Category Archives: INLAND CENTRAL ISLAND

Heading west from the Parksville/Qualicum Beach area on the east coast of the Island are many small communities with some superb offerings for visitors and residents alike. Port Alberni is the major center in this category.

Port Alberni’s Maplehurst Trail

One of the prettiest, easiest and most accessible trails on Vancouver Island is hidden in the back-of-beyond in the Alberni Valley.  The Maplehurst Trail system commences at the end of a secluded road and offers hikes of varying lengths and … Continue reading

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Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park – 1,100 acres of heaven

  It has been more than 40 years since I visited Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park on central Vancouver Island.  In those days things were pretty rudimentary – rough trails, outhouses, and flat rocks along the riverbank used as picnic … Continue reading

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Port Alberni’s Ahtsik Native Art Gallery

You get a couple of unexpected bonuses when you walk through the doors of Port Alberni’s Ahtsik Native Art Gallery – the beautiful aroma of cedar permeates every nook and cranny. And, in addition to enjoying the striking work created … Continue reading

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Summertime bliss at Sproat Lake Landing

The essence of summertime bliss.  That was what we found when we made the 45-minute jaunt cross-Island to the newly-opened Sproat Lake Landing near Port Alberni. Located at the site of the old West Bay Hotel on the shores of … Continue reading

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Port Alberni’s SteamPunk Café brings new energy to a town in revival mode

In a town that is transitioning from an industrial heritage to an outdoors and retirement mecca, Kevin Wright and his SteamPunk  Café and Coffee House have hit a home run. Located exactly in the centre of Port Alberni’s old uptown … Continue reading

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Coombs’ Coastal Carvings Fine Art Gallery features diverse contributions from First Nations artisans

  The collection of buildings and businesses that comprise the tiny community of Coombs these days is diverse, to say the least.  Most folks head for the famous Coombs Market, better known these days as Goats on the Roof. But … Continue reading

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Port Alberni’s Swept Away Inn will sweep you off your feet

  Big smiles. Warm welcomes. Amazing slow food. And, the most unique bed and breakfast experience you are ever likely to have.  Roll it all together and you have the distinctive, snug and delightful Swept Away Inn, berthed at Centennial … Continue reading

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McLean Mill Christmas Village offers the charm and loveliness of an old-fashioned festive season

Christmas is one of the most magical times of the year for many folks, me among them. There are many, many great Yuletide offerings here on the Island, beginning with the craft fairs that seem to get under way earlier … Continue reading

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Cuckoo Trattoria brings a little bit of Italy to Coombs

Mamma mia! Who would expect to find a beautiful trattoria on the backside of the Old Country Market (best known these days as Goats on the Roof) in the tiny-and-kind-of-wild settlement of Coombs? Cuckoo Trattoria and Pizzeria has been serving … Continue reading

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100 years on and millions of visitors later, the majesty of Cathedral Grove continues to entrance

    It has been more than 40 years since I first set foot in the magical environs of Cathedral Grove but still, every time I visit, I am entranced and soothed by the place.             Cathedral Grove is located … Continue reading

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