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Vancouver Island Culture

Vancouver Island embraces the unique cultures and communities that have come together to call this region home; different histories and societies that have transformed the region into a world-famous, multi-cultural destination.

Visit a castle or two in Victoria. Ride a steam train and learn about the Island’s forest industry in Duncan. Explore maritime history in Port Alberni. Watch the canoe races and enjoy a salmon barbeque in Alert Bay, then visit the world’s largest totem pole. Learn about the Finnish history of Sointula. Enjoy a seafood brunch in Parksville, afternoon tea in downtown Victoria, a smoked salmon treat from Port Hardy, or a bowl of borscht in Nanaimo. Culture adds flavour to every community.

And food is only part of the culture of the Island. You’ll find live theatre, music, and performances in many of the local communities, honouring their history and showcasing local talent.

The hearts and souls of Vancouver Island are waiting to meet you.


Ecosummer Expeditions

Trips begin and end from 1817 Campbell Way, Port McNeill, BC V0N 2R0 • North Island Region
250-674-0102
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Launch off our beach on North Vancouver Island to kayak with whales. Untamed, inspiring, remote and magical, Orca Camp is where we've staged wild and mild adventures for over 40 years. The heart of Orca territory, our indulgently comfortable wilderness camp sits next to the world’s only designated Killer Whale habitat at Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve. You’ll find pure Canadian wilderness here exploring the natural and cultural attractions of the Johnstone Strait with our expert guides. Every detail, right down to the meals, snacks and camping accommodations is taken care of for you, so you're free to relax and unwind. Fuel your passion for adventure. Unleash your wild side. Join us for a 3, 4, or 6-day Orca Camp adventure — in the best place to see Orcas in the wild.
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Launch off our beach on North Vancouver Island to kayak with whales. Untamed, inspiring, remote and magical, Orca Camp is where we've staged wild and mild adventures for over… [+]

IMAX® Victoria

675 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC, V8W 1A1 • South Island
(250) 480-4887
Videos
IMAX® Victoria features state-of-the-art IMAX 4K Laser projection technology to fill the Biggest Screen in BC coupled with an immersive 12-channel sound system – Bigger is really just the beginning! Through the power of IMAX®: Explore remote locations around the world. Experience the weightlessness of space. Dive into the undersea world to see incredible creatures. Travel into exciting science fiction worlds. Whether you choose to see a traditional IMAX film or an evening Hollywood Feature film, in 2D or in 3D, you will leave the theatre knowing that you’ve just seen something special. You’ve seen the science of cinema raised to the level of magic! Located inside the Royal BC Museum on Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour. Visit our website for information and daily show times.
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IMAX® Victoria features state-of-the-art IMAX 4K Laser projection technology to fill the Biggest Screen in BC coupled with an immersive 12-channel sound system – Bigger is really just the beginning! Through… [+]

The Robert Bateman Centre

470 Belleville St Victoria, BC V8V 1W9 • South Island
250-940-3630
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The Robert Bateman Centre, showcases over 80 works of Robert Bateman spanning his seven decades as one of Canada’s premier wildlife artists. Located in Victoria's inner harbour within the historic Steamship Terminal, the Centre houses a gallery and gift shop, and hosts a rotation of exhibits and a full schedule of educational and public programming, the most successful being the Junior NatureSketch Club. The temporary exhibits bring the community together. With themes from endangered species to traditional uses of the land surrounding the gallery, the Centre partners with dynamic artists and organizations to further the vision of the Bateman Foundation, the national charity that supports the work of the Robert Bateman Centre.
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The Robert Bateman Centre, showcases over 80 works of Robert Bateman spanning his seven decades as one of Canada’s premier wildlife artists. Located in Victoria's inner harbour within the historic Steamship Terminal,… [+]

Sea Wolf Adventures

24 Boardwalk, Telegraph Cove, BC V0N 3J0 • North Island Region
250-902-9653
Videos
Departing from Telegraph Cove, combine cultural discoveries with world-class wildlife viewing on a zodiac adventure into the heart of First Nations’ territory of the Kwakwaka’wakw: Vancouver Island North. Share our love of the local landscape and learn more about our 13000+ year old history! Our adventure begins in Alert Bay at the U’mista Cultural Centre – a museum dedicated to telling the story of the people of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. Your tour guides, members of one of the 19 tribes of Kwakwaka’wakw, will interpret the exhibitions to delve deeper into the history of the artifacts. See the ancestral masks that were confiscated during the Potlatch Ban between 1884 and 1951, which outlawed traditional ceremonial feasts and potlatches and had a huge impact on indigenous people.
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Departing from Telegraph Cove, combine cultural discoveries with world-class wildlife viewing on a zodiac adventure into the heart of First Nations’ territory of the Kwakwaka’wakw: Vancouver Island North. Share our… [+]

