Winter seems like a far-away dream and if you haven’t already, you might want to consider reaching deep into your closet and taking out your favourite pair of shorts, because it’s time to come out and enjoy the sunshine.
The sun is out, the flowers are out, the people are out…Vancouver Island is starting to show its true colours: people are flocking to the beach, to the lake, trekking up the mountain-side, and participating in the many awesome events and festivals.
In this edition of Island Moments, we share the amazing and the fabulous, the things that make Vancouver Islanders proud. We invite you to explore all our coastline has to offer, and to revel in what you love.
It’s that time of year again, so hop, skip, and jump (emphasis on the skipping), down to the ferry terminal and sail on over to Vancouver Island for this summer’s pride festivities. Feel free to show your true colours and explore what the Island has to offer. The people here are lovely and want you to feel at home!...
It’s that time of year again, so hop, skip, and jump (emphasis on the skipping), down to the ferry terminal and sail on over to Vancouver Island for this summer’s pride festivities. Feel free to show your true colours and explore what the Island has to offer. The people here are lovely and want you to feel at home!
This Summer’s Key Pride Events
Victoria Pride (July 1st to 8th)
If you’re into big and fabulous, check out the Pride festivities in Victoria. The Victoria Pride Parade and Festival are the largest on the Island.
The key Pride events on this part of the Island take place the weekend of July 7th and 8th. Prior to the main events, there will be a Youth Kickoff Party on June 23rd and a Drag Ball game (soccer in drag) on July 1st.
During the Pride weekend itself, there will be events such as Pride in The Word which “showcases both some of the proudest and most talented writers from Victoria and across the country,” and the Big Gay Dog Walk (both on July 7th); the Pride Parade and Festival are on the 8th in Downtown Victoria.
We highly recommend the Big Gay Dog Walk which is the only pride event of its kind on the Island. At this event, feel free to show off your furry companion and participate in both the walk and games. Woof Woof!
Where’s the rainbow crosswalk at? Victoria’s rainbow crosswalk is located at the intersection of Pandora Avenue and Broad Street.
For more information, check out the Victoria Pride Society at http://victoriapridesociety.org/
Nanaimo Pride Week (June 5th to June 9th)
This year’s Nanaimo Pride Parade and Festival is the city’s 3rd of its kind. There will be events running from June 5th to June 9th. They include an Inclusive Pride Swim at Beban Pool on the 5th, a Pride Flag Raising at City Hall on the 6th, a Youth Dance (18 and under) at German Hall on the 7th, and a 19+ Dance ft.with Ange Hehr at Bowen Auditorium on the 8th.
The Pride Parade and Festival, the crowns of Nanaimo’s Pride week, both take place on the 9th, and there is an Official Pride After-Party at Evolve Nightclub following these events.
Nanaimo’s twin rainbow crosswalks are located at the intersection of Commercial Street and Bastion Street, in Downtown Nanaimo.
For more information, visit http://www.nanaimopride.ca/
Cowichan Pride (June 23rd)
The Cowichan Performing Arts Centre is presenting the Queer Songbook Orchestra on Saturday June 23rd at 7pm. If you are interested in seeing a glimpse of the LGBTQ+ backstories that were behind many of the 20th century’s most popular songs, you won’t want to miss this!
More information at http://www.cowichanpac.ca/event/queer-songbook-orchestra
Campbell River Pride (June 23rd)
On June 23rd, there will be a Pride event taking place in Campbell River,at the Tidemark Theatre. The Queen of East Van, Isolde N. Barron, alongside her wife, Peach Cobblah, are acting as hosts.This year’s event will also feature Victoria’s hottest live electronic band, Astrocolor. Adults and youth welcome.
Alberni Pride, Port Alberni (July 22nd & 23rd)
Alberni Pride is happening again this year on Saturday July 22nd and Sunday July 23rd. Everyone is welcome! There will be plenty of of activities: face painting, food, live music and socializing.This year’s pride will be a two-day event and will include an evening dance on Saturday, July 22nd and the Family-Friendly Afternoon in the park on Sunday, July 23rd. Attendees can expect to see entertainers on the main stage, face painting, vendors, games and activities.
