Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Vancouver Island ~ B.C. ~ Canada

Our travels to Vancouver Island which included the BC Summer Games was a time of beautiful weather.  The west coast is often thought of as getting lots of rain but many would disagree and there were many weeks with no rain this summer.  We definitely had great weather for our stay and I wish to share some of the beautiful sights that Vancouver Island offers.

Ferry Crossing
Our ride on the BC Ferries ‘Coastal Inspiration’ left from Tsawwassen terminal and took us through the Georgia Strait while we enjoyed some beautiful scenery of the Coast Mountains far in the distance.

 “Georgia Strait is among the most biologically productive marine ecosystems in the world, providing critical habitat for a huge diversity of fish, marine mammals, invertebrates, shorebirds and marine plants – and it needs our protection.”

Sadly we did not see any sights of marine mammals but we know they are there.

Duncan, BC
Duncan is situated half way between Victoria and Nanaimo on Highway 1.  This city of a population just under 5,000 serves 80,000 people within the Cowichan Valley.  Also called the City of Totems, it has 80 totems around the city, as well as information on the carvers of these impressive totem poles.  A walk around the city will give you plenty of photo opportunities.  Duncan is also the smallest city in the nation, just under one square mile in size.

Admiral of the Fleet
This statue located on the waterfront of Nanaimo is called “Admiral of the Fleet”.  ‘Black Frank’ helped launch the now famous Bath Tub races in 1967.  The pirate costume was worn to promote Nanaimo for many festivities.  Nanaimo was referred to as The Sun Porch of Canada, Jewel of the West and Bathtub Capital of the World.

Nanaimo Waterfront
Nanaino, like many other cities and towns in Canada, was originally established as a Hudson Bay Trading post.  Cannons were used as a defence in those 19th century days, but the original cannons are still being used at a daily cannon firing ceremony at noon.  This ceremony, which includes bagpipes, happens every day from May until September.  We missed this on our visit, so no photo to share.  The waterfront now has several shops and restaurants and interesting to wander along enjoying the sights. Farther along is the park which features entertainment as well as many sculptures by local artists.

Ferry crossing to Denman Island
Following north up Highway 1, also known as the Island Highway, is the original highway on the Island. It weaves along the coastline with several views of the ocean.   There is access to nearby islands via ferry, such as Hornby and Denman Island.  There is also a freeway inland from Hwy 1, which is a quicker drive between Nanaimo and Campbell River, should one not want to enjoy the waterfront views.

Union Bay
Many small communities and towns are along this Island Highway route, including Union Bay, where Keith grew up.  These fairly new sights that can be seen are used for cultivating oysters.  Nearby Fanny Bay is a major source of incredible oysters, known far and wide.  We once saw a sign for Fanny Bay Oysters at Union Station in New York City!  Their oysters are tray cultured, which means they do not touch the ground.  Mmmm Mmmmmm

Ripple Rock
The Seymour Narrows once included underwater twin peaks, called Ripple Rock that created many treacherous situations as ships passed through.  Many ships and lives were lost in this area.  Captain George Vancouver charted these waters in 1792 and said they were the worst waters in the world.  In 1958, the twin peaks were blasted, which helped eliminate some of the turbulence.  Ripple Rock blast was telecast live on CBC, one of the first live telecasts of a Canadian event.

Beachside Oyster Bay
Oyster Bay was where we lived when I started Grade 1.  I caught the bus into Campbell River, where Mrs. Baldry taught me.  Weekends I remember going down to the beach and playing in the driftwood with friends and fishing out there in a boat with my Dad and brother.  I was 5 years old and caught a 5 pound fish, have never forgotten that.

Oyster Bay Shoreline Park View
Once established as a relief camp for the unemployed during the Depression, Oyster Bay was later purchased by a logging company and became a logging community.  Logging was a very dominant business on Vancouver Island and much to my surprise, it is still busy with logging trucks. Logging was what my Dad did for a living so we’d moved around the Island a lot by the time I began school, but this was a long stay for us. I remember it quite well.

Logging dock remnants at Oyster Bay
I remember the old ships out in the water that had been dismantled and used to be a breakwater, although that apparently didn’t work well.  These posts in the photo are what is left of the dock where the logging trucks would back onto then drop their load into the water, logs would then be boomed out into the Bay.  The homes which once lined the highway at Oyster Bay are no longer there, either.

A vocal bald headed eagle
Bald headed eagles are commonly seen on the Island but never do I tire of watching them.  This fellow was busy calling someone who didn’t seem to respond.  He was across the road from the water and had a good view but he was getting, what seemed to be, quite perturbed at having to keep calling.  I enjoyed his performance but wasn’t there to see anyone join him.

Elk Falls Suspension Bridge
Elk Falls is just outside of Campbell River and is a nice visit to make if you are in this area.  The Elk River Suspension Bridge was officially opened in 2015, a vision of the Rotary Club of Campbell River from 2009.  It has successfully become an attraction to draw people to the natural wonder of Elk Falls.  A nice easy walk through the tall trees will take you down most of the way with steps to take you to the viewpoint and suspension bridge.  Not being one to enjoy those suspension bridges, I barely set my foot on it in order to take some photos, and pretended to enjoy that experience! Lol

Sunset in Campbell River, BC
We were parked in the Thunderbird RV Park on what is called the Tyee Spit and joined friends who graciously toured us around Campbell River to see the sights and enjoy our visit.  We saw small float planes coming and going from a nearby base and enjoyed evening walks around the Spit which included seeing this evening sunset.

I've barely covered the beautiful Vancouver Island that we love to visit in this rather long page.  I have touched several stops that we made on our most recent visit but hope to do more in the future.

To see more of Vancouver Island, click here.  More here. 


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