FISHING MAGAZINE - DEPARTMENTS ON-LINE :
Tourism in British Columbia, Canada
British Columbia is a Mecca for tourists and travel as well as an angler's paradise with almost every type of geography and climate. Thousands of miles of coastline along fjord-like shores are habitat to a rich variety of sea life. The province also has countless lakes, rivers, and streams, from shallow low elevation ponds to clear, deep mountain lakes. With a relatively small population, B.C. remains largely unspoiled. The mild climate, spectacular scenery and quaint lifestyle make it a tourism destination.
(PHOTO - RIGHT ) ARRIVAL BY FERRY IN NANAIMO'S DEPARTURE BAY.
on Vancouver Island
Off British Columbia's Pacific coast, Vancouver Island has a reputation as "Canada's Riviera". A mild climate, scenic coastline and rugged mountains attract tourists from all over the world. Fantastic sport fishing for salmon and steelhead trout is just one of the draws. Skiers and snow boarders come to enjoy Mount Washington's slopes. Surfers head for the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino or Jordan River (west of Victoria). The West Coast Trail between Bamfield and Port Renfrew on the Island's west coast attracts adventure hikers. The Juan de Fuca Trail near Sooke and the trails of Cape Scott Park in the north Island are similarly appealing for adventure hiking trips. Sea kayaking is another activity that thousands of tourists come to the Island to enjoy.
BAMFIELD ON THE ISLAND'S WEST COAST
Traveling north or up-Island gives visitors some unique west coast experiences. The heritage of commercial fishing, logging and mining is still evident in some of the communities on Vancouver Island. The cities of Port Hardy, Port Alberni and Campbell River still depend on logging, commercial fishing and mining.
The First Nations, Saalish, Nuh-chah-nulth, Kwakuitl cultures and peoples are unforgettable aspect of Island life. You can visit longhouses at the Saalish Native cultural centre in Duncan, and the Kwakuitl people at their cultural centre in Alert Bay in the north Island. There you can experience culture in the form of ceremonial dances, artwork, and traditional cuisine.
THE BEACH NEAR BAMFIELD.
The west coast of Vancouver Island is the end of the continent. In winter-time the open Pacific ocean comes crashing into the beaches and headlands creating an awesome spectacle of nature's power that many tourists come out to enjoy. During the summer these same beaches can be a tranquil beach playground.
MOORED IN VICTORIA'S PICTURESQUE INNER HARBOUR
The Island's largest city, Victoria, is the capital of the province of B.C. The greater Victoria region has about 350,000 residents. The city lies on the southern tip of Vancouver Island and offers tourists colonial charm in a beautiful natural setting as well as big city attractions like nightlife, theatre, and fine dining. The Royal B.C. Museum has extensive displays of natural and cultural history, as well as hosting temporary international exhibits. Art galleries and antique dealers draw collectors to Fort Street. High tea in the Empress Hotel is a quaint Victoria experience that creates the atmosphere of the British Commonwealth's glory days.
PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS IN VICTORIA
A ride along the water's edge on Dallas Road, from Victoria's harbour out to Oak Bay is a great way to get a feel for the coastline. Drive your own car, ride in a double-decker tour bus, rent a scooter, or hire a horse carriage for a leisurely look at the scenery.
SEA LIONS AT RACE ROCKS NEAR SOOKE
If you're pressed for time and still want to get fair sampling of small town Vancouver Island life head for Sooke, less than an hour's drive west of Victoria. This quaint little harbour town still does a lot of commercial fishing and logging for a living, but tourism is an increasingly important activity. Sport fishing is excellent here, and there are dozens of charter guides working out of the harbour. Marine wildlife viewing tours are also available - you can see grey whales, Orcas, porpoises, sea lions, and seals. Hiking and mountain biking along the extensive park land trails is another draw. The Galloping Goose Trail comes winds from downtown Victoria past Sooke and is a good day trip on a mountain bike.
SUNSET AT BEAVER COVE ON THE NORTH ISLAND
Traveling up-Island along the Island Highway, over the Malahat mountain will bring you to Duncan in the Cowichan Valley. The Cowichan River is one of the most scenic streams on the coast. The name "Cowichan" means Warm Land in the Native Salish language, Fall and winter fishing for salmon and winter steelhead attracts many anglers, and when the river heats up in the summertime it is taken over my tube riders and swimmers. Cowichan Lake, about 30 km long, is popular for boating, fishing, camping and houseboat excursions. Duncan, the city of totems, is mid-way between Cowichan Lake and picturesque Cowichan Bay. The valley is also home to a wine industry. A tour of the local vineyards during the fall harvest is a great reason to travel the Cowichan's picturesque roadways.
A MOUNTAIN LAKE IN STRATHCONA PARK
Half an hour north of the Cowichan Valley you arrive at Nanaimo, the Island's next largest city, with a population of about 80,000. Nanaimo (the Harbour City) makes a good base-camp for touring the whole coast: It's only an hour-and-a-half drive from Victoria, a couple of hours to Campbell River, and about an hour from Vancouver by passenger ferry. Increasingly, Alaska-bound cruise ships are making the Harbour City a port of call.
A CRUISE SHIP ANCHORED OFF NANAIMO IN THE FOG
Since its coal mining pioneer days Nanaimo has always been a great party-town. One crazy excuse for throwing a party is the world championship bathtub race. The snug little harbour hosts thousands of visiting yachts each summer season. The Nanaimo waterfront has every type of marine service needed.
SAILING AMONG THE GULF ISLANDS
North of Nanaimo the oceanside communities of Parksville and Qualicum Beach are justifiably proud of the broad beaches that front these small cities. The wide shallow waters of Parksville Bay and Qualicum Bay are inviting places to swim in the summer. During low tide the sun heats up the exposed sand flats, and when the tidal water returns it is heated to comfortable swimming temperature. these bays are among the few places around the Island where the water gets warm enough to enjoy an ocean swim.
KAYAKING OUT INTO THE STRAIT OF GEORGIA
The next city along the Island Highway is Courtenay. Combined with Comox and Cumberland the area forms an urban centre with a population of around 40,000. Mount Washington ski resort is a short drive to the east of Courtenay. In summertime the slopes are used by mountain bikers and hikers. Comox is home to a Canadian Forces base, and the Comox airport hosts a popular annual airshow.
Return to Fishing Vancouver Island (click here)
TRAVEL GUIDE BOOKS BY ANDREW KOLASINSKI
E-book by Andrew Kolasinski from Hunter Publications. Includes history, culture, attractions, resources of Peru, lots of photos, plus area and city maps. $8.99 U.$
E-book by Andrew Kolasinski from Hunter Publications. Includes traveler's resources, restaurants, accommodation, Peru's history, culture, attractions, lots of photos, plus area and city maps. $5.99 U.$
Printed 256 page book by Andrew Kolasinski. Includes Victoria, Pacific Rim, Gulf Islands, and North Island. With Ocean, Mountain, and Forest Experiences on Vancouver Island. + 25 Detailed Area and City MAPS.
FISHING MAGAZINE - DEPARTMENTS ON-LINE :
Return to Island Angler Home Page