QUADRA ISLAND • CORTES ISLAND • SAYWARD STRATHCONA • NOOTKA SOUND & KYUQUOT SOUND
2017 DISCOVERY GUIDE
Contents ABOUT Campbell River & Region Getting Here Regional Maps
4 6 8
BEAUTIFUL SURROUNDINGS Natural Wonders Beaches Wildlife Watching
10 12 14
CULINARY, ART & CULTURE Culinary Delights Shopping Art & Culture Heritage Family-Friendly Fun Community Events
16 19 20 22 24 25
FIRST NATIONS First Nations
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES Biking Hiking & Climbing Golfing Mountain Life
28 30 32 34
WATER RECREATION Fishing Paddling Boating Diving
36 38 40 42
ACCOMODATIONS Where To Stay
Cover Image: Eiko Jones Table of Contents Image: James Headrick
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Campbell River & Region CAMPBELL RIVER Watch the sunrise over the Coast Mountain Range. Go for an early morning jog, ride your bike along Campbell River's oceanfront Rotary Seawalk, or build an evening campfire on one of our beaches. Cruise past the Discovery Pier where anglers jig for salmon in the swirling tidal currents, or head downtown to a variety of unique boutique shops and quaint cafés. Campbell River has the intimate feel of a small town with the amenities, attractions, and shopping of a big city. Whether you're planning an excursion into the depths of Strathcona Provincial Park, or a fishing and wildlife viewing adventure, we have everything you need. Campbell River is the gateway to adventure—or simply a place to slip into the pleasure and pace of island life. STRATHCONA PROVINCIAL PARK A scenic 40 minute drive from Campbell River will take you to the entrance to British Columbia's first and oldest provincial park, which has retained its sense of wild beauty since its designation in 1911. An excellent trail network, combined with 4 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
a variety of camping opportunities makes this class A, 2500 square kilometre Provincial Park a paradise for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Strathcona beckons hikers, paddlers, fishermen, climbers, and backcountry skiers. Here, one will seek and find adventure amongst its mountain valleys lush with ancient forests, its craggy peaks and waterfalls flowing into sparkling lakes, and its alpine meadows dappled in wildflowers. QUADRA, CORTES, & THE DISCOVERY ISLANDS A short ferry ride from Campbell River will land you on Quadra Island, the largest and most populated of the Discovery Islands. Quadra serves up adventure any way you like it. Here you can beachcomb at Rebecca Spit, hike Chinese Mountain, or bike on an ever-expanding network of trails. For the more adventurous traveler, options like rock climbing the bluffs near Morte Lake or sea kayaking among island studded channels will provide thrills and scenic views. For some relaxing downtime, sit back and watch the ebb and flow of the tides.
The ferry at Heriot Bay provides access to neighbouring Cortes Island with its beautiful lakes, lagoons, forests, and white sandy beaches. Known for its abundant wildlife, delicious shellfish, and selfsufficient people, Cortes offers a variety of things to see and do. SAYWARD An hour’s drive north of Campbell River, Sayward is where the Salmon River pours into Johnstone Strait. Here you can enjoy a great day trip from Campbell River while exploring the Salmon River Estuary trail. Exuding a rough-and-tumble island frontier spirit, it’s a place where people are intimately connected to the sea and forest. Sayward also spells outdoor adventure. Cavers explore nearby Little Huson Cave Park, hikers tackle Bill's Trail to the summit of Mount H'Kusam, and sea kayakers and whale watchers launch their boats from Kelsey Bay to explore the endless islands and channels, scoping for killer whales and a bounty of other wildlife. NOOTKA SOUND & KYUQUOT SOUND The rugged marine paradise of Nootka Sound and Kyuquot
Sound showcase Vancouver Island in some of its most primal beauty and fascinating history. Accessed via Gold River at the end of Highway 28, Nootka Sound and Kyuquot Sound are complex inlets reaching from the interior of Vancouver Island toward the open Pacific Ocean. Neighbouring Tahsis, Esperanza Inlet, Zeballos, Winter Harbour, and Fair Harbour provide access to some of the world’s most premier sea kayaking, diving, and sport fishing opportunities. Today, fishermen flock to the region to angle for salmon and travelers journey aboard the MV Uchuck III, a refurbished World War II minesweeper, as it delivers passengers and freight to Friendly Cove and other coastal outposts in the Nootka Sound region. One of Vancouver Island's classic multi-day coastal walks, the Nootka Trail, is found on Nootka Island's west coast where the crashing Pacific Ocean meets the misty rainforest, and intertidal pools display a kaleidoscope of marine life. PHOTO BY SUAVAIR
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 5
Getting Here Located in the geographic heart of Vancouver Island, Campbell River and region includes the City of Campbell River on the east coast, the Discovery Islands, and vast tracks of wilderness that stretch west through Strathcona Provincial Park to Gold River, Tahsis, and Zeballos on the west coast. Campbell River sits approximately 265 km north of BC’s provincial capital, Victoria, and 238 km south of Port Hardy at the northwestern end of Vancouver Island. The Island itself rests offshore from the southwest coast of Canada, north of Washington State, and across the Salish Sea from Vancouver, BC. BY AIR Campbell River Airport (YBL) is the natural choice for adventurers wanting to pursue a favourite pastime within an hour of landing in the region. The airport’s friendly, casual atmosphere is complemented by excellent service and technical support that reflects the character of the city it serves. YBL has regularly daily scheduled service by Pacific Coastal Airlines and Central Mountain Air. Featuring a 6500 foot runway, YBL is home to an array of aviation and aerospace companies that service the entire Pacific coast corridor, as well as a Canada Customs authorized airport of entry (AOE) and exit for privately operated and small chartered aircraft. 6 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
PHOTO BY BC FERRIES
Float plane and helicopter services are available year-round at the Campbell River Spit and the Campbell River Airport. Seasonal float plane service is available to Campbell River from Powell River, Vancouver, and the Seattle area. Specialized flights with Corilair Charters provide guests with a historic mail run experience of the remote islands of coastal British Columbia. The Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) is 40 minutes south of Campbell River with daily flights to Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver. This full-service terminal provides seasonal trips to Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast. BY ROAD Travelling north along the smooth four-lane Highway 19 is a breeze. With a speed limit of 120 kmph, it takes 90 minutes to drive from Nanaimo’s ferry terminals, or add another two hours if you’re traveling north along the Trans-Canada Highway from Victoria. Those who prefer a leisurely route through friendly coastal communities can detour from the fast lane at Parksville, and enjoy the scenic Oceanside Route along Highway 19A. Regularly scheduled trips north and south through Campbell River and its regions via bus service, connect with ferry terminals and major Vancouver Island centres.
BY SEA Most visitors travel Vancouver Island by one of three ferry services. BC Ferries offers daily vehicle and foot passenger sailings from two mainland terminals south and north of Vancouver at Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay. Those heading directly to Campbell River can book passage to one of Nanaimo’s two ferry terminals: Departure Bay and Duke Point. Campbell River is a natural stopover for those heading to and from Port Hardy’s Bear Cove terminal, the arrival and departure spot for epic BC Ferries voyages to Prince Rupert on the northern BC coast. Ferries also sail out of Powell River to Comox, providing access from the mainland to the Sunshine Coast. BC Ferries also connects travelers from the mainland to Vancouver Island via the Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay Terminals. American visitors can sail directly to and from Victoria’s Inner Harbour from Port Angeles on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula with Black Ball Ferries. Or, you can use the seasonal spring-tofall service to Sidney, south of Victoria, from Anacortes and the San Juan Islands. The Victoria Clipper also offers passenger-only service that connects Victoria to Seattle. Private boats and yachts are warmly welcomed at our local marinas. These full-service refuges for nautical visitors offer a
range of service options. Access to refueling is easily accessible through Discovery Harbour Fuel Sales in the heart of Campbell River. Additionally, fuel can be located in harbours and coves that offer safe anchorage throughout the Discovery Islands, Nootka Sound, and Kyuquot Sound. AIR
PACIFIC COASTAL AIRLINES 1.800.663.2872 (Vancouver) www.pacific-coastal.com WESTJET 1.888.937.8538 (Calgary-Comox) www.westjet.com AIR CANADA 1.888.247.2262 (Vancouver & other Canadian centres to Campbell River & Comox) www.aircanada.com CENTRAL MOUNTAIN AIR 1.888.865.8585 (Vancouver) www.centralmountainair.com HARBOUR AIR 1.800.665.0212 | www.harbourair.com
ISLANDLINK BUS 1.866.986.3466 | www.islandlinkbus.com TOFINO BUS 1.866.986.3466 | www.tofinobus.com WITHIN CAMPBELL RIVER 250.287.7433 www.transitbc.com/regions/cam
FERRIES OR SEA
Car and passenger unless otherwise noted BC FERRIES Various daily routes from the BC mainland 1.888.223.3779 Schedules 1.888.724.5223 Reservations www.bcferries.com SEATTLE – VICTORIA Passenger Only 1.800.888.2535 www.clippervacations.com PORT ANGELES – VICTORIA 360.457.4491 | www.cohoferry.com ANACORTES – SIDNEY 1.888.808.7977 www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries AHOY BC 1.604.886.3700 | www.ahoybc.com PLEASURE CRAFT 1.877.286.5705 Marina Info www.campbellriver.travel
Contact the Campbell River Visitor Centre for more information 1.877.286.5705 | www.visitorcentre.ca
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 7
So & Washington USA
294 50 45 92 28 60 153 117 237 234 198 107 24 64 59 157 239 264 129 196
183 31 28 57 17 38 95 73 148 146 124 67 15 40 35 98 149 165 80 123
Coal Harbour Comox Courtenay Gold River Miracle Beach Mt. Washington Nanaimo Parksville Port Alice Port Hardy Port McNeill Qualicum Beach Salmon Point Sayward Strathcona Park Tahsis Telegraph Cove Victoria Woss Zeballos
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TRAVEL DISTANCE FROM CAMPBELL RIVER
Storey Creek Golf Club
LEGEND Boat Launch
Marina Float Plane
WEST THURLOW ISLAND
EAST THURLOW ISLAND
Disco very Passage
SCHOEN LAKE PARK
Caving Kayaking & Canoeing
Jo hn sto n
Heriot Bay Nuchatlitz Inlet
Campbell River Airport (YBL)
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Heriot Bay Road
April Point Road
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8th Ave .
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Discovery Fishing Pier
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DISCOVERY PASSAGE Green Rd.
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Downtown Campbell River
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Elk Falls Campground
1st 2nd Ave. 3rd Ave. Ave . 4th 5th Ave. Ave .
Roads Dirt Roads Ferry Route Paved Paths Dirt Trails
5th Ave .
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BEAVER LODGE FOREST LANDS
Comox Valley Airport (YQQ)
ELK FALLS West to PROV. PARK Gold River & Tahsis
Quinsam Salmon Hatchery Hatche ry Rd.
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South to Nanaimo & Victoria
STRATHCONA PROVINCIAL PARK
Campbell River Airport (YBL)
4th Ave .
