Mace Point, Savary Island is almost entirely ringed by white sand.
- Active Pass (the narrow straight between Mayne Island and Galiano Island) was named after the USS Active, an American survey vessel that navigated the area in 1855.
- “Cowichan” is an English treatment of Halkomelem Quw’utsun, or “warm land”.
- The entirely of the undeveloped 100 acre West Ballenasa Island off Parksville is currently for sale for $1.4 million.
- The old Painter’s Lodge fishing escape in Campbell River was a favourite of Old Hollywood stars, including Bob Hope and John Wayne.
- Tofino’s Sobo restaurant was named one of the Top 10 best new eateries in Canada by enRoute Magazine when it was just a food truck operating out of the Botanical Gardens.
- The body of water that encompasses the divide between Vancouver Island and the mainland – including Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound – was named the Salish Sea in 2010.
- Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada (second in North America only to San Francisco’s).
- In 2010, Kuper Island had its name changed to Penelakut Island in honour of the Penelakut First Nation.
A 24 hour period of merciful nothing opened up before our Vancouver Island trip last weekend, which we turned into a dreamy day and night on Galiano Island staying in an awesome, three bedroom cabin at Bodega Ridge…
How To Get There: A nice drive, curvy drive on Galiano after a quick trip on BC Ferries from Tsawwassen to Sturdies Bay (schedule)
Cost: $150-$200 a night (based on double occupancy).
Accommodation Type: Rustic cabins surrounding a multi-level lodge. Cabins are fully equipped with modern conveniences, cozy beds and full kitchens. Quiet like you wouldn’t believe.
Connectivity: Cell coverage OK. Tethering in cabins. Wireless in the lodge.
Things To Do: We were only there for 24 hours, but Bodega Ridge struck us as the kind of place that one wouldn’t really want to ever leave. Nonetheless, explore the island and hit up the quiet beaches after dodging the hundreds of deer that seem to play “get a load of me” games with the road. Most of all, however, you should stick within earshot of the dinner bell. Mook Sutton from Chambar & The Dirty Apron is on staff making breakfast, lunch and dinner for guests, plus cold, local beer is available and the coffee is roasted nearby.
The GOODS from Bodega Ridge
Galiano Island, BC | Visits to the Gulf Islands just got a lot tastier with a unique partnership between Galiano Island’s Bodega Ridge and Vancouver’s award-winning Dirty Apron Cooking School. Along with having a resident Chef from Dirty Apron onsite leading all food operations, Bodega Ridge’s menus have all been rebuilt and reimagined by Dirty Apron founder and 2011 Vancouver Chef of the Year Nico Schuermans with a focus on local ingredients from Galiano farmers.
Located on 22 acres of stunning coastal property, Bodega Ridge has established a reputation as a destination like no other for retreats, weddings and corporate events. The Dirty Apron Cooking School and Deli offers much more than just classes and sandwiches. Their superb team also does a wide range of catering and special events which makes them an ideal match for Bodega Ridge’s numerous yoga retreats, corporate meetings, special events and weddings.
Chef Mook Sutton has been put in charge of executing the menus at Bodega Ridge and he brings a stellar resume and wide range of experience in kitchens in Toronto, New Zealand and Vancouver to the task. Having settled in Vancouver, this Auckland, NZ native worked at Cin CIn and the Wedgwood Hotel before helping to open Chambar, where he’s been a cornerstone ever since. The Chambar connection will also include the addition of Chambar Ale— Bodega owner Jesse Keefer’s favourite brew– to the taps in the Lodge… Read more
120 Manastee Rd., Box 115
Galiano Island, BC Canada, V0N 1P0
Toll Free US & Canada: 1-877-604-2677
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Jesse Keefer, Proprietor
Prior to his involvement in Bodega Ridge, Jesse was a competitive cyclist competing in elite level races in both mountain and road biking. Jesse is one of the few athletes to earn medals in both road and mountain biking at the Canadian National Championships and won over 40 races in a career that spanned over 10 years, when he wasn’t injured, his bike wasn’t broken or he was upside down in a mud puddle. Jesse has been on Galiano for 6 years and has been visiting since he was a child. Please be sure to track him down and ask him where all the best areas are for outdoor fun on the island.
About Bodega Ridge
Even in the paradise that is the Gulf Islands, Bodega Ridge stands out for its spectacular location and natural beauty. Located near the Northwest tip of Galiano Island, Bodega Ridge is an idyllic setting for retreats, corporate events and weddings.
The seven bright, spacious log cabins and the main lodge which make up the resort are situated on 22 acres of pristine coastal land ideal for year-round recreation. Guests can directly access the hike up to the Bodega Ridge Provincial Park which gives the resort its name right from their door and or just kick back and enjoy magnificent views of Trincomali channel and sunsets over Vancouver Island without leaving the resort.
Positioned in the rain shadow of the Vancouver Island mountains, Galiano Island enjoys significantly less rain than the mainland and most of coastal BC. The West Coast of Galiano Island is dotted with many protected lands and parks and guests can use any of three beach accesses within a kilometre of the resort.
The gently sloping terrain of the property has extensive landscaping, ponds, native plants and rock sculpture. It’s bright and sunny with spectacular meadows, arbutus trees, orchids and wildflowers. There are numerous productive grape vines and fruit trees including fig, pear, plum, peach, apple, kiwi and cherry. The lodge, dining hall and cabins have all been positioned to take advantage of the amazing sunsets.
Bodega Ridge is a Tourism British Columbia Approved Accommodation and is featured in the Lonely Planet as a recommended destination. It has seven bright and spacious log cabins on the property and each is self-contained with three bedrooms, a well-stocked kitchen and private bathrooms. They have all the comforts of home with spacious living areas, cedar decks and both wood and electric heat.
Each cabin is a home away from home and guests can enjoy as much privacy as they desire. Have a soak in the tub, curl up in front of the fire or enjoy the sunshine and views from the deck. Bodega Ridge is a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate.
For visitors who want a little more physical activity, Galiano Island offers a wide variety of superb hiking and biking in a number of parks and protected areas. The Bodega Ridge Team can also arrange boat charters for fishing and sightseeing and Galiano Island even offers a 9-hole course set amid the lush scenery.
Catering and Dining
Bodega Ridge has partnered with Vancouver’s award-winning Dirty Apron Cooking School to offer superb cuisine in the heart of the Gulf Islands. Along with having resident Chef Mook Sutton from Dirty Apron onsite leading all food operations, Bodega Ridge’s menus have all been rebuilt and reimagined by 2011 Vancouver Chef of the Year Nico Schuermans (Dirty Apron, Chambar, Medina) with a focus on local ingredients from Galiano Island farmers.
The Chambar connection continues with the addition of Chambar Ale—a favourite of Resort owner Jesse Keefer—to the draft taps in the lodge.
For complete information including rates, reservations, galleries and contact details, visit www.bodegaridge.com.