North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

1240 Leffler Road, Errington, BC • Central Island
250-248-8534
Videos
We are a non-profit organization that cares for the well-being of Vancouver Island wildlife and strives to educate the public. Overseen by a Board of Directors and co-founder, Robin Campbell, NIWRA continues because of amazing volunteers and incredible community support. Nestled in the district of Errington on Vancouver Island, NIWRA is a park like setting with a peaceful atmosphere. When visiting the Centre you will be able to view eagles, several species of owls, falcons, hawks, ravens, and black bears. During the summer months, live raptor presentations are available. The Centre is a world class wildlife rehabilitation facility specializing in raptors and black bear. Magnificent eagles can be viewed through one way glass in the largest flight cage of its kind in Canada.
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We are a non-profit organization that cares for the well-being of Vancouver Island wildlife and strives to educate the public. Overseen by a Board of Directors and co-founder, Robin… [+]

Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort

1175 Resort Drive, Parksville, BC, V9P2E3 • Central Island
1-877-977-8669
Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort is the perfect place to start your Vancouver Island vacation. Located just 37 km north of Nanaimo, our Resort is situated on 10.2 beautiful acres of property with peaceful surroundings and incredible landscapes. A short walk will take you to the endless beaches that Parksville is well known for. Enjoy a fully furnished, fully equipped 1, 2, or 3 bedroom luxury vacation home with incredible views of the surrounding landscape, rippling ocean waters, or sandy beaches. Relax in front of the fireplace, entertain around your large granite countertop island in the kitchen, and BBQ out on your deck while taking in the views. Our Resort also offers lock-off studio suites, a comfortable option if you are looking for smaller accommodations at an affordable price.
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Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort is the perfect place to start your Vancouver Island vacation. Located just 37 km north of Nanaimo, our Resort is situated on 10.2 beautiful acres of… [+]

Craigdarroch Castle

1050 Joan Crescent • South Island
250.592.5323
Built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir during the reign of Queen Victoria and now a National Historic Site, Craigdarroch Castle has been meticulously restored, giving visitors a glimpse of privileged life in the 1890s. The Castle weaves a fascinating tale of an intriguing family – their achievements, their relationships and even their quirks. Craigdarroch Castle is a definitively Victorian experience. It is a shining example of a “bonanza castle” — massive houses built for entrepreneurs who became wealthy during the industrial age. In this case, the industrialist was Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. A visit to Craigdarroch Castle is the quintessential Victoria, BC experience.
Categories:  Culture
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Built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir during the reign of Queen Victoria and now a National Historic Site, Craigdarroch Castle has been meticulously restored, giving visitors a glimpse of privileged… [+]

Canadian Craft Tours

2768 Cranberry Drive • Central Island, Cowichan, North Central Island, South Island
7783203409
Canadian Craft Tours is a company of beer, spirits and wine fanatics. We love introducing locals and tourists alike to our world. We have experiences that are right for everyone, from the most seasoned connoisseur to the casual consumer.
Categories:  Culture Sip & Savour
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Canadian Craft Tours is a company of beer, spirits and wine fanatics. We love introducing locals and tourists alike to our world. We have experiences that are right for everyone,… [+]

40 Knots Estate Winery and Vineyard

2400 Anderton Road • North Central Island
2509418810
In the heart of Comox Valley, 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery crafts wines distinctly shaped by wind and sea on a sun soaked glacier till vineyard. Established 2005, Brenda and Layne Craig steward environmentally ethical farming practices and traditional wine making methods under direction of a Master Wine Maker. This Island winery produces lively balanced wines bursting with aromas and lingering flavours. Stall Speed line, selected from ethically grown Okanagan grapes.
Categories:  Culture Sip & Savour
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In the heart of Comox Valley, 40 Knots Vineyard and Estate Winery crafts wines distinctly shaped by wind and sea on a sun soaked glacier till vineyard. Established 2005,… [+]

Filberg Festival

61 Filberg Road, Comox, BC V9M 2S7 • North Central Island
250-941-0727
Set among the stately trees and gardens of the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park in Comox, the Filberg Festival is truly a unique event. Wander through the grounds surrounded by beautiful gardens, rustic out-buildings and magnificent views of Comox Harbour and the Beaufort Mountain Range.The Festival has established a world-wide reputation for the excellence of the work of its juried artisans, and today is one of western Canada’s largest juried outdoor arts show.
Categories:  Culture Gardens
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Set among the stately trees and gardens of the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park in Comox, the Filberg Festival is truly a unique event. Wander through the grounds surrounded by… [+]

Victoria Distillers

9891 Seaport Place, Sidney, BC, V8L 4X3 • South Island
250.544.8217
Tour, Taste and Lounge in BC’s only waterfront distillery in charming Sidney-by-the-Sea. Take in all aspects of production during tour and tastings. Visitors are guided through the entire distillation process and around two gleaming copper pot stills for an intimate look into one of BC’s finest artisan distilleries. Following a tour, visitors are invited to taste all premium spirits neat. Come relax in the lounge or outdoor patio area and enjoy an innovative cocktail and bite.
Categories:  Culture Sip & Savour
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Tour, Taste and Lounge in BC’s only waterfront distillery in charming Sidney-by-the-Sea. Take in all aspects of production during tour and tastings. Visitors are guided through the entire… [+]