Gorge Quathiaski Cove Harbour We-Wai-Kai Manson’s Village Landing
Storey Creek Golf Club
Campbell River NOOTKA ISLAND
To Port McNeill & Port Hardy
Ferry to Quadra Island Wei Wai Kum Cruise Ship Terminal
STRAIT OF GEORGIA
Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park
Heriot Bay Ferry to Cortes Island
Natural Wonders Vancouver Island’s north central region plays host to a dramatic display of natural wonders. Mysteriously hidden from view, and yet a short distance away, these magical places are easy to access and present the finest of natural experiences to locals and tourists alike. One can find the Upana Caves northwest of the community of Gold River, just over an hour from downtown Campbell River. This relatively wild, undeveloped network of over 100 subterranean caves is a popular spelunking destination that’s accessible to all caving abilities year-round. The unmistakable parking entrance allows for ample parking, and is a short hike from the first series of well-marked caves. You are free to explore the established underground routes, or descend into some of the deepest parts of this caving network on a guided tour. However you choose to explore the passages, underground river beds, low ceilings, and waterfalls of Upana Caves, be sure to bring a reliable source of light—such as a flashlight or a headlamp—sturdy boots, and extra layers of clothing. It’s also a good idea to stop by the Gold River Visitor Information Booth, or 10 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
locate a map online, to make sure that you don’t miss anything during your memorable underground adventure. Another set of caves worth exploring are the Little Huson Caves located north of the community of Woss. This self-guided caving experience requires a little more work to get to, but is well worth the drive. Offering the opportunity for you to explore caves and limestone formations unique to Vancouver Island, it’s a great adventure even if you’re not interested in going underground. From the well-marked parking lot, the short trail leads you through a stand of second growth timber to a platform overlooking the river and a natural rock bridge. You can wander the trail to search out the limestone arches and polished rock platforms, then take a stroll by the lake to see the ancient cave formations. Going underground, be sure to explore The Vanishing River Cave and the Eternal Fountain Cave. Whether you stay above ground, or venture down below, the natural beauty of Little Huson Caves is nothing short of amazing. Sheer mountain faces, hard granite surfaces, and copious amounts of water combine to make a great recipe for waterfalls,
and we certainly have no shortage of them in our region. The set of falls closest to Campbell River is Elk Falls—a thundering torrent of water descending 25 metres into the Campbell River Canyon. The trailhead is located at the new entrance to Elk Falls Provincial Park and Suspension Bridge, featuring the John Hart Interpretive Centre. With plenty of parking and public washrooms, a wheelchair accessible path leads you through old growth forest in the area to the first series of platforms with stellar views. From there, a set of stairs allows the opportunity to experience the largest expansive suspension bridge on Vancouver Island that floats 60 metres above the clear, fast running, and salmon filled water below. Located at the south end of Buttle Lake, in Strathcona Provincial Park, Myra Falls is another breathtaking set of falls easily accessible from Highway 28 and Westmin Road South. The Lower Myra Falls trail is a short hike to beautiful cascading waterfalls and the natural terraces of basalt and limestone rocks that form calm pools of turquoise water. From here, you can explore up and down the falls, take a cool dip, or enjoy a hearty
picnic overlooking Buttle Lake. Access to the parking lot and the well-maintained trail system is clearly marked. The trailhead for Upper Myra Falls is located at Westmin Mines off Highway 28. This easy trail of well-managed boardwalks and bridges begins as a gravel road before it leads you through old growth forest of Douglas Fir, Red Cedar, and Western Hemlock. Ending at the viewing platform, one takes in impressive views of the waterfall and Buttle Lake, as well as Syd Watts Peak and Mount Albert Edward. Wherever your path leads you, it is always good practice to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Pack a good lunch and a sense of adventure to fully experience the drama, the mystery, and the breathtaking beauty of our region.
WORDS BY CATHERINE TEMPLE ELK FALLS, PHOTO BY 49 NORTH HELICOPTERS LITTLE HUSON CAVES, PHOTO BY JENN DYKSTRA
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 11
Beaches As you wind your way up 19A—commonly referred to as ‘The Old Island Highway’—it is well worth your time to explore the beautiful boundless beaches that stretch themselves along the salty shores of the east coast of Vancouver Island from Miracle Beach to Tyee Spit.
family. You will want to keep your eyes open for whales, eagles, seals, and dolphins, as the Discovery Passage teems with aquatic life all year long. The cyclical phases of the moon constantly alter the coastline, allowing the opportunity to see and experience saltwater beaches in a new way, each and every day.
Crossing Discovery Passage to Quadra and Cortes Islands, Rebecca Spit, Ganges Harbour, and a plethora of smaller rock and sandy beaches, provides hours of bliss and fascination for the young and the young at heart. If freshwater shores are what draw you in, McIvor Lake, Buttle Lake, Upper and Lower Campbell Lakes, the Main Lakes Chain, and the backcountry wilderness of Strathcona Park, Sayward, and Nootka Sound offer limitless choices for both exploration and relaxation.
The beaches of Nootka Island, Cortes Island, and Quadra Island are well worth adventuring to. Each provide plenty of opportunity to peacefully wander your way along diverse and expansive pockets of seclusion. With white sand stretching towards lush coastal forest one way, and into the vast sparkling water the other way, it’s easy to lose yourself in this wilderness. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to thoroughly enjoy the magic and rich history of Nootka Island—where you can retrace the footsteps of BC's early explorers like Captain Cook and Captain Bligh—and the diverse rural lifestyles found within the Discovery Islands that dot the Salish Sea.
During low tide, locals and visitors take to Miracle Beach, Saratoga Beach, and Stories Beach to frolic in the playful salty waves of the Salish Sea; skimboard along the flat, sandy coastline; picnic with fresh, local products from the farmers’ market, grocery store, or bakery; read a book; and gather with friends and
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As day turns into night, locals congregate on the pebbled beaches that line the ocean—lighting beach fires, sipping
beverages, cooking dinner, and roasting marshmallows. Taking in the emotions of the sea, and watching as the setting sun turns the sky into a myriad of warm colours and the moon rises above the coastal mountains to cast its reflection on the water is an awe-inspiring experience. Winter storms that sweep through this region provide enough driftwood to invoke endless creativity and play. The aimless placement of beach logs allows you to jump and balance, stand and stretch, or sit and ponder. Driftwood fort building is an activity enjoyed by people of all ages. Our oceanside beaches are wonderful places to reconnect with land and sea, and experience the raw beauty of an ever changing ecosystem dictated by the moon and the tides. Inland, the numerous freshwater lakes within our region are marked with beaches that suit any interest. If you’re looking for a family-friendly, sandy beach in close proximity to Campbell River, then McIvor Lake is your best bet. With a number of access points to choose from, it’s a clean, safe place for
swimming, wading, boating, paddling, and picnicking. A few of its beaches are dog-friendly, just be sure to check the signage and choose accordingly. If you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, you can access Buttle, Upper and Lower Campbell, Muchalat, and Fry Lakes from Highway 28 and a number of gravel roads. Each offer natural beaches with varying degrees of seclusion, sand, rocks, and water entry. The lake and ocean beaches within Campbell River and its region are as diverse and abundant as the area itself, and one can truly spend a lifetime exploring and playing in, on, and around them. Come immerse yourself in the everlasting adventure of our beaches.
WORDS BY LAUREL SLISKOVIC REBECCA SPIT, PHOTO BY SUAVAIR
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 13
Wildlife Watching Central Vancouver Island sits at a powerful confluence of land and sea. Salmon rivers and lush wetlands drain to the ocean, while forested hills rise to the mountains in Strathcona Provincial Park. To the west, the beautiful expanse of the Pacific Ocean awaits beyond the misty shores of Nootka Sound. Rich with wolves, black bears, and eagles, this majestic wilderness is also home to humpback whales, grey whales, and transient killer whales. Sea otter populations are also rebuilding off of Vancouver Island’s west coast, with many rafts living in and around the area. To the east, the intricate waterways of Discovery Passage join formidable inlets and river valleys from the mainland’s coastal mountain range. Whether it is birds, bears, fish, or marine mammals, an incredible variety of wildlife and landscape is waiting in any direction. Northern resident killer whales compete for salmon amongst Steller sea lions, dolphins, grey whales and humpbacks. Between diverse marine and mountain habitats, the area hosts abundant species of birds and mammals. Strathcona Provincial Park is dominated by rugged mountain landscapes, and the park and surrounding areas between Campbell River and YEAR ROUND Bald eagles, especially in salmon rivers in fall and winter Wolves Sea otters in Nootka Sound Minke whales, Dall’s porpoises, harbour porpoises, Pacific white sided dolphins, Biggs (transient) killer whales, Stellar sea lions, and harbour seals Columbia black-tailed deer rut
MAR Pacific herring return, attracting birds and marine mammals along beaches and eelgrass meadows Diverse migratory birds, like loons, Brant geese, grebes, and surf scoters, return to estuaries and waterways Pacific chorus frogs sing Grey whales in Nootka Sound
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APR Bird breeding season begins; birds like warblers, thrushes, and purple martins are very vocal establishing nests and attracting mates Eagles mate Diverse waterfowl Bears begin to emerge from hibernation; grizzlies in estuaries in Bute Inlet Grey whales in Nootka Sound
Sayward are home to a variety of wildlife, including Vancouver Island marmot, Roosevelt elk, cougars, wolves, and black bears. In addition to Strathcona Provincial Park, other popular wildlife viewing areas can be found in Elk Falls Provincial Park, the Beaver Lodge Lands, Oyster Bay Shoreline Park, and Miracle Beach Provincial Park. If it is grizzly bears that you want to see, arrange a tour with local operators in Campbell River—such as Discovery Marine Safaris and Campbell River Whale Watching and Wildlife Adventure Tours—to cross Discovery Passage and view bears in the mainland estuaries and rivers of Bute Inlet. Abundant birding opportunities, for both migratory and sea birds, are available down from the mountains and towards the coast. Explore the Campbell River Estuary, the Woodhus Slough (near Oyster River Regional Park), Miracle Beach, and the island habitats in Discovery Passage, including Mitlenatch Island Nature Provincial Park. Mitlenatch hosts the Salish Sea’s largest seabird colony of glaucous-winged gulls, and is also home to nesting pelagic cormorants, pigeon guillemots, and black oystercatchers. Five species of Pacific salmon and steelhead connect west and east coast ocean environments to the Island’s interior through many fish-bearing rivers. Spawning fish are important to the
MAY Migratory birds travel Bears feed on beaches and in estuaries Roosevelt elk calving Humpback whales on both coasts Grey whales in Nootka Sound
JUNE Bears feed on beaches and in estuaries Roosevelt elk calving Humpback whales on both coasts Grey whales in Nootka Sound Great gull chick viewing from Mitlenatch Island’s bird blind
JULY Salmon migrate in coastal waters, attracting marine mammals Bears eating berries. Humpback whales on both coasts Grey whales in Nootka Sound
AUG Salmon migrate in coastal waters and attract marine mammals Bears feed on berries and salmon; grizzlies begin to feed in the rivers and estuaries of Bute Inlet Humpback whales on both coasts Grey whales in Nootka Sound
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CAMPBELL RIVER W H A L E WATC H I NG
region’s bears, eagles, and other terrestrial wildlife fattening up for the challenges of winter. They also provide important marine-derived nutrients for the surrounding ecosystem. Salmon spawn in late summer and fall, while steelhead (salmon’s more elusive cousin) can be in river systems any time from July through March. Head down to the Campbell or Quinsam Rivers for great salmon viewing. The Quinsam River Hatchery is nearby and offers educational opportunities.
campbellriverwhalewatching.com • Discovery Harbour Marina Floathouse - Dock E paSSionate aBout ethical vieWing & conServation!
