From breath-taking outdoor adventures and gorgeous gardens to fascinating exhibits exploring the region’s diverse history and family-fun activities sure to induce smiles from all ages, Vancouver Island has it all!
Need a few ideas? Here are some of our postcard-worthy picks…
Adrena Line 5128 Sooke Rd, Sooke, 642-1933 or 1-866-947-9145,www.adrenalinezip.com Professionally guided zipline tours through the forest. See ad page 12.
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, 1040 Moss Street, Victoria 384-4101www.aggv.bc.ca
Engaging, challenging and inspiring…Victoria’s public art museum presents a variety of visual art experiences, styles and media from historical to contemporary art, from Asia, Europe and Canada. The gallery is home to a collection of B.C.’s premiere artist, Emily Carr, portrayed through paintings, writings and archival photos. Featuring WARHOL: Larger than Life, May 30 to Aug. 24, 2008. Open daily.
BC Forest Discovery Centre, 2892 Drinkwater Rd., Duncan, 715-1113.www.bcforestmuseum.com The past, present, and future of forestry.
The Butchart Gardens, 800 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay, 652-5256. www.butchartgardens.com 55 acres of beautiful gardens. See ad page 9.
Butterfly Gardens, 1461 Benvenuto Ave., Brentwood Bay, 652-3822.www.butterflygardens.com Open daily March to October.
Hundreds of exotic butterflies flying free in an indoor tropical paradise. See ad page 8.
Centre of the Universe, 5071 West Saanich Rd., Victoria, 363-8262.www.hia-iha.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/cu/main_e.html Astronomy centre. See ad page 14.
Cycle BC, 950 Wharf Street, Victoria, 866-380-2453 www.cyclebc.ca See ad page 16.
Duncan Totem Tours, Duncan, 715-1700, www.downtownduncan.ca. More than 80 totems are located in Duncan. Guided and self-guided tours are available.
Emerald Sea Adventures, Sidney, 893-6722, 1-888-620-6722.www.emeraldsea.ca Whale Watching. See ad page 11.
Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites of Canada, 603 Fort Rodd Hill Rd, Victoria, 478-5849. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.pc.gc.ca/fortroddhill Step inside Canada’s oldest west coast lighthouse, where colourful displays tell of ships wrecked and lives saved. Explore underground passages, refurnished barracks, and original guns in three century-old coast artillery fortifications. Located on the shoreline only 14km from downtown Victoria.
Government House Gardens, 1401 Rockland Ave, Victoria.www.ltgov.bc.ca
Great Canadian Casinos, 1708 Old Island Hwy, Victoria, 391-0311,www.greatcanadiancasinos.com.
Great Pacific Adventures, 811 Wharf St, Victoria, 386-2277 or 1-877-733-6722. www.greatpacificadventures.com Tours and rentals. See ad page 15.
Hatley Park Castle and Museum, 2005 Sooke Rd, Victoria, 391-2666 or 1-866-241-0674, www.hatleypark.ca Forest, gardens and castle at Royal Roads University. Call for hours and tour details.
Glendale Gardens and Woodland, 505 Quayle Rd, Victoria, 479-6162.www.hcp.bc.ca Beautiful demonstration gardens.
Ladysmith Heritage Walk, downtown Ladysmith. Restored heritage buildings in Ladysmith’s delightful downtown.
Marine Ecology Centre, 9835 Seaport Pl, Sidney, 655-1555.www.mareco.org Mini-marine ecosystems full of living plants and animals. See ad page 11.
Mary Winspear Centre at Sanscha, 2243 Beacon Ave, Sidney, 656-0275, www.marywinspearcentre.ca Everything from comedy to classics year-round. See ad page 9.
Mineral World and Scratch Patch, 9891 Seaport Pl, Sidney, 655-4367,www.scratchpatch.com Hunt for gemstones, pan for gold, interpretive displays, gift store. See ad page 11.
National Geographic IMAX Theatre, 675 Belleville St (inside the Royal BC Museum), Victoria, 953-IMAX. www.imaxvictoria.com
Prince of Whales Whale Watching, Lower Causeway, 812 Wharf St., Victoria, 383-4884 or 1-888-383-4884 www.princeofwhales.com Departures hourly. See ad outside back cover.
Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre, 200 Cowichan Way, Duncan, 746-8119 or 1-877-746-8119, www.quwutsun.ca
The Rockhound Shop, 777 Cloverdale Ave, Victoria, 475-2080.www.rockhoundshop.com Rhodonite, jade, and other local and exotic stone gift items. Gemstone beads, crystals, minerals, and fossils from world-wide sources. Find your gold-panning equipment here too! Also carries jewellery-making tools, supplies and books. A fascinating place to visit. Open Tuesday to Saturday 9:30 to 5:30.
Saanich Historical Artifacts Society Heritage Acres, 7321 Lochside Dr, Saanichton, 652-5522, www.shas.ca Artifacts from our rural past on 29 acres of parkland.
Seaquest Adventures, downtown Sidney, 1-888-656-7599 or 655-9256. www.seaquestadventures.com Whale and wildlife watching and year-round kayak tours and rentals. See ad page 10.
