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 WOODEN 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
TATER TOTS & CEDAR SOURS AT WOLF IN THE FOG
PIZZA FROM LA PRIMA STRADA IN VICTORIA
BUTTERMILK SCONES AND A BIG CUP OF FERNWOOD COFFEE AT PARSONAGE CAFE IN VICTORIA
VOLTAGE ESPRESSO STOUT FROM HOYNE BREWING
HABIT COFFEE IN VICTORIA
ALL THE CAKE AT RUTH & DEAN IN VICTORIA
SHIO RAMEN AT KUMA IN TOFINO
SPAGHETTI ALIO OLIO AT ZAMBRI’S IN VICTORIA
5 COURSE TASTING MENU AT AGRUIS BY FOL EPI
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
DINNER AT PILGRIM RESTAURANT ON GALIANO
EARLY MORNING 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
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER AT NOURISH IN VICTORIA
FORAGED AND FRESH GOODNESS AT OLO 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.