If you’re feeling more adventurous, check out snorkeling opportunities with eco tour operators in Campbell River to get up close and personal with these incredible animals. Many of Canada’s foremost naturalists and artists—from Roderick Haig-Brown to Emily Carr—have been inspired by the beauty of Central Vancouver Island’s marine-mountain crossroads. For a piece of conservation history, the Haig-Brown Heritage House along the Campbell River is open to the public. WORDS BY MEGAN ADAMS
PHOTO BY APRIL BENCZE SEPT Salmon return to rivers to spawn Bears feed on salmon and crab apples; grizzlies in rivers and estuaries of Bute Inlet Northern resident killer whales in Discovery Passage Humpback whales on both coasts Roosevelt elk rut Grey whales in Nootka Sound Raptors (hawks, turkey vultures) congregate and migrate Migrating flocks of Sandhill cranes
OCT Salmon return to rivers to spawn Bears feed on salmon and crab apples; grizzlies in rivers and estuaries of Bute Inlet Huge numbers of gulls, eagles, and smaller birds on salmon streams, eating eggs and flesh Humpback whales on both coasts Grey whales in Nootka Sound
NOV - FEB More than anywhere in Canada, overwintering waterfowl come into bays, inlets, lakes, and marshes in huge numbers Trumpeter swans and snow geese overwinter in agricultural areas, and near wetlands Join groups in Campbell River or Sayward for the December Christmas bird count
Whale Watching SafariS & grizzly Bear expeditionS
250-287-7008 or 1-866-501-6722 adventurewhalewatching.com Campbell RiveR aCRoss fRom fisheRman’s WhaRf
Culinary Delights Campbell River and its surrounding areas are special places with a diverse range of outdoor activities, natural beauty, and plentiful dining options. With an abundance of local food producers, farmers, and fishermen, there are many ways to enjoy local cuisine and small scale beverage producers. When I first moved here, I was blown away by the variety of food and beverages being cultivated and created. Driving along Highway 19A, one can see Shelter Point Distillery where they distill vodka from a single grain of barley grown right on the property. In 2016, they released their inaugural batch of awardwinning whiskey after ageing it to perfection for five years. If coffee is your thing, I suggest a visit to FoggDukkers Coffee Hut on the South Island Highway in Willow Point. If watching cruise ships pass by and listening to music around the fire pit on the beach doesn’t impress you, then the friendly staff at this oceanside coffee bar definitely will. Their welcoming crew always makes for a better day. One of my favourite things to do after morning coffee is stop by and chat with the team down at Crabby Bobs. At this family-owned and operated floating crab shack, seafood doesn’t get any fresher. With multiple live tanks at the ready, fishermen drop off their daily catch of crab, shellfish, prawns, and scallops, as well as salmon, halibut, and cod. This unique place is truly a West Coast experience, especially when they cook your crab for you to immediately enjoy 16 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
on the floating patio. Crabby Bobs serves the community of Campbell River, as well as a number of resorts and chefs, including myself, located in the Discovery Islands archipelago. If you’re still hungry after your visit to the docks, definitely head to Dick’s Fish & Chips across the street from Discovery Pier. When I was moving to Campbell River, I spoke with my grandparents about their travels to Campbell River many years ago, and Dick’s was one of the places that stood out after all those years. The food is fresh and delicious, the environment is unique, and their new location overlooks the docks along the South Island Highway. Two more hotspots for fresh fish and chips in Campbell River are Dockside—down on the dock at the Coast Marina—and at the seasonally-operated concession stand located on the Discovery Pier, which is also home to Campbell River’s largest ice cream cones. The brewmaster over at Beach Fire Brewing is definitely striving for excellence. It’s well worth your time to head over to sample the first commercially brewed craft beer in downtown Campbell River. Beach Fire Brewing and Nosh House is a comforting neighbourhood hangout located on 11th Avenue that specializes in tapas and a variety of outstanding craft beer. For those looking for some variety in their meals, in the heart of downtown are Quay West and Miki’s Sesame Sushi and a variety
SHELTER POINT DISTILLERY & IDEAL CAFE PHOTOS BY BOOMER JERRITT
of other culinary delights that feature ocean views. Located in the Merecroft Plaza is Acropolis Steakhouse, offering authentic Greek cuisine and fine grilled steaks. Acropolis is also famous with locals for their Calamari, fresh in-house made pizzas and legendary service. Wasabiya Japanese Sushi Cafe and the MVP Pub & Family Restaurant are also located in the same shopping district. In Discovery Harbour, the dining choices are plentiful. The food and view at the Riptide Marine Pub make it a popular choice amongst locals and visitors. Everything from fresh seafood to sushi to pasta ensures that there is something for every palate. Visit friendly Moxies for a satisfying selection that pleases the entire family, or relax in their lounge for a drink with friends. The Harbour Grill is another option for those seeking delectable West Coast fine dining. When here, you can always count on a great meal like lobster tails, rack of lamb or local halibut, as well as excellent views of Campbell River’s Discovery Harbour Marina, Johnstone Strait, and the beautiful coastal mountains. When adventuring north, you will find Campbell River’s oldest restaurant. The historic Ideal Café boasts hearty all day breakfast, soul satisfying lunches, and the best homemade milkshakes around these parts. Just outside of town are the CONTINUE
well-known Painters Lodge and Dolphins Resort, both offering delightful fine dining options with a West Coast culinary feel.
tourists alike flock to the beaches along the Island Highway for bonfire cookouts.
Also be sure to make the drive north to The Narrows Floating Restaurant at Brown’s Bay Resort. Here, you can enjoy all-youcan-eat crab on special nights throughout the summer months. Watch humpback whales swim and bald eagles fish as you enjoy as much crab as you can eat for a reasonable price. These popular evenings fill up quickly, so be sure to call ahead and make a reservation.
For a unique addition to your meal plans, book yourself a private chef to prepare lunch and dinner in your vacation home. The rich bounty found within our region is sure to make food and beverage the highlight of your travels.
If you’re looking to pick up some food and cook it yourself, there is no better backdrop than sitting on the beach and listening to the surf while you cook up dinner down by the water. Locals and 18 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
Whether Campbell River is a stop along the way—or the destination—the dining options are endless. Start planning your trip to discover our edible delights! WORDS BY CHEF JADE BERG PHOTO BY JAMES HEADRICK
Shopping Campbell River is well-known for its fishing and an abundance of outdoor activities, but some of its best kept secrets lie within the realm of retail. Our community offers a diverse retail experience with malls that are home to big box stores and national chains, and an abundance of unique shops and boutiques that you won’t find anywhere else. Traditional malls such as Discovery Harbour Shopping Centre, Tyee Plaza, Mariner Square, Campbell River Common, Merecroft Village, Willow Point Village, and Timberline Village are spread throughout the community, and we have a bounty of hidden gems waiting for you to discover. When exploring the historical areas of Shoppers Row and Pier Street, you will find yourself doing more than window shopping. Hours can be spent browsing the many rooms and character items at Pier Street Trading Post, turning pages at Coho Books, or visiting one of the many enchanting specialty gift shops along the way. You can also treat yourself to unique accessories and beauty products from Tangles Salon or fine lingerie stores like La Tee Da Lingerie Boutique and Shadoe Intimates. A tour of Awatin Aboriginal Art Gallery will have you adding wonderful carving and weaving pieces to your collection, and the bounty of jewelry stores will guarantee the perfect gift for someone special. Not far from downtown is the famed Mussels & More Pottery. This family-owned and operated gift shop and pottery studio is the perfect place to purchase nautical themed dinnerware and bathroom sinks created by potter Jan Sell. You can also choose
PHOTOS BY JENN DYKSTRA & BOOMER JERRITT
from a selection of sterling silver jewelry, luxurious handmade soaps, glass work, and unique wooden serving utensils. From the beginning of May through September, be sure to visit the Pier Street Farmers’ Market and Arts Fair every Sunday. Located in front of the Maritime Heritage Centre, the market is filled with fresh locally farmed products, fabulous food vendors, and a wealth of talented artists and crafters proudly selling their wares. The addition of live music, a waterfront location, and spectacular views makes for an enticing atmosphere to connect with locals and savour the flavours of our community. If treasure hunting is your passion, we have a number of boutique thrift and consignment stores to choose from. Hunt your way through the fantastic pre-loved items at New Beginnings and Classy Katz in Willow Point; or seek out some fabulously unique secondhand items in our downtown core at places like: Oasis Select Consignment, Wish Want Wear, Qualitown Thrift Store, Needful Things, and Pier Street Trading Post. A short ferry ride lands you over at Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island. There you’ll find the main commercial and residential hub complete with an eclectic collection of cafés, colourful shops, art galleries, banking, groceries, and much more. From books to whole foods, to liquor and marine supplies, there’s a lot of shopping to be had on Quadra Island. Whether you’re looking for one-of-a-kind pieces of art, brand name items, or a unique new-to-you trinket, you’ll always find what you’re looking for when shopping in our region. CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 19
Arts & Culture It is said that if one wants to understand the identity of a place, then one should pay attention to what the artists are doing. The arts highlight the energy, creativity, and passion of what it means to be a community. How could one possibly understand the vibrant and rich community of Campbell River without focusing on art and culture? Of particular note is the recent emphasis the community has placed on public art. Public art is gaining traction in cities around the world for its ‘place making’ ability. The arts serve as the central element of what identifies a place as unique— integrating a sense of identity and excitement into the experience of a place. Look around Campbell River and you will find that innovative approaches to art are beginning to appear all over the city. Water utility boxes, traffic boxes, generators, crosswalks, and murals display our contemporary artists. The aim of the city is to make the urban environment comparable to an outdoor gallery. Chainsaw sculptures—a unique legacy of our community—are produced and integrated into the city yearly. The Campbell River Arts Council, in partnership with the Hospital Auxiliary, has brought community art into the local hospital in recognition of the therapeutic value of the arts. The Arts Council also partners with various community social service agencies to provide programming for youth, music for seniors, and the ever popular Community Banner Program which adorns our streets with local school art each summer. It is important to remember that the arts are not merely a distraction or an embellishment; they are woven into the very fibre of what it means to live and work within a community. 20 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
