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.
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 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.
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
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.
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
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.