Welcome to Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, sitting on Canada’s west coast just above the 48th parallel. This is a land of lush forests and blue waters. Bays ringed by white sand beaches and flanked by rocky headlands are home to both calm waters and crashing rollers. The weather rolls in from thousands of kilometres of open Pacific Ocean to shed rain on the forests of giant spruce, cedar and fir that dominate the west of the Island. Exhausted by the trip over the mountains forming the backbone of the Island, the rains give way to a warm Mediterranean climate gracing the east coast and the Gulf Islands.
Vancouver Island is a Favourite Travel Destination
Vancouver Island has a little something for everyone. In 2011, Victoria was rated number seventeen in the top cities of the world by respected Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Condé Nast readers also ranked Vancouver Island number one in Canada in 2012 and the Gulf Islands number five. Moreover, readers of Travel + Leisure magazine ranked Vancouver Island number one for 2012 in the World’s Best Awards category for Islands in Continental U.S. and Canada and tenth worldwide.
These high rankings are a result of the stunning scenery, good food, friendly people and an abundance of indoor and outdoor activities. Hiking, wildlife viewing, sightseeing and visits to our National and Provincial Parks are top draws. In fact, Vancouver Island is the envy of many. Where else in the middle of winter can you enjoy a morning carving turns on the ski slopes, followed by a round of golf or kayak trip during the afternoon while the rest of the country huddles around the fireplace!
Outdoor Adventures Abound on Vancouver Island
This is a land of extremes in geography from the alpine reaches of the Vancouver Island Ranges with craggy, snow-swept peaks, to the dense forests, lush with ferns and thick mosses. In turn, the forests yield to a varied shoreline of jagged rock to smooth soft sand stretching for kilometres. Geography of the land dictates the experience, and adventures abound from hard-core, multi-day backcountry hiking expeditions and west coast kayaking trips, to soft adventure including beach combing with the family, canoeing on local lakes, whale watching and day hiking.
In its formation, Vancouver Island has been subject to a combination of processes including tectonic plate movement, volcanism, erosion and glaciation. The Island is over 32,000 km2, 460 km long and 80 km at its widest point. From the Golden Hinde at 2,200m (7,200 ft.) to sea level, and a range of three degrees of latitude, the Island encompasses a wide range of climatic conditions. Born of fire and ice, Island visitors enjoy the fruits of these tectonic efforts with food and wine produced from the fluvial deposits along the eastern shores of the Island that form the agricultural breadbasket, and the generous ocean that surrounds its shores.
Vancouver Island is for Foodies
Foodies delight in the ever-increasing sophistication and distinctive character of our west coast cuisine from mouthwatering cedar plank salmon and BC Spot Prawns to fresh oysters on the half-shell and delicious local cheeses and meats. Farmers markets, both in towns and at the farm gate tempt you with local delicacies, and oenophiles have no shortage of award winning wineries to visit throughout the second largest wine growing region in BC behind the Okanagan.
People make the place, and Vancouver Island is no exception. Here, friendly people contribute to an unhurried atmosphere, ideal for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation. From the small fishing and logging hamlets to downtown Victoria, stories of people and places are everywhere. We help uncover some of these stories for you in this website along with personal perspectives on Island adventures both mainstream and off the beaten path that you may want to consider. Thank you for reading and enjoy Vancouver Island.