Spirit Square is alive with popular music and theatre programming, activating the central core of our city all summer long. The Campbell River Art Gallery, adjacent to Spirit Square, brings the work of national and international artists into the gallery throughout the year, linking many of its exhibitions to local educational opportunities for youth. The bright pink Tidemark Theatre, located across the street from Spirit Square, is a 467 seat art deco jewel that programs dynamic performing arts, many of which are accessible to the multitude of local dance, music, and theatre organizations. Local First Nations traditions are a classic example of ‘living history,’ the slogan made popular by the Museum at Campbell River. One visit to the Museum brings alive the rich traditions and heritage of this fascinating region and its people. Located on The Spit, the Carving Shed of Master Carver Bill Henderson, along with his nephew Junior, demonstrates that graphic and carving traditions are alive and well, and will leave a profound and lasting impression on its visitors. Quadra Island makes for an intriguing journey to witness many artists’ studios. The Annual Studio Tour is held each year in early June, and it’s amazing to see how many artists live and create on both Quadra and Cortes Islands. Stop in at the Village of Cape Mudge to visit the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre, known for its potlatch collection and totem poles. Acting as bookends for the city are the heritage buildings of the Sybil Andrews Cottage, located in Willow Point at the south end, and the Haig-Brown House located in Campbellton at the north end. Sybil Andrews (1898-1992) was a world famous artist who emerged out of the Grosvenor School in England. Her futurist
PHOTOS BY BOOMER JERRITT
linocut prints, embracing speed, dynamism, and energy, garner great attention in the global auction market. The Cottage is also the home of the Campbell River Arts Council. Roderick Haig-Brown (1908-1976) was a writer and an early voice for environmental stewardship. An expert fly-fisher, his books offer an elegant musing on the great natural beauty of this region, alongside the perils of development. His wife, Ann Elmore (1908-1990), was a strong early voice for women and social justice issues. They were indeed a couple ahead of their time. The house is managed by the Museum, and is used as a bed and breakfast during the summer months while serving as a host location for an annual Writer-in-Residence Program. Speaking of literature, the annual Words on the Water Festival that takes place in March is a national gem that brings writers from across the country to Campbell River. As a compliment to the world-class natural geography of the Campbell River region, the arts are a tremendous social resource. Whether contributing to the experience of walking around town, or woven into the fabric of everyday life for youth, families and seniors, the arts strike to the core of what we mean when we talk about the quality of life. While servicing the needs of the community, art and culture showcases the dynamism of this amazing place. To understand the nature of a community it is necessary to look around and see what the arts are doing. The artists of Campbell River are located at the crossroads of our social, cultural, environmental, and economic sectors contributing to a lifestyle and energy of a place unlike any community on Vancouver Island. WORDS BY KEN BLACKBURN
Heritage The first stop for visitors wanting to delve into the history of our region—and certainly a must see for anyone visiting Campbell River—is the Museum at Campbell River. You will be pleasantly surprised to find world-class exhibits that rival any big city museum experience. The highlight for many is the story of Siwidi, where you sit in a darkened theatre and listen to Chief Bob Joseph tell a story of undersea adventure as you watch the intricately carved First Nations masks light up. The museum is family-friendly, with hands-on elements to keep kids of all ages thoroughly engaged. Before you leave, take a seat in the vintage Van Isle Theatre and watch the 18 minute documentary on the history of the Ripple Rock explosion. It is the world’s largest nonnuclear explosion that took place in our waters, removing the worst navigational hazard on the west coast of North America. The Museum offers year-round programming, including summer historic boat tours. These boat tours offer opportunities to learn a little more about the region’s history, while taking in endless breathtaking scenery and a gourmet lunch. Like many locals, I regularly make the trek to Elk Falls to walk the suspension bridge. It’s on the to-do list of every visitor to 22 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
Campbell River—at least those who don’t fear heights—and for good reason. The recent addition of the suspension bridge gives visitors a whole new perspective as you find yourself standing high above the clear, rushing waters of the Campbell River Canyon. On your trip to the falls, The John Hart Interpretive Centre lets you explore the history of hydro-electric development in Campbell River. There is also a friendly host to greet you, and provide information that helps add context to the current large scale upgrades happening to the dam. Having lived here for over a decade, my favourite place in Campbell River is Haig-Brown House. This historic home on riverfront property along the Campbell River was the family home of Roderick and Ann Haig-Brown. Both important people in Campbell River’s history for their respective contributions to the community, Roderick is also a designated Person of National Historic Significance. Their modest farmhouse now spends its summers as a bed and breakfast, and its winters housing a WriterIn-Residence. The property is open to the public, where you can sit at a picnic table near the vegetable garden and listen to the river flowing by, as the famous author and conservationist once did. There is also a festival every year on World Rivers Day, where
MUSEUM AT CAMPBELL RIVER, PHOTO BY LEE SIMMONS
you can enter the study that contains over 4000 books and learn about this remarkable family. Another internationally well-known figure was local linocut artist, Sybil Andrews. Her former home, the Sybil Andrews Cottage, has been lovingly restored and now provides a haven in Willow Point for local artists and holds the office of the Campbell River Community Arts Council. One of the region’s national moments occurred during the sockeye season of 1958, when a seiner fishing boat was photographed at Ripple Point. The now-famous photo was used on the back of the Canadian $5 bill from 1972 to 1986, and that boat is called the BCP45. Now resting at Campbell River’s Maritime Heritage Centre, the boat is accompanied by exhibits of maritime artifacts. The Rotary Hall at the Maritime Heritage Centre—with stunning ocean views to one side and the majestic fishing vessel to the other—is a place where great memories are made. There is a little book called Exploring Quadra Island written by local author Jeanette Taylor. With this book as my guide, my
PHOTO BY JENN DYKSTRA
family has been exploring every inch of Quadra Island and learning its history along the way. The index has become a mini bucket list for my family’s future adventures. My young son’s favourite place on Quadra Island is Lucky Jim Mine, and the nearby crumbling log homes hidden in the forest that once housed mine workers. Personally, I’m most fascinated by the petroglyphs on the beach near Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge at the southern tip of the Island. When visiting, be sure to stop in at the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre and see its sacred Potlach Collection. Like Campbell River, Quadra Island has a rich history just waiting to be explored. It can be hard to imagine what took place all those year ago, but it certainly is fun trying to piece together the stories of the past from one adventure to the next.
WORDS BY ERIKA ANDERSON
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 23
Family-Friendly Fun It’s a well-known fact that Campbell River and its surrounding communities are phenomenal places to live, work, and play. They are also wonderful places to raise your family. From those with deep roots spanning generations to those who’ve firmly transplanted themselves from elsewhere in this province, country, and beyond, this region is filled with a diverse collection of people of all ages, living and loving life on North Central Vancouver Island. As the seasons change, we are lucky to live in a temperate climate that allows us to continuously enjoy a variety of community activities and outdoor adventures all year long. Here, there is never the chance of boredom setting in whether you’re sticking around your community or venturing into unknown territory. A typical day could include a number of family-friendly activities like casting your lines at Discovery Pier, exploring the touch tanks of the Discovery Passage Aquarium, hitting the trails out at the Snowden Demonstration Forest, or strolling through the Pier Street Farmers’ Market on a lazy Sunday. You could also burn some energy at the Willow Point Skatepark or simply choose to relax and enjoy an ice cream cone or a coffee from one of our many beaches, as you watch a pod of killer whales travel through Discovery Passage. Looking to head underground, it’s a relatively easy drive to go explore Upana Caves with the kids. It is well-worth the drive to watch their eyes open wide upon your first decent into the caverns as they take in the darkness, the cool temperature, and the wild state of their surroundings. A little more investment of time could have your family scoping out Little Huson Caves from both above and below ground. If you’re looking to stay above ground and give your legs a good stretch, head out on a hike to any number of trailheads located 24 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
within close proximity to Campbell River, such as Canyon View Trails, the Quinsam River Trail, Ripple Rock, or the Beaver Lodge Ponds. There are also a number of quick and easy day hikes once you find your way into Strathcona Provincial Park and take in the pristine beauty of places like Lower Myra Falls, Lupin Falls, and Wild Ginger. Moderate hikes such as Crest Mountain Trail and Bedwell Lake Trail make for excellent family days. And don’t forget the panoramic views up Chinese Mountains over on Quadra Island, and just a short ferry ride from downtown Campbell River. The weather isn’t a big deterrent to fun, but if you’re needing a break from the elements there’s ample indoor activity to keep your family busy. Whether you’re borrowing books from the local library branch, taking in some history at the Museum at Campbell River or the Maritime Heritage Centre, teaching your kids about top roping at On the Rocks Indoor Climbing Gym, or splashing around the indoor pool at Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex, there is much to see and do inside. If the snow’s flying, our region serves up some pretty epic winter activities whether you’re strapping on snowshoes, a pair of skis, or a snowboard at one of our two ski resorts and their surrounding recreational areas. Whatever the ages and abilities of your family unit, the natural wonders and urban amenities of our friendly coastal communities instill a hardy sense of adventure and a strong connection to your people and to nature.
