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Family Vacation 2015

Vancouver Island, B.C.

It has been more than twenty years since I have been to Vancouver Island, B. C. and the first time for the kids, so we thought we would do it right and take our time to see as much of the Island as we could in seventeen days. Click on the orange arrows to read more.

1st Destination – Victoria, B. C.

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Victoria is a charming city center. With its Inner Harbour full of activity and life, from the walking paths lining the Strait of Juan de Fueco, to the immaculate gardens such as Butchart Gardens and Beacon Hill Park. We thoroughly enjoyed our five days in Victoria.

Trip Highlights

  • Symphony Splash! It’s just that. People line their camp chairs two rows deep along the edge of the Inner Harbour to get the best spot to view the Victoria Symphony play from a barge in the Inner Harbour. The closing piece had to be one of the best Grand Finale’s I have seen.  The William Tell Overture was played by the Symphony while Fireworks were set off and Canon’s shot to accompany the music.
  • Butchart Gardens – simply a must. One of the most immaculate gardens I have ever seen. I kept thinking, “when do they do all their dead heading?” I never saw anyone working on the gardens, just tourists enjoying them.

Kids Pick

  • Sooke Potholes & Sandcut Beach. Bathing in cold but refreshing pot holes was the perfect thing on a hot summers day. The Sandcut Beach was a nice walk through the rainforest to get down to the beach. Very secluded and private with its own waterfalls.

Favorite Restaurants

  • Rebar
  • Red Fish, Blue Fish (chip wagon on pier), fantastic chowder!

Notable Mentions

  • Victoria is a dog friendly place. Dogs, dogs, dogs, and their people are also pretty nice!
  • A shout out to TONI the street performer. Thanks for an entertaining 20 minute show. Sometimes it really is worth stopping for a few minutes and letting yourself be part of a performance, you always get something out of it and its usually a smile.
  • If you visit Sooke, you must stop at Point-No-Point restaurant. The view from the restaurant is fabulous. Every table is equipped with a set of binoculars just in case of that possible whale sighting. And while you wait for a table, ask if you can go down to their private beach. You won’t be disappointed.

2nd Destination – Ucluelet, B. C.

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I have to confess it took me a while to pronounce Ucluelet /juːˈkllɨt/, but am I ever glad we decided to check it out. We spent five nights in Ucluelet and it gave us a lot of time to explore the West side of the island and do all the things we wanted to do.

Trip Highlights

  • Walking the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet. Light house and Artist’s Loop are nice and easy, offering fabulous views. Mark managed to catch a glimpse of a Wolf and two pups! No fuzzy pics to share I’m afraid.
  • Walking the beaches in Tofino. All of them are worth discovering. And if you catch the fog rolling in, get ready for it. You lose all sense of direction.

Kids Pick

  • Fishing in Ucluelet and catching 80 lbs of Chinook Salmon!!!!! What a thrill for everyone. Thanks to Keith our fishing guide from the Canadian Princess.
  • Zodiac boat ride up through the marine waters of Clayoquot Sound to the Hot Springs located in Maquinna Provincial Park, best part was spotting 4 Gray Whales and enjoying the performance as they showed us their tails. The walk through the ancient rainforest to get to the Hot Springs was impressive.
  • Learning how to surf in Tofino. A 3 hour lesson was all it took and the kids were up and at it.

Favorite Restaurants

  • Sobo, if you get there, try and meet Chef Lisa. Her Cook book is fantastic!
  • Abbondanza Pizzas, fabulous wood-fired pizzas, great for taking back to your hotel to watch the otters clean up at the Marina after the fisherman have cleaned their fish.
  • Kid’s Pick was Howler’s….you can play, eat, and bowl all in the same spot!

3rd Destination – Ladysmith, B. C.

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Our condo rental was actually just north of Ladysmith and about 25 min. south of Nanaimo. It was a lovely spot right on the Ocean. Being centrally located to a lot of areas meant we were able to explore!

Trip Highlights

  • Salt Spring Island, lovely artsy Island with wineries, beaches and quaint little towns. Check out the Salt Spring Cheese Farm.
  • Cathedral Grove, a must stop to walk through some of the 800 year old trees.
  • Chemainus – a pretty little town covered with painted murals on buildings, little shops and a very picturesque main street.

Kids Pick

  • Visiting our friend Ferryn on Gabriola Island and diping in the Pacific Ocean! Yes, it was cold!
  • Hanging out in the pool at the condo and I quote “it is nice to have chill time at the pool”.
  • Viewing the sand sculpting competition in Parksville was impressive!

Favorite Restaurants

  • After our successful fishing trip, we transported our catch to St. Jean’s Cannery to have our fish processed, packaged up and sent home. We did keep one fish though and had it filleted and brought it with us to the condo. It meant our dining for the week consisted of BBQ’d Salmon, Salmon Chowder, Eggs Natasha with Salmon and Salmon Cakes …..yum!

Address

1131 Nottinghill Gate, Suite 203
Oakville, ON
Canada  L6M 1K5

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Travel by Emma TPI is an independent owner, affiliated with TPI.