Undersea Gardens, 490 Belleville St, Victoria, 382-5717,www.pacificunderseagardens.com Ocean creatures, live dive show.
Victoria Bug Zoo, 631 Courtney St, Victoria, 384-BUGS (2847).www.bugzoo.bc.ca Welcome to the amazing world of insects and arachnids! Discover more than 50 fascinating species including Canada’s largest Leafcutter Ant Farm. The knowledgeable “Bug Ambassadors” will reveal the exotic secrets of this hidden kingdom and provide interactive and hands-on fun for the more adventurous! Imagine holding a tickling 400-leg millipede that stretches the length of your forearm!
BC Aviation Museum, 1910 Norseman Rd, Sidney, 655-3300.www.bcam.net Near the Victoria International Airport.
CFB Esquimalt Naval and Military Museum and Archives, at Naden in Esquimalt, off Admirals Rd, Victoria, 363-4312.www.navalandmilitarymuseum.org
Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, 1761 Cowichan Bay Rd, 746-4955,www.classicboats.org
Cowichan Valley Museum and Archives, in the old train station, near Duncan and Station Sts, Duncan, 746-6612.www.CowichanValleyMuseum.bc.ca
Craigdarroch Castle, 1050 Joan Cres. (off Fort St), Victoria, 592-5323. www.thecastle.ca Built in the 1890s and furnished lavishly in Victorian-era splendour. See ad page 16.
Craigflower Manor and School-house, at Craigflower and Admirals Rds, Victoria, 383-4627, www.conservancy.bc.ca Built in 1853 and beautifully restored.
Emily Carr House, 207 Government St, Victoria, 383-5843.www.emilycarr.com Visit the artist’s childhood home.
Maritime Museum of BC, 28 Bastion Sq, Victoria, 385-4222.www.mmbc.bc.ca
Point Ellice House, 2616 Pleasant St, Victoria, 380-6506,www.pointellicehouse.ca Historic 1867 home. House tours, afternoon tea in the heritage garden.
Royal London Wax Museum, 470 Belleville St., Victoria, 388-4461 or 1-877-WAX-FACT, www.waxmuseum.bc.ca
Royal BC Museum, 675 Belleville St., Victoria, 356-7226 or 1-888-447-7977 www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca Outstanding museum of human and natural history. National Geographic IMAX Theatre is also on-site.
Sidney Museum, 2423 Beacon Ave, 655-6355. www.sidneymuseum.ca
St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt St, Victoria, 953-8828.www.stannsacademy.com Exquisite historic treasure.
Alberni Golf Club, 6449 Cherry Creek Road, Port Alberni, 723-5422,www.albernigolf.com See ad page 43.
Alberni Pacific Railway, 3100 Kingsway, Port Alberni, 723-1376.www.alberniheritage.com Catch the 1929 steam train at the station for 35-minute ride to McLean Mill National Historic Site. Mid-June to Sept. See ad page 43.
Alberni Valley Museum, 4255 Wallace St, Port Alberni, 723-1376.www.alberniheritage.com See ad page 43.
Bard to Broadway Theatre Society, downtown Qualicum Beach, 752-6813, www.b2btheatre.com Summer-long repertory theatre, June 28 to Aug. 30.
Butterfly World and Gardens, on Hwy 4A, Coombs, 248-7026.www.nature-world.com
Clock Tower Gallery, Harbour Quay, Port Alberni, 724-5999 See ad on page 43.
Cyber City Adventures, 1815 Bowen Rd, Nanaimo, 755-1828,www.cybercityadventures.com Go karts, laser tag and more.
Great Canadian Casino, 620 Terminal Ave., Nanaimo, 753-3033,www.greatcanadiancasinos.com
Heritage Forest of Qualicum Beach, 752-6921. A 50-acre old growth forest a few blocks from the town centre. Parking and several trail access points available around park perimeter.
Horne Lake Caves and Adventures, near Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park, 757-8687, www.hornelake.com Cavern hikes, cave tours, canoeing, rock climbing and more. See ad page 25.
Hummingbird Guesthouse and Charters, 5769 River Road, Port Alberni, 888-720-2114, www.hummingbirdguesthouse.com See ad on page 43.
Lady Rose Marine Service, Port Alberni, 723-8313 or 800-663-7192,www.ladyrosemarine.com Scenic cruises on the Alberni Inlet to Bamfield and Ucluelet from Port Alberni. See ad page 43.
Maritime Discovery Centre, Harbour Quay, Port Alberni, 723-1376.www.alberniheritage.com See ad page 43.
McLean Mill National Historic Site, 5633 Smith Rd, Port Alberni, 723-1376. www.alberniheritage.com Explore B.C.’s forest heritage at a 1925 mill, Canada’s last remaining steam-powered sawmill, completely restored, and Alberni Pacific Steam Railway. Mid-June to September. See ad page 43.
Milner Gardens and Woodland, 2179 West Island Hwy, Qualicum Beach, 752-6153. www.milnergardens.org 60-acre old growth Douglas fir forest surrounds a 10-acre heritage seaside garden. 500-plus rhododendrons; educational tours; afternoon tea available March 20 to October 13. See ad page 25.
Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, 741 Third St., 756-5200. Wave pool, three slides, lazy river and more.
Nanaimo Art Gallery, 150 Commercial St. and 900 Fifth St., Nanaimo, 740-6350, www.nanaimogallery.ca
Nanaimo District Museum & Bastion – Re-opening this summer in the new Port of Nanaimo Centre. 753-1821. www.nanaimomuseum.ca
Nanaimo Harbour Ferry& Cruises, 1-877-297-8526,www.nanaimoharbourferry.com
Nature Mini Golf at Riverside Resort, 3506 West Isl. Hwy, Qualicum Beach, 752-9544 or 1-877-450-2211. www.myriversideresort.com
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, 1240 Leffler Rd, Errington, 248-8534. www.niwra.org Eagles, owls, black bear and other animals that have been ill or injured get some TLC before returning to the wild. Open to the public mid-March through October.
Ocean Outfitters, 421 Main Street, Tofino, 877-906-2326,www.oceanoutfitters.bc.ca See ad on page 27.
Paradise Fun Park, 375 W. Island Hwy, Parksville, 248-6612www.paradisefunpark.net Mini-golf, bumper boats and more.
Qualicum Beach Museum, 587 Beach Rd, 752-5533.www.qualicumbeach.com
Riptide Lagoon Adventure Golf, 1000 Resort Dr, Parksville, 248-8290.www.riptidelagoon.com
The Old School House Arts Centre, 122 Fern Rd West, Qualicum Beach, 752-6133. www.theoldschoolhouse.org Three galleries, gift shop, art classes and working studios.
Tiger Lily Farm, 1692 Errington Rd, Errington, 248-2408.www.tigerlilyfarm.ca Farm activities and animals.
The Whale Centre, Tofino, 725-2132 or 1-888-474-2288,www.tofinowhalecentre.com. Whale and wildlife tours. See ad page 27.
Wildplay Element Parks, 35 Nanaimo River Rd, Nanaimo, 716-7874 or 1-888-668-7874, www.wildplayparks.com Bungy jumping, TreeGo aerial adventure park, King Swing and more. See ad page 21.
World Parrot Refuge, 2116 Alberni Hwy, Coombs, 248-5194www.worldparrotrefuge.org
Cape Scott Water Taxi, Port Hardy, 800-246-0093www.capescottwatertaxi.ca See ad on page 39.
Comox Airforce Museum, Canadian Forces Base Comox, Lazo, 339-8162. www.comoxairforcemuseum.ca
Courtenay and District Museum and Paleontology Centre, 207 Fourth St, Courtenay, 334-0686. www.courtenaymuseum.ca
Cumberland Museum and Archives, 2680 Dunsmuir Ave, Cumberland, 336-2445. www.cumberlandmuseum.ca Coal mine replica, family research centre, women’s history.
Discovery Pier, 700-block Island Hwy, Campbell River Landmark fishing pier ideal for strolls.
Eagle Eye Adventures, Campbell River, 286-0809 or 1-877-286-0809,www.eagleeyeadventures.com Bear, wildlife, whale watching. See ad page 37.
Filberg Lodge and Park, 61 Filberg Rd, Comox, 339-2715.www.filberg.com Heritage lodge and a lovely garden.
Gilda’s Box of Treasures Theatre, 1370 Island Hwy, Campbell River, 287-7310. www.gildastheatre.com Live First Nations performances.
Haig Brown House, 2250 Campbell River Rd, Campbell River 286-6646. www.haig-brown.bc.ca Seminars and workshops on conservation writing and fly fishing.
Henschel Fine Arts, 801 Nimpkish Heights, Port McNeill, 956-3539 or 1-888-663-2787. www.henschel.ca 2,000-square-foot gallery featuring work of artist Gordon Henschel. See ad page 40.
Just Art, #18-1705 Campbell Way, Port McNeill, 866-956-4908,www.justart.ca See ad on page 42.
Maritime Heritage Centre, 621 Island Hwy, Campbell River, 286-3161. www.bcp45.org
Museum at Campbell River, 470 Island Hwy, Campbell River, 287-3103. www.crmuseum.ca Ancient First Nations culture and coastal lifestyles of recent history. Extensive archives research centre, special exhibits and year-round programs. See ad page 37.
Starfish Charters, Port Hardy, 888-363-4741, www.starfishcharters.com See ad on page 39.
Stubbs Island Charters, Telegraph Cove, 928-3185 or 1-800-665-3066. www.stubbs-island.com Whale watching cruises. Reservations recommended; specialty tours. See ad page 33.
Tide Rip Tours, Telegraph Cove, 866-800-4749, www.tiderip.com See ad on page 42.
U’mista Cultural Centre, Alert Bay, 974-5403 (www.umista.ca) or 974-5024 (http://alertbay.ca). First Nations art and culture.
Whale Interpretive Centre, Telegraph Cove, 928-3129. Marine mammal education centre. www.killerwhalecentre.org
The area code for all phone numbers listed in this publication is (250) unless otherwise indicated.