WORDS BY BEVIN CLEMPSON PHOTO BY EIKO JONES
Community Events JANUARY TO MARCH Annual Polar Bear Swim at Saratoga Beach www.whatsondigest.com Words on the Water, Campbell River Writer's Festival www.wordsonthewater.ca Held at the Campbell River's Maritime Heritage Centre
CANADA DAY FIREWORKS PHOTO BY NIK DUNN
LOGGER SPORTS PHOTO BY BOOMER JERRITT
PIER STREET FARMERS' MARKET PHOTO BY LEE SIMMONS
APRIL TO JUNE Pier Street Farmers' Market Sundays www.pierstreet.ca/farmers-market · May through September Quadra Island Studio Tour · www.quadraislandarts.com Ocean's Day at the Aquarium www.discoverypassageaquarium.ca Royal Lepage Campbell River Salmon Derby www.crsalmonderby.com S eafest Oyster Festival on Cortes Island www.ourcortes.com T ransformations on the Shore Carving Contest www.crshorelinearts.ca Race the River Dragon Boat Festival www.racetheriver.ca · 2017 Info Not Available Kusam Klimb · www.kusamklimb.com The Nite B4 at Spirit Square · www.spiritsquare.ca JULY TO SEPTEMBER Pier Street Farmers' Market Sundays www.pierstreet.ca/farmers-market · May through September Canada Day Celebrations · www.crcanadaday.com T he Campbell River Mirror Charity Jazz & Blues Weekend www.spiritsquare.ca Wings ‘n Wheels · www.crairport.ca R iver City Arts Festival · www.rivercityartsfest.com Tribal Journeys · www.museumatcapemudge.com/tribal-journeys August 5 - 10, 2017 CR Live Streets · www.downtowncampbellriver.com/cr-live-streets 2017 Dates Not Confirmed C ampbell River Salmon Festival 50th Anniversary www.crsalmonfestival.com North Island Cruisers Show 'n Shine · www.nicruisers.ca Snowden Trail Challenge · www.snowdentrailchallenge.com Fall Festival at Haig-Brown House www.haig-brown.bc.ca/fall-festival-haig-brown-house OCTOBER TO JANUARY Pumpkinfest · www.spiritsquare.ca Christmas Markets · www.pierstreet.ca/christmas-markets/ Toy & Craft Show and Sale www.campbellriver.ca/discover-campbell-river/events/community-calendar 2017 Info Not Available Pier Street Christmas Market · www.pierstreet.ca/christmas-markets Starlight Shopping & Big Truck Parade www.downtowncampbellriver.com/starlight-shopping-and-big-truck-parade Festival of Trees · www.crmuseum.ca 2017 Dates Not Confirmed ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF EVENTS AND INFORMATION Spirit Square Concerts and Events · www.spiritsquare.ca Exhibits & Historic Boat Tours at the Museum at Campbell River www.crmuseum.ca Campbell River Visitor Centre www.visitorcentre.ca or firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 25
First Nations The air will be fragrant with the smell of smoking salmon, and the shores lined with thousands of visitors who’ve come to witness the arrival of the Tribal Journeys’ canoes landing on the beaches of Discovery Passage. As the first of the canoes glide towards shore, the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum Nations will stand together to welcome canoe families into their territories. This six-day event celebrates the dugout canoe, the traditional mode of transportation for the First Peoples of the coastal corridor in pre-contact times. Fashioned from a single large cedar tree, the canoes were capable of successfully navigating the rugged coastlines of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. Despite their importance, their use has all but disappeared with changing technologies and resources, and years of culturally restrictive legislation. The first canoe journey of this century was undertaken by the Glwa canoe family of the Heiltsuk Nation in Bella Bella, who paddled 500 kilometres from their community to Expo ‘86 in Vancouver. Three years later, the First Peoples of Washington State organized the Paddle to Seattle to celebrate the recognition of aboriginal rights and titles. While there, the Glwa canoe family invited those gathered to join them in their territory in 1993 and Tribal Journeys began. During Tribal Journeys, canoe families paddle from their coastal communities to other coastal communities towards the host nation. Along the way, tribes share their stories, their songs, and their dances, strengthening their connection to each other, to the land, and to their cultural heritage. Depending on distance, some will travel more than five weeks to reach their destination. On August 5 canoes will reach the shores of Cape Mudge, and on August 7 canoes will reach the shores of Campbell River. Public 26 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
community feasts will be held to celebrate the arrival of the canoes, as well as artisans providing unique gifts and keepsakes, and food vendors offering both traditional and non-traditional fare. Shuttle services will be ready to transport visitors from the BC Ferries terminal in Quathiaski Cove to the landing and protocol sites on Quadra Island. Be sure to plan extra time to visit the Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre in the Village of Cape Mudge. Nuyumbalees is home to the Sacred Potlatch Collection repatriated from the Federal Government, and the oldest facility of its kind in Canada. Eight totem poles surround the centre, and the Native Garden, situated on the shores of Discovery Passage, offers spectacular views. Have your camera ready to capture the orca and humpback whales often seen from shore. BC Ferries provides daily year-round service from Vancouver Island, and the return trip from Quadra Island is a great opportunity to view Campbell River from the water. The terminal at Robert Ostler Park features First Nations welcome poles and art. Beautiful hand carved totems dot scenic walkways and mark the gateway to shopping and attractions across the City of Campbell River. If you’re looking for a special souvenir, visit the Henderson Family Carving Shed where you will find Master Carver Bill Henderson creating beautiful pieces from cedar. Or, if you prefer, stop in at the House of Treasures where many local artisans showcase their work. Regardless of how you choose to spend your time in our territory, we welcome you. Enjoy the beauty of our lands and the authentic offerings of our people.
WORDS BY JODI SIMKIN PHOTO BY JAMES HEADRICK
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE Â· 27
Biking Not often thought of as a cycling destination, Campbell River is perhaps one of the last unplucked gems when it comes to riding bikes on Vancouver Island. With its lengthy and scenic shoreline, close proximity to accessible green space, and extensive cycling infrastructure, Campbell River provides cyclists of all types a fun and memorable experiences on two wheels. Perhaps the best known area is the Snowden Demonstration Forest. Maintained by the River City Cycling Club, this network of trails allows mountain bikers of all abilities to go get their stoke on. You can get a map of the area on the Trail Forks website, but I suggest stopping by any one of the local bike shops or the Visitor Centre before heading out, because a little local knowledge can go a long way. Depending on your appetite, you will find trails with degrees of terrain from gentle and flowing, to steep and rocky, and everything in between. Trail features include a little something for everyone including berms, bridges, bumps, and jumps. This trail system is well-marked and available maps rate the trails using the familiar green for beginner, blue for intermediate, and black for extreme. 28 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
For a great introduction to the area and the type of terrain that Snowden has to offer, park at the Lost Lake parking lot and follow the Riley Lake Connector to Lookout Loop and back along Enchanted Forest. From there it’s a short climb up an access road, and then your choice of the several technical descents from the extreme (Vlad the Impaler), to the fun and flowy (Headbanger Hookup) await you. All of these trails link you back onto the Riley Lake Connector, and from there you can roll back to the parking lot for high-fives and post-ride revelry. Located a little closer to town, the Beaver Lodge Lands—fondly called “The Beav” by locals—is stewarded by the Greenways Land Trust. It provides riders with a number of wider double track trails built on retired railway grade. Without many changes in elevation, trails in “The Beav” are enjoyed by riders of all ages and riding levels. If you’re looking for trails that are a little burlier, you definitely want to head ten minutes north of town to Menzies Mountain. If you own a 4x4 vehicle, you can shuttle to the top of the access road. Otherwise, you’re looking at an hour and a half steep,
technical ride up the access road for which you are well rewarded. As you descend back down the mountain, riders encounter skinnies, chutes, and drops, in addition to breathtaking views of the surrounding area. The trails off Menzies are steep, fast, and extremely technical—not for the timid or fainthearted. If paved roads are what you prefer, the highways and roadways in and around Campbell River offer safe and wide shoulders (for the most part), and some spectacular views of Mount Washington and Discovery Passage. If you’re up for an adventure, ride along Highway 28 to the historic Strathcona Park Lodge situated on Upper Campbell Lake. If you like cinnamon buns, head north to Roberts Lake. Both rides are as challenging as they are scenic, and it’s important to ride with caution as these roads are frequented by logging trucks and buses. If you’re hesitant to venture out on your own, consider a guided tour. Still searching for more two wheeled adventure? Hop on the ferry and visit Quadra Island where you can ride the rolling pavement
that circumvents the island. Quadra is also one of mountain biking’s best kept secrets, so prepare to hit the dirt. Before you catch the last ferry back, be sure to stop in at Herriot Bay and grab a coffee, or take a dip in the ocean at Rebecca Spit. Also, aficionados of lift accessible downhill mountain biking can make the 40 minute drive south to the Mount Washington Bike Park that reopened in the summer of 2016. Regardless of where and how you choose to ride your bike in and around Campbell River, you can be guaranteed that when you reach your destination you will arrive with a smile on your face and a little breathless.
WORDS BY DAVE NOWAK PHOTOS BY JAMES HEADRICK & LORENZ JIMENEZ
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 29
Hiking & Climbing Lofty mountain peaks, valleys of towering trees, and windswept coastlines await you. For people who love to get their feet on terra firma and explore wilderness, Campbell River is ground zero for a fantastic array of hiking, climbing, and mountaineering adventures. From challenging coastal hikes to easy day walks among lush old-growth forests and multi-day backpacking trips through the heart of Strathcona Provincial Park, there’s something for all abilities and ambitions. For climbers, there are sun-dappled rock crags for top roping and sport climbing fit for families and rock jocks. There are also technical alpine routes leading to the summits of some of Vancouver Island's most impressive peaks. All of this remarkable hiking and climbing lies within a day's drive of Campbell River. Lucky you! DAY HIKING For day hikes, there are quite a few to put on your bucket—or should I say boot—list. Ripple Rock Trail is a local favourite. This 8km round trip excursion meanders along Menzies Bay to Wilfred Point, and overlooks Seymour Narrows and the site of the famous controlled explosion of 1958 that removed the dangerous navigational hazard known as Ripple Rock. North of Campbell River, near the turnoff for Sayward on Hwy 19, lies Mount H'Kusam and the legendary Bill's Trail, built over many years by local legend Bill West, and now the location of the annual 23km long test of endurance—the wild and rugged Kusam Climb trail running race. West of Campbell River on Hwy 28, The Canyon View Trail in Elk Falls Provincial Park is a well-maintained 6 km walking path that winds above the crystal clear waters of Campbell River and features a breathtaking 80 foot suspension bridge. Jog it or walk it—it’s a beautiful trail just minutes from downtown. 30 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
On the eastern shore of Buttle Lake, in Strathcona Provincial Park, Lupin Falls Nature Walk is a lovely one hour loop. Suitable for families, the trail winds through ancient trees towards Lupin Falls, a gorgeous cascade that's draped in ferns and other lush forest vegetation. South of Campbell River, Miracle Beach Provincial Park features easy walking trails among towering Douglas fir, and sits next to Black Creek where you can watch salmon spawn in the fall. There’s also the broad, sandy beach that provides rich tidal pools that are perfect for observing a variety of marine life. In Gold River, the Peppercorn Trail begins at the Gold River Bridge and traverses above the canyon of the town's namesake river. Watch whitewater paddlers challenge the rapids and fishermen cast their lines for steelhead and salmon. In Zeballos, the easy Zeballos Estuary Trail is a bird watcher's favourite, as well as anyone wanting a refreshing walk to stretch their legs and look for wildlife. Alternatively, the Little Zeballos Trail—the town's official tsunami evacuation route— offers a longer 5km hike through lush coastal forest. On Quadra Island, popular trails lead to both the north and south summits of Chinese Mountains. Or you can choose the less strenuous Morte Lake trail that wanders the forest below the slopes of Mt Seymour, and circumnavigates the lake and passes by several sandy swimming spots. BACKPACKING For those wanting longer journeys into the wilderness, there's an equally large variety of multi-day backpacking trips leading to beautiful mountain valleys, lakes, and meadows. Paradise Meadows, accessed via the Mount Washington Parkway, is popular with both day hikers and backpackers heading into backcountry campsites at Lake Helen McKenzie, Circlet Lake, and other beautiful locations in Strathcona
Provincial Park. A varied, interesting and challenging 20km hike winds through forest meadows and rocky alpine to the prominent summit of Mount Albert Edward. Bedwell Lake is another one of Strathcona's favoured hiking destinations. From the trailhead in Thelwood Valley at the south end of Buttle Lake, hikers ascend a well-maintained trail through shady forest and rock bluffs, featuring steel ladders to overcome difficult sections. After 4km of hiking, you arrive at the picturesque campsite on Baby Bedwell Lake. Two more kilometres of challenging hiking leads you to Bedwell Lake, and another campsite that serves as a staging area to explore Big Interior Mountain, Cream Lake, and more destinations in this stunning corner of Strathcona Provincial Park. The popular Elk River Trail parallels rushing Elk River for 11km, gaining 600m of elevation and featuring two backcountry campgrounds before culminating at the lovely Landslide Lake situated near the foot of Mount Colonel Foster's imposing east face. MOUNTAINEERING Climbers and mountaineers take note: the complex and rugged topography of Vancouver Island offers plenty of options for experienced alpinists. Local outdoor enthusiasts have known it for years; however, more and more people are discovering that the Island is much more than beautiful beaches and big trees, and that Campbell River is as much a mountain town as it is a coastal city. Strathcona Provincial Park offers an endless variety of challenging alpine routes that require a combination of rock, glacier, and snow climbing skills. Golden Hinde is Vancouver Island's highest summit at 2195m, and roughly located at the centre of the park far from any road. It's a remote and alluring peak for alpine adventurers, not to mention a commitment of four to seven days. The Elk River Valley offers access to several other iconic alpine objectives on the Island, including Elkhorn Mountain, Rambler
Peak, and Mount Colonel Foster, featuring routes of up to 1000 vertical metres in height on solid basalt rock. Nearby, the King's Peak Trail is a demanding route that passes through a grove of massive ancient cedar and Douglas fir before ascending steeply into a basin between Kings Peak and Queens Peaks, both of which offer moderate scrambles and technical ascents. Victoria Peak, Vancouver Island's third highest summit, is a prominent spire on the mountaineer's tick list, found in the Sutton Range north of Strathcona Provincial Park. ROCK CLIMBING
Campbell River is central to two of the region's best destinations. Crest Creek Crags, situated next to Hwy 28 and 20 minutes east of Gold River, is a well-established climbing area with more than 100 routes ranging in difficulty from an easy low 5 class to a hard 5.13. The crags, composed of compact basalt rock of volcanic origins, are connected by an excellent volunteer built and well-maintained trail network found on both sides of the highway, extending around Crest Lake. In more recent years, Quadra Island has become a rock climbing destination in its own right. More than a dozen different crags composed of course granitic basalt rock have been developed on Chinese Mountains, adjacent to Morte Lake, and offer climbing in the 5.6 to 5.12 range on a sunny south facing rock with stunning views of the Strait of Georgia. To remain in off-season climbing condition, or for a quick urban climbing fix any time of the year, On the Rocks Climbing Gym in Campbell River has an ever-changing mix of indoor top roping and bouldering routes to test your strength and flexibility.
