A restored Old No.7 (1929 Baldwin 2-8-2T 90 ton) locomotive to pull the tourist train. Operate on summer weekends. Trains leave the E&N Railway Heritage Station at the foot of Argyle Street near the Harbour Quay in Downtown Port Alberni. on the hour from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.
At first it looked ike a waste of time, but we stopped at the Butterfly aviary and we have talked about it ever since. They had Butterflies from all over the world. I only have slides of that trip so I can't upload a picture yet. It's located on the way to Buchard Gardens from Victoria. It was a high light od the trip.
We were lucky enough to get a good look at a bald eagle on two occasions while on Vancouver Island. The first was on Quadra Island, near the lodge at Tsa-Kwa-Luten, flying between the pine trees near the shore (second photo). The second was this one at Telegraph Cove, perched on one of the pilings in the harbour – we spotted him from our table in the Killer Whale Café at lunch time and rushed out with the cameras to take photos (leaving our food to get cold on the table!)
Bald eagles often spend the summer on the B.C. coast, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the Queen Charlotte Islands fishing for herring and feeding young. I read up some facts about them on the internet:
The adult eagle's white ['bald'] head and tail feathers are developed by its fourth or fifth year. An immature eagle has mottled brown and white plumage. Wing span is 6 to 8 feet; the females are larger than the males. Eagles can fly at 50 kph, dive at 160 kph and can spot a fish from more than a kilometre away. Their diet is mainly fish, supplemented by water fowl, small mammals, and carrion when fish are in short supply. Their preferred habitat is in the old growth timber along the coast. Bald eagles mate for life and can reach the age of 40.
You'll probably need to click on the photos to see the eagles clearly
Driving to Qualicum Beach one day we were intrigued by some signs indicating the way to this attraction, which I hadn’t read anything about in my pre-holiday planning. With time to spare we decided to turn off the road and investigate. We love anything quirky, and have an interest in fifties Americana, so the detour was well worthwhile.
The diner is a treasure trove of all things related to coca cola, the more kitsch the better, and there’s a great juke box. But this is also a genuine diner, so you can come here to enjoy a light meal or cold drink (and not just coke – I had a very good milkshake).
The mural outside apparently caused quite a stir when it was first painted because Marilyn Monroe was portrayed in a topless outfit - see this website http://www.alicubi.com/articles/cola_01.html to see what she looked like before the bikini top was added, and to read about the controversy.
Seals, Cormorants, and Snakes!
Snake Island near Nanaimo is so named because in the old days the ocean going ships would keep snakes onboard to catch the rats on the ship. After they had crossed the ocean, they would stop and dump the snakes out here before they docked at the harbour in Nanaimo.
I was warned that you should never set foot onto this tiny island. Apparently, there is some sort of virus in the sea gulls here that can infect humans and is very serious.
Actually, the snakes would be enough to keep me away, even without the virus threat!
This little island is home to a small lighthouse, which helps mark the way for ships coming through the Strait of Georgia. The island in the background is Gabriola Island, while the less-visible island behind Gabriola is Vancouver Island. It is barely visible through the fog and clouds.
This is approaching Duke Point, near Nanaimo.
Well if you have read my Alberta VT page you will understand my fascination with world's largest roadside attractions and the what not. Right in Duncan is the World's Largest Hockey Stick and Puck and it is located on the Cowichan Community Centre. It is 205 feet long, weighs in at 61,000 pounds and was built in 1985. Originally commissioned for Expo '86 in Vancouver. After that it was donated to the province of British Columbia. From there, there was an across Canada competition to determine it's final location. Now Duncan is its final resting spot. You can see it along the TransCanada Highway. Going south you will be able just to see the tip of the handle. The address is 2687 James Street.
Tuesday, June 3. As we were driving North on Highway 1, just before Duncan, we decided to go off the highway and explore the Lake Cowichan District with its freshwater lakes, parks, campgrounds and friendly little communities like Cowichan Bay and Crofton, a forestry town with hiking trails, great fishing and a B.C. Ferries Terminal where you can board a ferry to Salt Spring Island.