Port Alberni’s rainbow crosswalk is located just outside of city hall on the corner of Argyle and 4th Avenue
Stay tuned to https://www.facebook.com/albernivalleypride/ for more information!
Pride in the Comox Valley (July 23rd to July 28th)
Pride will be coming to the Comox Valley July 23rd-28th and will include a flag-raising and a family barbeque with live music, tents, and activities for kids. The specific times and locations of these events are to be announced and should soon be available at http://comoxvalleypride.ca/
If you are keen to get your pride on early, there will be a rainbow crosswalk revealing on Saturday, June 2nd at 7 PM – 10 PM.
Salt Spring Island Pride Festival (September 6th – 10th)
Salt Spring Island has a very active LGBTQ+ community. The communities pride festivities have traditionally taken place during the month of September. This year’s events are currently in the planning stages. Information should become available to the public at http://daissi.org/salt-spring-pride/
There is a rainbow crosswalk located just outside Bellanus Secondary School at Morison Avenue.
Ucluelet will be painting 2 crosswalks just outside of Ucluelet Secondary school on Peninsula Road.
There is a rainbow crosswalk and a rainbow sitting bench at the corner of Gatacre Street and 1st Street.
While Canada has unfairly been labelled an inhospitable, cold, and wintery place, this is not necessarily accurate – especially for Canada’s westernmost region, Vancouver Island. In fact, here, on the Island, snow is about as common as a Canadian forgetting to say “thank-you.”...
While Canada has unfairly been labelled an inhospitable, cold, and wintery place, this is not necessarily accurate – especially for Canada’s westernmost region, Vancouver Island. In fact, here, on the Island, snow is about as common as a Canadian forgetting to say “thank-you.”
On this green rock , temperatures rarely dip below zero, and the summers are sunny and hot! In fact, you might be surprised to learn that the climate here is actually quite similar to Southern Europe and the North Mediterranean Sea. With its coastal nature, Vancouver Island boasts an impressive assortment of marine activities that you may not have thought were even possible.
You might not get away with wearing only swim trunks, but Vancouver Island is most definitely a place to go scuba diving. It comes as no surprise to us that Vancouver Island boasts some of the best diving in the world! The communities of Port McNeill and Port Hardy make for great points of embankment in this region of Vancouver Island.
In fact, “legendary underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau and the experts at National Geographic magazine have proclaimed the northeast coast of Vancouver Island as one of the finest cold-water scuba diving destinations in the world.” – Vancouver Island North.
With clean, clear water and a vibrant marine ecosystem teeming with life, there’s always something interesting to see. You need only to dip your gaze beneath the surface. The rocky coastline provides many surfaces for marine life to attach themselves. Sea walls host oceanic species, coral reefs flourish along the seafloor, shipwrecks dot the waters around this beautiful island, and rich kelp forests grow in all the spaces in between.
For those curious as to what lies beneath the deep blue waters of Salish Sea, we have a plethora of creatures to set your eyes on and it may be of interest to you to note that our waters house some of the largest invertebrates on the planet. We have basket stars, multi-coloured anemones, and feather duster worms to name a few.
If deep-sea diving is your thing, you might be pleased to note that this part of the sea hosts some of the world’s only remaining glass sponge coral reefs – a variety recently thought to be extinct!
For sunken ships and artificial reefs, Nanaimo BC boasts two such sights-to-see, the H.M.C.S. Cape Breton and the H.M.C.S. Saskatchewan are only a short ways out of Departure Bay. They are considered spectacular diving spots for shipwreck divers.
There are many other places of interest not listed here and wouldn’t you be interested to know that a majority of the top ten diving spots in British Columbia are located in and around Vancouver Island.
NOTE: please do your research before scheduling your dive. We recommend taking a tour or hiring a guide who knows the local waters. There are many great tour providers and gear rentals to be found on our website.
