After visiting Big White and Kelowna on our British Columbia road trip, we were en route to Vancouver Island! We enjoyed a very quick one night stop in Vancouver at the Windsor Guest House Bed & Breakfast, and enjoyed the most delicious seafood dinner on Granville Island at the Vancouver Fish Company, which overlooks the marina. I tried my first Aperol Spritz and it blew my mind (must learn how to make at home), but not as much as the salmon, scallops, shrimp, and mascarpone whipped potatoes did. I’ll be dreaming of that meal for years! The seafood here on the prairies just doesn’t compare.
As we arrived in Vancouver in the evening, most of the shops on Granville Island were already closed which was a shame because it looked like an interesting mix of stores. We did manage to sneak into the Granville Island Brewery after dinner and pick up a few drinking glasses for home, as well as a growler for Nathan. I wish we had more time in the area, but the island was calling us! The next day, we took an early morning ferry over to Vancouver Island. I was pretty green around the gills and sat on the top deck in the fresh air, watching the fog roll across the water which was quite moody and beautiful.
We took a quick pit stop at Qualicum Beach after arriving on Vancouver Island. By this time, the sun was shining and the salty air was blowing, and it felt SO good being near the ocean again! There’s something about being by water that resonates with me. We dipped our toes into the ocean and did a bit of beach combing, picking up a few pretty rocks that are now hanging out on our living room table.
After a bit of time on the beach, we visited the Coombs Old Country Market, or as it is also fondly called, Goats on a Roof! It is a delightful little market, full of gifts, gadgets, groceries, and a restaurant serving up freshly made food and drinks. We sat down for lunch and then browsed the market, picking up some delicious gouda cheese and smoked salmon for snacks and a few gluten-free goodies for me! The goats are fun to watch, contentedly chewing grass as they mosey around. Even if it is an obvious tourist trap, I loved every minute and I’d recommend a visit for sure.
Once our bellies were full and we stocked up on dropjes (dutch licorice, yum!) at the local dutch delicatessen, we started the trek across the island towards Tofino. Along the way, we stopped at a few destinations that I remembered visiting as a kid, and was so excited to return to! Our first stop was Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park, with a beautiful and easy hike that loops around the upper and lower waterfalls. The filtered light was beautiful, and the sound of water cascading down the boulders always makes me feel calm and content.
Our last stop of the day on Vancouver Island before arriving in Tofino was Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park. Douglas fir and red cedar trees over 800 years old stand tall and stately, with a network of paths far below ready to explore. It is amazing to consider how many centuries worth of people have walked between their roots. It is quiet and magnificent beneath the trees, and we felt the need to whisper.
Vancouver Island is a beautiful place that has it all, and it definitely holds a special place in my heart. In one day we managed to dip our toes in the ocean, watch some goats on a roof, chase some waterfalls, wander among giants, and then make our way over to the gem that is Tofino. It was a lot to pack into a day, but it was completely manageable and best of all, completely free! You definitely need to put this place on your wanderlust list. West Coast Canada is a sight to behold. Coming up next on our British Columbia road trip, our time in Tofino!