Deep Bay Marine Field Station

Deep Bay Marine Field Station exterior, Deep Bay, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaIt took almost two years to build, start to finish, but the careful design and consideration of natural habitat at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, combined with a fascinating look at the sea life that surrounds us on the Island, has combined to create a compelling destination.

Fish at Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Deep Bay, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaThe marine station is located a little off the beaten path at Deep Bay, a small waterfront community at the south end of Baynes Sound on the east coast of Vancouver Island. Operated by Vancouver Island University, the centre is home to research facilities, culinary events (usually featuring shellfish), educational opportunities, social events and a myriad of intriguing sea life. For visitors, it offers a glimpse into the spectacular world of the ocean and all the beautiful (and some not-so-beautiful) creatures that inhabit it. touch-tanks-overheadThere is a huge aquarium located on the upper floor and a series of ‘touch tanks’ on the lower floor that encourages kids of all ages to handle the sea life therein. Interpretive signage throughout the building chronicles much of what goes on at the centre, and views of the research labs can be seen from the upper mezzanine, looking downwards.

Upper mezanine at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Deep Bay, Vancouver Island, Britiswh ColumbiaThe building itself is an inspired design in the shape of a clam shell – fitting, considering its purpose. It is totally wheelchair-accessible and incorporates hundreds of environmentally-friendly features, keeping with VIU’s goals of sustainability. A glance at the poster featuring current and future plans for development of the site reinforces the dedication to the ‘greenest’ project humanly possible.

Fish artwork at Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Deep Bay, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaIn addition to all of the sea life and interpretive displays the field station is graced with some fine-looking artwork in various mediums. On the upper floor there is a small gift shop area filled with beautiful ocean-oriented items courtesy of the Salish Sea Market, a unique shop in nearby Bowser that features local artisans.

Pink and white sea anenome at Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Deep Bay, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaThe field station is open 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. daily with the occasional closing for special events, so best to check the website calendar prior to making a foray in that direction. Admission is a very reasonable $7 for adults, $3 for children (6-17 years) and kids under 6 get in free when accompanied by an adult.

Although visitors primarily partake of self-guided tours of the centre, special events offer a broader taste of what makes the place so special – there is something for almost everyone, young or old.

White sea anenome at Deep Bay Marine Field Station, Deep Bay, Vancouver Island, British ColumbiaOne way or the other, at any time of the year, a trip to the Deep Bay Marine Field Station is well worth the effort. It is filled with unusual beauty and educational opportunities not to be found anywhere else on the Island.

For further information on the Deep Bay Marine Field Station, go to the website at

The centre is located at 370 Chrome Point Road, Bowser/Deep Bay

GPS co-ordinates are:

Lat. 49.45652068756555 Long. -124.73173141479492

N 49 27.391 W 124 43.904


About Shirley

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 venerable 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.
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