WORDS BY ANDREW FINDLAY PHOTOS BY BOOMER JERRITT & LORENZ JIMENEZ
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 31
Golfing Playing golf on island time is truly an experience in nature. Here, golfers can enjoy the captivating, natural splendour and mild climate of our wild region from any one of our beautiful, public courses all year long. Depending on the season, you could easily find yourself swimming or skiing in the morning, and putting around our selection of wonderful greens in the afternoon. STOREY CREEK GOLF CLUB Vancouver Island’s outstanding championship golf course can be found a few minutes south of Campbell River. Designed and built by renowned Canadian golf architect, Les Furber, Storey Creek Golf Club has been delighting golfers since 1990. Ranked in the top ten best public courses in British Columbia, Storey Creek will delight you with both accolades and natural beauty. Because of its park-like setting it’s easy to take in the numerous sights and sounds of nature as you make your way around the course. With pristine fairways and expansive greens cutting their way through old-growth forest, you may find yourself navigating around the wildlife that live on and around the course. You learn early to keep your camera handy, ready to capture herds of deer, eagles and hawks soaring above, or the occasional black bear that saunters across the course and into the unending sweep of 150 foot tall fir trees caught in the sunlight. 32 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
With an unusually high mixture of par threes and par fives you will use every club in your bag to match the course par of 72. Water is in play on 14 of the 18 holes, including Storey Creek’s signature 12th hole with a water hazard cutting down the right side from the tee until the 100-yard marker. Easily walkable with a slight elevation change, power carts are available to those who want one. There’s also a full-length covered driving range, practice chipping and putting greens, and the Creekside Grill is always ready to satisfy your hunger and thirst at the 19th hole. SEQUOIA SPRINGS GOLF CLUB Sequoia Springs Golf Club sits on lush fairways and picturesque gardens overlooking the City of Campbell River. This challenging 18-hole course offers generous fairways to swing and succeed. The first nine holes are longer than the second by 550 yards, and feature three par fives beginning at the very first hole. Many shorter length par fours will satisfy long hitters. Afterwards, enjoy a beverage and a snack in the Sand-trap Lounge or out on the sunny garden patio overlooking the pond at the 18th green and first tee box. QUADRA ISLAND GOLF CLUB Just 10 minutes by ferry from Campbell River, the Quadra
Island Golf Club is a high-rated course enjoyable for both beginner and seasoned players alike. This nine-hole course offers the most diverse style of holes that leave you wanting to play at least twice. This course is loved for its challenge, condition, and breathtaking scenery. Let them know that you’re coming, and simply walk on the ferry with your clubs to take advantage of Quadra Island Golf Club’s free round-trip shuttle service from either of the BC Ferries Terminals, or get picked up and returned to any of the local resorts or marinas. RAINBOW’S END GOLF COURSE & CLUB HOUSE This nine-hole executive course is located outside of Sayward, about an hour north of Campbell River. Weaving through wooded areas beside a pristine river, this par-3 course will have you leaving your driver in the car and focusing on your short game. Skogan's Diner operates the grill at Rainbow’s End. It is rich in history, originally a bunkhouse for a local logging company, then transformed into a small school, a church, and then a home. You won’t want to miss the wall mural created by local artist, Nan Forester. With the owners constantly adding new features to the course, you never really know what awaits you until you arrive.
GOLD RIVER GOLF COURSE Just over a one hour scenic drive from Campbell River will find you at the Gold River Golf Course. Surrounded by a lush forest, this nine-hole course offers some of the finest golfing available on Vancouver Island. Their licensed lounge is a great place to enjoy a family meal or to stop for a quick drink and a snack. The beautiful grounds, running along the river are another enchanting reason to visit this course. SARATOGA BEACH GOLF CLUB Halfway between Campbell River and Courtenay, the family friendly Saratoga Beach Golf Club is a nine-hole course great for all skill levels. This picturesque, seasonally operated club is located close to Saratoga Beach and offers a lounge, driving range and putting greens. MIRACLE BEACH MINI GOLF
A 15 minute drive south from Campbell River is where you can find the seasonal fun-friendly Miracle Beach Mini Golf course. This 18-hole mini course offers a chance to win a free pass at the 18th hole. After playing the course you can treat yourself to coffee or ice cream.
WORDS BY STEVEN MACPHERSON · PHOTO BY BOOMER JERRITT
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 33
Mountain Life It’s snowing hard. I fog up the window staring at the flakes piling up on Mount Washington, dreaming about tomorrow. Dreaming about the way the trees will look like ghosts; about how the clouds will lay heavy over the valley below and I’ll be above them soaked in sunshine; about untracked turns and soft, buttery snow; about jumping on a toboggan, feeling crystals and wind nip at my face; and even about shoveling all that snow, but mostly so I can watch it pile up again and again. Mention Vancouver Island and most people think of endless ocean and lush rainforest, but standing between the two are a couple hundred mountains. Accessing most of those ranges requires a lot of sweat and time, but that’s not the case with the Island’s two ski resorts: Mount Washington and Mount Cain. These marvelous mountains provide easy access to snow, the crisp, clean air of mountain living, and a perfect contrast to life on the coast. Just 20 minutes south of Campbell River, the Strathcona Parkway winds upwards climbing nearly a kilometre in elevation to the village located at Mount Washington Alpine Resort. The quaint village offers restaurants, a gift shop, and groceries. The larger of the two ski hills and hosting four-season operations, Mount Washington operates five chair lifts and four Magic Carpets that reach across the mountain and stretch over the back, accessing 1200 acres of pristine terrain. 34 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
When there’s snow on the ground, Easy Acres is a dedicated beginner zone, situated below the Alpine Lodge, right next to the Ozone Snow Tubing Park. Families who ski and board together should head to the Hawk Chair’s eclectic mix of green, blue, and black runs. Advanced skiers and boarders will lap the Eagle Chair that unloads you near the mile high summit with stellar views of the ocean and the pinnacles of the mainland’s coastal ranges. Don’t overlook the quiet Sunrise Chair—home to the best fall line skiing on the mountain—and head to the Outback with its sprawling zone of trees and steeps when the snow’s piling up. Mount Washington regularly boasts the deepest accumulation of snow in Canada, with an average annual snowfall of 11 metres. With all that spectacular snow, parts of the Alpine Village are open to pedestrian traffic only, creating a charming place to stay and play. West of the downhill ski area is Raven Lodge, the base for the resort’s cross country ski and snowshoe trails that host international competitions and training ground for Winter Olympic teams. Looping through the rolling plateau of Paradise Meadows, these trails are a beautiful place to absorb warmth from the winter sun. Beyond the resort’s maintained trails, anyone is free to wander into the park on snowshoes and skis. In fact, it’s the easiest
access to ski touring and snowshoeing on the Island, with good objectives for day trips like the summit of Mount Brooks, or its low slung sister, Elma. Longer expeditions also depart from here to climb Mount Albert Edward, or make a high traverse deeper into the mountains. When the snow melts, the mountain and resort community transform into a major destination for hikers, alpine enthusiasts, and mountain bikers. An extensive network of hiking trails make their way across the plateau and cut deep into Strathcona Provincial Park. Up on the hill, both mountain bikers and hikers benefit from two chair lifts that run all summer, by-passing the long grunt to the top. While you’re out there, keep your eyes open for one of Canada’s rarest animals since a colony of the endangered Vancouver Island marmot calls this area home. While Mount Cain isn’t open during the summer months, it still makes for a great hiking destination. Located in the heart of the North Island, two hours northwest of Campbell River, this resort offers a unique mountain experience. Run by a non-profit society on weekends and holidays, Mount Cain is known for its legendary hospitality and rustic charm. Sitting high on a south facing slope, it offers two T-bars and a rope tow. There’s also a restaurant, equipment rentals, and lessons.
Mount Cain is all about superb snow quality—accumulating throughout the week—and good times with your friends and family. It’s about casual conversations on the T-bar and never having to worry about the kids skiing by themselves. The runs are playful, with lots of stumps, drifts, and rocks to play with, and the trees are perfectly spaced. Slip out either of its boundary lines to find almost endless backcountry potential— and the avalanche danger that goes with it, so be prepared with equipment and skills. For those seeking a taste of the mountains, Campbell River offers ample access to incredible alpine experiences. When staying to play, it’s a good idea to reserve a cabin, a chalet or a hostel at the base of Mount Cain well before the snow flies—but parking lot camping is always an option. At Mount Washington, accommodation is plentiful with its sprawling chalets, condos, and townhouses—there are even hostel-style options. Wherever you choose to lay your head, book early because I’m not alone in my hunger for mountain life.
