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Vancouver Island

HOTEL INSIDER: The Wickaninnish Inn — Tofino, British Columbia

By BRITTANY HENDRY

Photo: Russ Heinil

The Wickaninnish Inn (Photo: Russ Heinil)

ABOUT THE HOTEL
Located on the western flank of Vancouver Island, The Wickaninnish Inn is surrounded by unbridled natural landscape, loaded with sea lions, whales and bears. The hotel’s windows allow visitors to gaze out at breathtaking Chesterman Beach, where the surf-worthy waves roll onto the sand and the ocean goes on for miles. Wickannish is a member of the exclusive network of Relais & Chateaux hotels, which guarantees a high level of luxury and comfort.

Start the slideshow tour of The Wickaninnish Inn »

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12 Quintessential Canadian Road Trips

By SHANNON KELLY

Trans Canada Highway, Alberta (Photo: Gord McKenna)

It’s time to think about planning your summer vacation, and if the open road is what you’re craving, Canada—with its stunning scenery and wide open natural beauty—has plenty of options. In fact, one of our best drives, the Banff-to-Jasper route (see Icefields Parkway) in the Rockies, was included in National Geographic’s Drives of a Lifetime book.

Start the slideshow of quintessential Canadian road trips »

Vancouver Island’s Top 9 Things to Do This Fall

On Vancouver Island, summer doesn’t end on Labour Day. When the calendar turns to September and October, we’re just getting started! Here, our local experts list the 10 amazing things to do on Vancouver Island before the weather turns cold. 

Vancouver Island's Top Events for Fall

Goldstream Park, one of Vancouver Island’s top destinations this fall

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Day-Tripping on the Island

While Victoria’s attractions and amenities are sure to keep you busy, extend your visit with a little “Island time.” Need a few ideas? Here are a few of our favourite day-trip destinations.

Milner Garden

Salt Spring & the Gulf Islands

35-minute ferry trip from Sidney/Swartz Bay

Visitors to this tranquil island paradise renowned for its relaxed lifestyle enjoy Salt Spring’s natural beauty, art galleries, studios, wineries and gift shops. Visit on Saturdays and take in the huge outdoor market where the island’s accomplished artisans and farmers display their fine products. Hiking trails at Ruckle Provincial Park, country roads ideal for cycling and wonderful kayaking are among the many possibilities here. (more…)

Rose Anemone: Scuba Diving off Vancouver Island

Submit your photo to our Flickr Group to see your favourite travel shot as part of our Photo Friday feature on Where.ca! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.

Why we chose it: Yes, there’s scuba diving in Canada! Reminding us that photo ops exist below sea level, too, this photographer has captured one of the most beautiful sea-life shots we’ve seen anywhere in BC’s Telegraph Bay. The clarity and detail is amazing and the colours gorgeous. Who needs the Caribbean? (more…)

Perks & Quirks: Seaweed Dreams at Sooke Harbour House, BC

Photo credit: Tourism BC/Tom Ryan

By Kat Tancock

Just an hour’s drive west of Victoria, on Vancouver Island, Sooke Harbour House is renowned for its gourmet restaurant, cozy atmosphere and personal touches—like cookie jars filled with homemade goodies scattered throughout the inn. But it’s the property’s connection with the surrounding natural world that perhaps makes the strongest impression on guests. (more…)

Infused and Smoked Salt from Vancouver Island Salt Co.

By Kat Tancock

“I essentially boil water for a living,” says chef Andrew Shepherd of his salt-producing venture Vancouver Island Salt Co. in rural southern Vancouver Island.

When Shepherd originally came up with the idea, he says, “My friend said I couldn’t do it. He came over and we stayed up all night boiling sea water. In the morning we had a pile of salt. I gave some away and everyone freaked out.”

Why bother, you might ask? Artisanal sea salts, says Shepherd, retain flavours from the bays the water is harvested from, so that each has a unique taste. His salt has a “big, clean flavour” and, he says, can be used in smaller quantities than other salts for the same amount of taste. As for flavours, Shepherd cold-smokes with maple, cherry and other woods, and has been experimenting with infused salts such as balsamic, roasted garlic, mustard and banana pepper.

Local chefs are supporting the venture: Shepherd cites the Harbour House Hotel on Salt Spring Island and the Whole Beast in Victoria as clients, and says that Raincity Grill in Vancouver “actually puts my salt out on the tables and lets the guests know where it’s sourced from”.

Where to buy: In retailers across Vancouver Island and in Vancouver, and online at http://visaltco.com.

Future of Vancouver Island Rail Service Uncertain

Photo by Andriy Baranskyy

By Carissa Bluestone

Concerns about Via Rail service on Vancouver Island surfaced yesterday as the railway ferried the last of its Dayliner cars to the mainland over the weekend. Passenger service has been suspended on the Victoria–Courtenay route since March because of poor track conditions, including thousands of decaying railway ties.

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Road Trip: Vancouver Island Coastal Drive, From Victoria to Tofino

Photo: James Wheeler

By Tim Johnson

A place where the mountains meet the sea, Vancouver Island’s beauty is known the world over. At times wild and untamed, the Island can be equally refined and sophisticated as well as quirky and interesting. Traversing the two-lanes that link British Columbia’s capital with its best-known surf town is a pleasurable experience—especially if you make time for lots of stops along the way. (more…)

Quirky and Cute: Coombs, British Columbia

Tucked away on Vancouver Island, north of Nanaimo off the Island Highway is Coombs, a place that’s become known for its signature rooftop of grazing goats. Under that roof is The Old Country Market, a quirky grocery store that offers a huge selection of breads and sweets made in their bakery, a cheese shop and imported foods that run the gamut from English licorice to bacon-flavoured mayonnaise a.k.a. Baconnaise.

Before you head to the Market to shop, have lunch at Cuckoo in Coombs Trattoria & Pizzeria. The Italian restaurant offers pasta and wood-stove pizza in a large space with wooden tables and rustic tablecloths (which you can buy next door in Zolena). If the weather is nice, sit out back on the patio under the plum trees. Just outside the restaurant is the greenery area with large pots and Chinese statues, shrubbery and small cacti. Nestled in amongst the plants is Zolena, a shop with wool blankets from New Zealand, Chinese silk bags and bangles from India. (more…)

Sleepover: Free Spirit Spheres in Vancouver Island, British Colombia

The Melody Sphere - Free Spirit Spheres Photo: Free Spirit Spheres

You may have stayed in a tree house or maybe even a yurt in your lifetime. But have you ever stayed in a sphere? (more…)

Savour a Taste of Fresh Vancouver Island Flavours

Prepare to indulge in the best food and wine Vancouver Island has to offer this summer at the third-annual Taste: Victoria’s Festival of Food and Wine July 21 to 24.

Focusing on Vancouver Island cuisine and British Columbia wines, the festival is supported by a number of local winemakers, chefs, artisan producers, farmers and fishers – all key players in helping to make Vancouver Island a vibrant culinary destination. (more…)