Catching Some Waves
When you hear the word “surfing” your mind is probably bombarded with images of places like Australia, Hawaii, or Madagascar; but did you know that Canada has surfing too? In fact, Canada’s west coast has been noted to have some of the best surfing in the world. Tofino is a world-renowned surfing destination and plays host to a number of large-scale surfing competitions like the annual Rip Curl Pro Tofino that took place this past May. And wouldn’t you be happy to know, it’s not the only place to go surfing on the Island either! You can also surf in nearby, Ucluelet or just outside of Victoria City in Jordan River and Port Renfrew.
Long Beach, arguably the post popular spot for surfers on Canada’s west coast is only minutes south of Tofino in the Pacific Rim National Park. There are also many other, more private beaches that populate the Island’s open coast.
NOTE: please do your research before heading out on the water. If you’re not an experienced surfer, we recommend you schedule your surfing trip with a registered professional surfing company. There are many great tours and rental companies to be found on our website.
Wildlife Encounters via Boat or Snorkeling
Canada is well-known for its awe-worthy wilderness and wildlife, both in and out of the water.
And yes, we do have bears and wolves, but did you know that we also have lions? Not the African variety of course. The wild lions here are referred to as “mountain lions”, “cougars”, or “pumas” (depending on your location in North America). On Vancouver Island, we tend to omit the latter. In addition to lions, we also have puffins who make their home in places like the Cape Scott area on Northern Vancouver Island.
And as you might already know, seals, otters, sea-lions, and whales are not an uncommon sight off of Vancouver Island. We are well-known for our orca and humpback, but you might be surprised to learn that we have dolphins and porpoises too. Dolphins do not only swim in the tepid waters of the tropics, but they also swim in the deep blue waters of the Pacific Northwest and are very common in the area between Vancouver Island and Mainland British Columbia
All of these remarkable creatures can be witnessed safely from a guided boat tour along the Island’s coast.
One interesting thing to note about the wolf population here, is that some have been spotted venturing down to the seashore to dig through seaweed and kelp for food. Many of what we call “sea wolves” either supplement, or in many cases rely almost entirely on the ocean for sustenance.
Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park, near Campbell River “is home to the largest seabird colony in the Strait of Georgia” – BC Parks
NOTE: please respect the wildlife and keep your distance. We recommend you book a tour with a registered wildlife tour company. There are many great tours to be found on our website.
Boating on Azure waves, Through Rugged Archipelagos, and Glacier-Carved Fjords
Vancouver Island might be in the temperate rainforest biome, but the summers are actually quite dry and cloudless, which means plenty of sun and warm weather. Whether you love to yacht, sail, or paddle Vancouver Island is the perfect place to adventure on the waters.
Many yachters and boaters who enter our waters, choose to island hop up and down the coast or to explore the glacier-carved fjords that decorate our coastline.
There are many cute and charming harbour villages like Ganges on Salt Spring Island to moor the boat or coves and bays to anchor.
You can access many of these neat little islands via water taxi or ferry as well. Saysutshun (previously known as Newcastle Island) is a place held dear by the Snuneymuxw First Nations people and open to the public to enjoy its walking trails. Transport to Saysutshun is available via water taxi from the Nanaimo Inner Harbour.
NOTE: Please respect local boating laws and regulations. Visit our website for more information on places to visit and things to do and see.
Exploring White Sandy Beaches
Where to go to see white sandy beaches? Contrary to what some might thing, Canada’s coastline is not comprised solely of rock and ice. On the Island, communities like Parksville, Qualicum Beach and Tofino & Ucluelet have quite a bit to offer in regard to brilliant sandy beaches. Parksville even hosts an international sandcastle-building contest every summer, which attracts travellers from all over the world.
Tofino and Ucluelet are something out of a postcard. he raw beauty of nature is incredible: if you’ve ever wanted to sit on a sandy beach alone and listen to the waves roll in without interruption, this is the place for you! There are so many neat little coves and bays – some more populated than others but never overwhelmingly so.
NOTE: Visit our website for more information on places to visit and things to do and see.
throughout Vancouver Island