WORDS BY RYAN STUART PHOTOS BY DAVE SILVER & JENN DYKSTRA
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 35
Fishing Campbell River and its surrounding regions offer a successful season for every angler. From the amateur to the expert fisher, our rivers, lakes, and oceans are plentiful with many species and size of fish. With salmon, trout, char, lingcod, halibut, yellow eye rock fish, Dungeness crab, prawns, and more, your choice of angling adventures really are endless. With five species of salmon swimming through our waters annually, this wonderful region is infamously known as the “Salmon Capital of the World” and easily identified as a sport fishing mecca. Each year, millions of migrating salmon travel through Discovery Passage on their way to spawn in their birth river. This is also the place where the deep-swimming Chinook salmon of Georgia Strait gather to feed on herring and needlefish, and where many people return each year in hopes of catching the elusive Tyee—a Chinook weighing over 30 pounds. The lure of the Tyee is storied, and as powerful as the fish itself. So much so, that a group of anglers who returned annually in pursuit of the Tyee decided that it deserved a club. Since 1925, the British Columbia Tyee Club has been celebrating, honouring, and protecting this species. Membership in the Tyee Club is open to anyone willing to test their skill at sport fishing, 36 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
and earned when a catch 30 pounds (or heavier) is successfully caught, boated, and recorded. Whether rowing for Tyee in a traditional Tyee boat, jigging for halibut in Nootka Sound, or trolling for winter springs in the sheltered waters between the islands of Quadra and Cortes, there’s a tall order of fish to be caught. Many fishermen like to go after tasty whitefish such as ling cod and yellow eye rockfish. Fishing for bottom fish is often action-packed and full of surprise, never fully knowing what may emerge from the deep. A day on the water often concludes with pulling up your crab and prawn traps, both of which are plentiful, tasty seafood found in our local waters. With countless freshwater opportunities to cast your line in one of our small alpine tarns for tasty trout, or a larger lake—like Buttle Lake—to hook yourself a trophy-sized cutthroat trout, you’re almost guaranteed to have something fresh to cook over your campfire. Our lakes provide memorable moments to introduce children and youth to the joys of angling. Using a simple worm and a bobber from shore is an excellent way to target local cutthroat and rainbow trout. Or, those of you with a small boat, or float
tube, can try trolling a gang troll with a worm, or cast a small spinner for luck. Fly fishers can try the chironomid style, or a general pattern such as a leech or the Doc Spratley. However you float or sink your line, our pristine lakes hold wonderful secrets that await your discovery. Those of you casting into the current of a river are likely in search of salmon—and for good reason—but there are other tasty species to think of that are also a whole lot of fun to fish for. Between the Gold River to the west and the Salmon River to the north, our streams are filled with salmon, steelhead, and trout. During winter and spring, the hardy steelhead fishers will ply their craft in search of this elusive, fighting fish. Whether using a fly rod or drift gear, searching for steelhead is both a challenging and rewarding pastime. Later in the year, anglers will switch tactics and target resident and sea-run trout with fly rods or light spinning tackle. Spending a warm afternoon in June on the Elk River, nestled amongst our rugged mountain wilderness, is truly an experience not to be forgotten. In the summer months, the first of the salmon will start to appear in our local rivers. For families fishing together, the pink salmon that run in the Campbell River can provide some
fast and furious action, most certainly ending with a barbecue at the end of the day. Whether you’re wanting to cast your line from the beach, wade waist-deep into the river, book an offshore charter, or reel in “The Chief,” our waters are cold and the fishing is legendary. WORDS BY MYLES ARMSTEAD PHOTOS BY APRIL BENCZE & JAMES HEADRICK
CHINOOK – KING SALMON (YEAR ROUND) WINTER CHINOOK TYEE – ROWING CHINOOK COHO SALMON NORTHERN COHO CHUM SALMON PINK SALMON SOCKEYE SALMON STEELHEAD (YEAR ROUND)
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE · 37
Paddling Although one of the main attractions when paddling in the Campbell River area is the possibility of seeing humpback whales, killer whales, and other marine mammals, the varied coastlines and rugged mountains are another good reason to get yourself out on the water. Campbell River is the starting point to explore the spectacular Discovery Islands archipelago. Cortes Island, Quadra Island, and the outer Discovery Islands offer a mix of beaches, coves, rocky headlands, and countless places best seen from the seat of a kayak or canoe. Since these vessels draw such little water, you can cruise along a shoreline that larger boats can’t easily navigate. Although many people bring their own boats and guide themselves, there are many kayaking businesses in the area that make it easy for you to get yourself on the water. Quadra Island alone has several outfitters—like Quadra Island Kayaks—that can lead you on a tour, rent you a kayak, or provide a lesson to help you become a confident paddler. Many of these outfitters also run multi-day kayak trips that allow you to fully explore the area, and these tours frequently go into the areas where humpback and orca sightings are most likely. Although the maze of islands accessed from Campbell River are a sea kayaker’s paradise, these islands squeeze huge volumes of water through them as the tides change on a daily basis. This creates huge standing waves and whirlpools, so kayakers and canoers should plan 38 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
ahead. They should have strong paddling skills and use resources like nautical charts and tide and current tables to paddle safely in locations like Surge Narrows, Okisollo Channel, or Seymour Narrows. Fortunately there are numerous areas well-suited to paddlers of all kinds looking for calm, protected waters found in areas like Rebecca Spit Provincial Marine Park on the east side of Quadra Island, or the small forested islands and bare rocky islets of the Breton Islands. For those interested in a connection to the past, paddle to Orchard Bay accessed by a boat launch at Granite Bay on the northwest side of Quadra Island. Behind Orchard Bay Beach is a low terrace filled with a midden of shells that act as a reminder of the First Nations people who have lived here for thousands of years and paddled their cedar canoes throughout these waters. For those wanting to paddle in freshwater, then you’ll find Vancouver Island’s best canoe route right at your doorstep. The Sayward Forest Canoe Route allows the multi-day paddler a challenging navigation of 12 lakes and several portages along a 48km loop. For a scenic day trip, the Village Bay Lakes route on Quadra Island provides paddlers with six freshwater lakes to paddle, swim, and explore sandy beaches. For those looking to spend the night (or two), there are seven provincial campsites, as well as notrace wilderness camping along the way. Further west in Strathcona Provincial Park, you can launch your boats on Buttle Lake and experienced river kayakers can test themselves against the rapids of the Gold River canyon.
SEA K A Y AK ips Day Tou rs Tr and Half Day, F C a m p i ng ull D ay & urs S u n s e t To
It’s easy f ro
Ca m p b e l l R iv er! Just park... walk onto the ferry... we’ll pick you up on the Quadra side!
No experience required local
There is also the unique bioluminescence paddle on Cortes Island with Misty Isles Adventures. During late summer, the plankton that produce bioluminescence flourish and an evening tour produces magical swirls and ripples as your kayak blade sweeps through the water. For those wanting to paddle board, SUP (stand op paddle) boarding is another way to adventure on the water. From the Campbell River, to Discovery Passage, and McIvor Lake, local businesses like H2om’s Floating Yoga and Mawunko Paddle Tours offer a unique way to explore our region’s bodies of water. If you’re looking to explore remote wilderness, Get West Adventure Cruises offer wet launching that departs from Gold River on regularly scheduled runs. Launching from the MV Uchuck III, paddlers travel from Nootka Sound to Kyuquot Sound, and many points in-between, along kilometres of uninhabited shoreline and pristine wilderness that is home to an abundance of grey whales, killer whales, sea lions, black bears, wolves, and sea otters. One lucky paddler—like you—might just see them all in one day! Make 2017 your year to explore the Campbell River area on a paddling adventure.
WORDS BY KEITH & HEATHER NICOL PHOTO BY KEITH NICOL
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Boating The afternoon sun dances across the harbor as fishing boats, yachts, and afternoon cruisers buzz about making their way to and fro in Discovery Passage. It’s a typical summer day in Campbell River with people flocking to the cool waters enjoying an afternoon of activity. Whether it’s sailing, fishing, cruising about, sightseeing, or wildlife viewing, Campbell River is both a cruising destination and the starting point for a multitude of marine adventures. After a visit to the Pier Street Farmers’ Market and Crabby Bob’s Seafood, we are stocked with plenty of fresh produce, local bison, and the catch of the day. With a gentle breeze at our back, we set sail on our cruising boat for some time to enjoy the waters in and around Campbell River. The spray of saltwater glistens on the water as it skims across our bow and we bob in the waves of passing motorboats. As we pour over the charts, we decide to head north and anchor in Drew Harbour at Rebecca Spit for the night. Situated on Quadra Island, Rebecca Spit is a wonderful day trip for boaters travelling by sail, or by motor, from Campbell River (12 Nautical Miles (NM)). For young families, the Spit provides the perfect place to laze away the days of summer. The water is often over 20 degrees Celsius, sometimes reaching as warm as 24 Celsius, and with a sandy beach, onshore BBQs, a sheltered bay for kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming, it’s a wonderful place to spend the afternoon or an entire weekend.
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For those looking for other boating adventures within the region, Campbell River is the gateway to Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands. Whether it’s a cruise over to Gorge Harbour on Cortes Island (14 NM) for a legendary West Coast dinner at the Floathouse Restaurant, a sunset cruise through Shark Spit (14 NM), or an afternoon of sightseeing and prawning at the Twin Islands (13.5 NM), the area offers something for every interest and itinerary. For adventure seekers, a cruise to Teakerne Arm Provincial Marine Park on West Redonda Island (27 NM) is a must for hiking, swimming, and enjoying the spray of Cassel Falls, which dramatically tumbles 30 metres down the rocks forming a pool at the base of the towering granite cliff. A short hike to stretch the old sea legs leads to Cassel Lake, which offers a refreshing freshwater swim. Once there, boaters can enjoy sunbathing on the rocks and—for the adrenaline seeking—the rock outcrops offer the perfect platform for springing off into the warm water below. Those looking to spend the night can either stern tie alongside the steep shoreline adjacent to the dock at the trailhead for Cassel Lake, tuck into one of the nearby coves, or anchor at the head of the inlet. From Teakerne Arm, boaters can choose from many of the destinations within Desolation Sound, or carry on and circumnavigate Cortes Island, spending the night at Squirrel Cove, Cortes Bay, or Manson’s Landing.