A great but somewhat demanding hike. To make it to the top of the mountain, allow yourself 2-4 hours depending on your physical condition. It's steep, hot (in summer) and somewhat technical in certain areas. And, if you think getting up was tough, wait till you go down! Your knees will take a real pounding... coming from a guy with good knees!
On the way, we stopped off for a beef jerky snack and I noticed many birds flying into the surrounding trees. While eating a peice of jerky a bird flew up, handed on my hand and stole the morsel right out of my hand. Incredible!!! These birds have no fear of humans. From that point on we shared the rest of our lunch with the birds, before moving on. A great experience!
Be sure to take at least a liter of water "per hour, per person". Otherwise, you WILL dehydrate! By the time you reach the top you'll be fully drenched in your own juices, trust me!
You can do multi-day trips up here. I wish we had more time. This would have been the case.
If you've considered travelling to Campbell River, you know all about the Seymour Narrows. They're quite a sight from both the cliffs above and from ripping through them during rip tide. This tip is about the trail that leads out to the narrows (the cliffs). About 5 km each way. As you can see from the picture you start entering into pacific rainforest. Very damp and alot of growth. A really diverse place where, at least in the summer, you would never starve. Berries galore (careful though). Too bad you can't smell the picture :-)... cause it smells great in there! Musky and sweet.
Head out of town just past the mill and you'll see the signs for the trail. Bring a good pair of hiking boots. It tends to be wet and slippery. Also... brong alot of water. 1,5L min. per person. It can get very warm
I grew up on this portion and have yet to experience a river like this one. Great pure water and amazing fishing. You can drink it, bathe in it, fish it, marvel in its beauty, swim in it or... the choice is your. While I won't give up the name of this particular location, there are 1000's like it on the Oyster River. As a youngster, I used to hitch hike about 5 or 6 miles up the river and snorkel down the entire length (with a few portages), to the mouth where it empties into the Pacific.
The reason for its purity is that it's a glacial river, making it a little cooler than most but absolutely amazing. I really love this place!
Not exactly off the beaten path nor a must see activity but more like a point of interest. This is Mile 0(starting point or end point depends on direction you are going) for the TransCanada Highway. There is also a plaque for Steve Fonyo run across Canada which he started on 31 March 1984 and finished 29 May 1985. It's location is obviously on the TransCanada Highway, in Victoria just go to Dallas Road.
This was taken at Elk Falls Park in Campbell River. An awesome place for the whole family to go hiking thru rainforest trails, winter or summer. There are outhouses and wooden hand railings for those that me be a bit unsteady on their feet.The trails from the forest come out onto a river, with very fast rapids so a word of caution be very careful not to get too close to the edge of the Falls (they drop straight down about 50-80 feet, approx) also very slippery. The Parks have constructed a look out point towards the falls and it is an awesome view for taking pics. See the big picture I have on my homepage.
If you drive along the Old Island Hwy, south of Courtenay, heading into Royston and then on into Union Bay, the drive along the beach is beautiful! You can look across to Comox and farther south you will eventually see Denman and hornby Islands. You acn also see the Rocky mountain range on the mainland, again, very beautiful. I live in Royston and the sun rise on the water is spectacular... summer or winter!
Even though it is only about an hour away from Victoria, it seems like you could be on the other side of the island. East Sooke Regional Park is an amazing day break from city life. At 1436 hectares and around 50km of hiking trails, the hours can slip away. While hiking through thick temperate rainforest you can all of a sudden be at the Pacific Ocean. I only saw little bit of the park and I was amazed. Another bonus is that I had the park almost all to myself excluding the two other people I went with.
Unfortunately there are some problems within the park. People use the park to have "grow ops" which can sometimes be booby trapped. As long as you stay on the trails you will have nothing to worry about. Trust me, this is not enough to worry you once you are in the park.