Welcome to Vancouver Island Beyond Victoria, a blog that will introduce you to many of the unheralded nooks and crannies of this spectacular place. Over the many years that I have lived on and loved the Island I have become aware of the fact that many visitors think if they have visited our stunning capital city of Victoria, that they ‘have seen Vancouver Island.’ Nothing could be further from the truth; while Victoria most certainly has its charms (and a huge tourism industry budget) there are dozens – nay, hundreds – of less-publicized, if not downright obscure, things and places that help to make Vancouver Island the enchanting place that it is. My aim is to introduce my readers to the many great experiential opportunities that abound here, from wonderful eateries to places to stay (including pet-friendly accommodations), from attractions and events to special places that will help you to understand and enjoy this very special place that I am so fortunate to call home.
Please rest assured that all of my observations and recommendations are made completely independently. Unlike most travel writers I do not accept free meals, accommodation or entry to events when writing for my website – we pay our own way. When we travel or dine out business owners do not know we are coming, thus ensuring that we receive similar service (or lack of same) as our readers can expect to experience. This gives our readers a fair and accurate assessment of where we go and what we write about without being obligated to write nice things about experiences we dislike.
Being a pretty optimistic person, I do not write negative reviews – I simply don’t do a review at all if something is not to my liking. We pay the bill and we leave – the business owner never knows that we were even in his or her establishment. So herewith, a guide to some of the very best places and experiences to be had on Vancouver Island – beyond Victoria! I hope you will share news of this blog with friends and fellow travelers and that you will enjoy the many restaurants, farmers markets, cultural events, attractions, parks, wild places and accommodations that I chronicle. There are regular weekly updates each Thursday, so keep checking back!
More years ago than I like to remember, I completed the Journalism program at Vancouver Community College and launched straight into a career as a newspaper reporter (thanks to my journalism professor Nick Russell and an opening at the daily Alberni Valley Times.) My work as a news reporter/feature writer/columnist and ultimately, newspaper and magazine editor, took me to many interesting places and introduced me to hundreds of interesting characters over the years. I loved every minute of it, but burnout caught up with me while I was trying to juggle the simultaneous editing of five trade magazines, and for 27 years I abandoned my keyboard (on a professional basis, at least) and followed my heart in a variety of other careers.
In 2010 I returned to the journalistic fold, thanks to the encouragement (nay – nagging!) of my husband. I feel no regret – only great joy to be back at the keyboard, and to be spending time interviewing interesting folks and discovering great places.
Shirley Culpin, Qualicum Beach, Vancouver Island