Shelter Point Distillery

4650 Regent Road Campbell River, BC V9H 1E3 • North Central Island
778.420.2200
Paradise isn"t necessarily a geographical requirement for making great spirits, but we managed to find it — at Shelter Point, on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island. Come savour our hand crafted Whisky and Vodka.
Categories:  Culture Sip & Savour
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Paradise isn"t necessarily a geographical requirement for making great spirits, but we managed to find it — at Shelter Point, on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island. Come savour our… [+]

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

9811 Seaport Place • South Island
250-665-7511
Canada's aquarium and cultural centre for the Salish Sea. Come see 160 species of marine life, a marine mammal artifact exhibit, and a unique Coast Salish art collection and learn about, explore and conserve the Salish Sea Bioregion – its wildlife, waters, land, culture, and people. The Centre combines live aquarium habitats and marine mammal artifact displays with a permanent Coast Salish art collection, to provide opportunities for learning, exploration, and conservation of the Salish Sea.
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Canada's aquarium and cultural centre for the Salish Sea. Come see 160 species of marine life, a marine mammal artifact exhibit, and a unique Coast Salish art collection and learn… [+]

Sidney Booktown

2436 Beacon Ave. Sidney BC • South Island
250-656-2345
Explore the unique bookshops of Sidney Booktown, all within easy walking distance, and discover literary treasures new and old. Enjoy a great selection of new and second-hand titles while visiting our beautiful seaside town. Sidney also offers a wide variety of boutique shops, restaurants, and beautiful scenery, making it the perfect vacation destination for book lovers! Stay longer. Read more.
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Explore the unique bookshops of Sidney Booktown, all within easy walking distance, and discover literary treasures new and old. Enjoy a great selection of new and second-hand titles while… [+]

I-Hos Gallery

3310 Comox Road Courtenay, BC V9N3P8 • North Central Island
250-339-7702
I-Hos Gallery presents a collection of traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast artwork, including masks, prints, gold and silver jewelry, wood carvings and more produced by First Nations artists. Our culture is expressed through our art. We are located between Courtenay and Comox on Vancouver Island, on the site of the original K’ómoks Village. We deal directly with all of our First Nation artists and provide you with all legends and artist biographies.
Categories:  Culture First Nations
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I-Hos Gallery presents a collection of traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast artwork, including masks, prints, gold and silver jewelry, wood carvings and more produced by First Nations artists. Our culture is… [+]

Vancouver Island Military Museum

100 Cameron Road Nanaimo, BC V9R 0C8 • Central Island
250-753-3814
BC’s most significant military museum. Canadian military history, on Nanaimo’s historic waterfront, celebrating & honouring the service of members of our Armed Forces, Merchant Navy & RCMP. Staffed by a dedicated group of Veteran volunteers and supported largely by public donation, the museum houses an amazing collection of military artifacts and memorabilia. The museum is home to a Veterans Wall of Honour, which recognizes the service of Canadian and Allied Veterans past & present.
Categories:  Culture
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BC’s most significant military museum. Canadian military history, on Nanaimo’s historic waterfront, celebrating & honouring the service of members of our Armed Forces, Merchant Navy & RCMP. Staffed by a… [+]

Best Western Dorchester Hotel

70 Church St Nanaimo, BC V9R 5H4 • Central Island
2507546835
Located in the heart of Downtown Nanaimo across from Inner Harbour Walkway, steps away from Port Theatre, Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo Museum, Art Gallery, Bastion, as well as some of the City's best shopping and entertainment, the waterfront playground, and the Nanaimo Casino.
Categories:  Culture
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Located in the heart of Downtown Nanaimo across from Inner Harbour Walkway, steps away from Port Theatre, Vancouver Island Conference Centre, Nanaimo Museum, Art Gallery, Bastion, as well as some… [+]

Spirits of the West Coast Native Art Gallery

2926 Back Road Comox, BC V9N 9G9 • North Central Island
1 (877) 338-2120
Explore the largest variety of authentic Native Art and Jewelry in this area. Enjoy beautiful Totem Poles, Silver and Gold Jewelry, Masks, Prints, Paddles, Argillite and other Carvings. Find beautiful and affordable gifts or one-of-a-kind Masterpieces. Open Monday to Saturday 10 am - 5 pm.
Categories:  Culture First Nations
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Explore the largest variety of authentic Native Art and Jewelry in this area. Enjoy beautiful Totem Poles, Silver and Gold Jewelry, Masks, Prints, Paddles, Argillite and other Carvings. Find beautiful… [+]