Back in Campbell River, cruisers are greeted with the amenities to stock up on supplies and a host of onshore activities to enjoy, while taking a momentary pause from life at sea. With live music downtown at Spirit Square throughout the summer, respectably sized ice cream cones served at Discovery Pier, and a host of eateries, coffee shops, and boutiques along Shopper’s Row and Pier Street, there is no shortage of activity within easy walking distance from any one of Campbell River’s marinas: Coast Discovery, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Discovery Harbour. Boaters can refuel at Discovery Harbour Fuel Sales and locate parts at one of the many marine stores within Campbell River. This region is truly a boater’s paradise. Whether you’re cruising to one of the many destination restaurants to feast on local seafood, find the perfect swimming hole, beachcomb on a remote island, prawn, fish, or hike from your anchorage, or simply take in the view of the setting sun, Campbell River, the Discovery Islands, and Desolation Sound offer endless opportunity to explore and adventure by sea.
WORDS BY AMBER ZIRNHELT PHOTO BY MIKE LEBLANC
Diving Campbell River is known as the “Salmon Capital of the World.” This is due to the epic fishing found here, but there is a lesser known, yet equally magical experience waiting for people who want to share the underwater world of salmon. For many years, people have been snorkeling the Campbell River to experience the annual return of the Pink salmon, as well as the mighty Chinook and Coho. Over the years, this has been well-documented. What is lesser known is the opportunity to scuba dive with salmon in deep river canyons and pools, and there are several rivers in the vicinity of Campbell River and Gold River that have fantastic sections of water up to 60 feet deep in places. The experience of diving through these otherworldly realms with salmon circling around you is one you won’t ever forget. You can drift down a flowing river as the salmon pass around you as they swim upstream, or you can look up from the bottom of a deep, narrow canyon while thousands of salmon circle overhead. In some rivers, particularly the Heber and Nimpkish, a main attraction are the amazing geological formations. Eons of erosion has sculpted the various colours of granite in these rivers into a wonderland of shape and texture. The crystal clear, emerald green waters of the Heber River make for an impressive sight as the occasional steelhead trout cruises by convoluted rock formations, and sockeye salmon rest on the bottom of the canyon. Another diving opportunity in the region—and not very well known—is Shark Diving. Yes, you can dive with sharks in Canada! Offshore trips can be arranged on the west coast of Vancouver Island, around Nootka Sound and further north. It is here that the continental shelf comes within 10 to 15 miles of the coastline.Extreme dive trips catering to the adventurous diver can easily be arranged, and could include diving and snorkeling far offshore in water that is thousands of feet deep in search of Blue Sharks and other pelagic species such as Mola mola, or ocean sunfish. These species ride in on the warm offshore currents that push close to shore during the summer months. These trips also include diving the seamounts at the mouth of the sounds and walls in the nearby inlets. Underwater life out on the wild, west coast is rich and varied offering divers an alternative to the inside
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waters more commonly encountered. The reefs and kelp forests on the west coast are filled with many species of fish, and there is a current explosion of juvenile rockfish, the likes of which haven’t been seen in decades. There are also the well-known diving opportunities just 10 minutes from the docks in Campbell River that can’t be overlooked when suiting up. The current-swept walls and rocky outcroppings along the west side of Quadra Island offer some of the best cold water diving around these parts, boasting a rich assortment of colourful marine life. Dive sites such as April Point, Whiskey Point, Row and Be Damned, and Steep Island host an abundance of pink and red strawberry anemones, white and yellow encrusting sponges, tube worms, giant Plumose anemone, kelp forests, and much more. Rockfish, lingcod, kelp greenlings, wolf eels and other fish cruise around seeking shelter in the crevices of rock. Lucky divers can be visited at any time by curious Steller sea lions that frequent the area. Large and playful, these graceful underwater acrobats make any dive all the more memorable. Most dives on the Quadra Island side are accessible by boat only, and, if you don’t have your own, there are several companies in Campbell River that offer charters to these sites. There is one excellent shore dive located in the heart of Campbell River. The Argonaut Wharf on the Tyee spit presents a rich assortment of sea life. With pilings covered in anemones and a rich assortment of fish life, it’s a great place to explore. There are also a few resident octopus that live in the pipes and other debris found on the bottom. These curious creatures are known to interact with divers and even shake hands— sometimes all eight of them. With all of the different types of diving to be had in this region, there’s something for everyone, throughout the year. Salmon and pelagic diving is done primarily in the summer and early fall. Regular ocean diving can be done year-round, with the best visibility often during late fall to early spring. With so many other outdoor activities readily available in and around Campbell River, it truly is the best place to plan your next dive vacation. WORDS & PHOTO BY EIKO JONES
CAMPBELL RIVER & REGION DISCOVERY GUIDE Â· 43
Where To Stay
PHOTO BY TSA KWA LUTEN
Campbell River and region offers a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes. From high-end resorts and hotels, to motels and bed and breakfasts, to rustic wilderness lodges and camping experiences, we provide a great place to stay for every type of traveler.
the same area is the family-friendly Travelodge that offers guests an indoor pool, air-conditioned rooms, and ocean views. Further south near Oyster River, Ocean Resort’s beachfront rooms and the cabins at Shelter Point, Oyster Bay Resort and Salmon Point will provide a relaxing enjoyable stay.
HOTELS · MOTELS · RESORTS · BED & BREAKFAST Campbell River is home to the brand new Comfort Inn & Suites. Located in the heart of our downtown, this hotel offers ocean view rooms that overlook Discovery Passage and include amenities such as an indoor pool, whirlpool, and exercise room. You can also find the Coast Discovery Inn located in downtown Campbell River. The recently renovated property features an on-site restaurant and facilities to cater special events and business functions. Both properties are located steps away from fabulous boutique shopping and waterfront walks. Not far away, the Town Centre Inn is conveniently located beside Mariner Square shopping centre that hosts a variety of retail opportunities.
Located five minutes north of downtown, along the Campbell River, you will find the Heritage River Inn, the Riverside Inn (Campbell River Lodge), and the Riverfront (Mae Mae) Motel. The Riverfront is known for being a clean and convenient, value motel.
Situated a scenic 15 minute stroll from downtown, you will find the Anchor Inn & Suites, the Best Western Austrian Chalet, and Heron’s Landing boutique hotel. Also located in 44 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
For a historically significant experience, the Haig-Brown Heritage House Bed & Breakfast operates seasonally, and is the original home of writer, conservationist, and magistrate Roderick Haig-Brown and his wife Ann. Further north along Highway 19, slip into a leather chair in the Fireside Lounge at the notable Painter's Lodge, or take in a beautiful sunset and the mesmerizing views of Discovery Passage and the Coastal Mountain Range from your cabin at the family-owned and operated Dolphins Resort. Fourty-five minutes north of Campbell CONTINUE
We can get you closer to great fishing and adventure than any other resorts on Vancouver Island. Spectacular oceanfront properties, top notch gear and over 50 years experience at getting people closer to whatever their heart desires.
WOW. BREATHTAKING, HEARTPUMPING,
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River along Highway 28, the rustic Strathcona Park Lodge is located on the shores of Upper Campbell Lake. This family-friendly, outdoor education centre provides plenty of opportunity for a variety of adventure tourism, excellent food, and relaxation. If youâ€™re traveling further north, Hecate Cove Lodge is a family-owned fishing lodge located in the small hamlet of Quatsino. Heading over to the west coast, you will find that Nootka Marine Adventures provides a variety of accommodation at their three resorts: Moutcha Bay Resort, Nootka Sound Resort, and Newton Cove Resort. They provided their guests with excellent guided fishing tours, prime wilderness locations, and exquisite dining options. A short ferry ride from downtown Campbell River will land you on quaint Quadra Island. Family-friendly Whiskey Point Resort 46 Âˇ WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
is located in Quathiaski Cove and provides the perfect base for all your adventures. It also features a heated indoor pool. On the southern tip of the island, and not far from the light house, is Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge at Cape Mudge. Close to Rebecca Spit you will find the historic Heriot Bay Inn featuring both a pub and a dining room on-site. Quadra Island is also home to Taku Resort and Marina, Discovery Islands Lodge, Gowlland Harbour Resort, and Seascape Waterfront Resort. April Point Resort & Spa, is also tucked away providing guests with serenity, charm, and an Aveda Spa. A second ferry ride from Quadra Island over to Cortes Island offers the opportunity to further explore unique accommodations like Hollyhock, Gorge Harbour Marina Resort, and the woodsy Cortes Island Motel set in a cedar
PHOTO BY APRIL POINT RESORT & SPA
and fir forest. There are also a variety of vacation homes and bed and breakfast locations that make great places to stay and explore. Campbell River is the gateway to a number of luxury resorts on remote inlets and islands that offer world-class wildlife viewing, sport fishing, sightseeing, and First Nations cultural tours. There are also a number bed and breakfast options available in Campbell River and its region. If you have a passion for sustainable living and prefer to work for your accommodation, there are work exchange opportunities through WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) Canada. Please visit www.wwoof.ca to find a host in our region.
CONTINUE ď Ą
BROWN'S BAY, PHOTO BY JENN DYKSTRA
CAMPING & RV PARKS For those who prefer to keep one foot firmly planted in nature, there are endless opportunities for scenic ocean, riverfront, and forest camping. Thunderbird RV Park and Resort—a BC Aboriginal Business Award-winner—is located on Tyee Spit a short walking distance from downtown and situated next to the estuary where you can spot white tailed deer, geese, swans, bald eagle, or perhaps a pod of orca passing by. Thunderbird guests also have the option of staying in one of four newly built cottages. Parkside Campground and RV Park is situated in a wooded setting 8km from the downtown core on Hwy 28, just minutes from world famous fly fishing holes on the Campbell River, as well as many hiking and mountain biking trails. It’s only a short drive from shopping, amenities, and restaurants. When staying here you are guaranteed to have helpful, knowledgeable hosts and a welcoming stay. There is also Driftwood by the Sea Inn and RV Resort located across from the Rotary Seawalk, a scenic 15 minute walk south from our downtown core. This property offers views of Discovery Passage and the Cape Mudge Lighthouse from RV sites and quaint cabins that offer a relaxing stay. Browns Bay Resort is located just 19km north of Campbell River. In addition to their new Glamping Tents, they have floating suites, cabins, and RV space. Visitors can also enjoy 48 · WWW.CAMPBELLRIVER.TRAVEL
the property for the day with salmon fishing, cruise ship viewing, or dining at their licensed restaurant. Located in Black Creek, halfway between Campbell River and Courtenay, Salmon Point Resort is a favourite of beach lovers. Equipped with cottages and a fully serviced RV site with an outdoor pool and recreation centre, you can simply soak in the views and fresh salty air. Over on Quadra Island, We Wai Kai Campground features a mix of forested and seaside campsites in Drew Harbour directly across from Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park. It’s the perfect destination for beachcombing, picnicking, sunset watching, hiking, and jogging. Campbell River is also close to several provincial parks that host excellent campgrounds. Quinsam Campground at Elk Falls Provincial Park, Miracle Beach Provincial Park Campground and Strathcona Provincial Park’s Buttle Lake and Ralph River Campgrounds are all easy to access from downtown Campbell River. Reservations for these parks must be made online. Whatever type of get-away that you’re planning, we offer the perfect venues to relax after a day of exploring the land and sea, and to enjoy an evening cocktail coupled with fresh seafood and other local fare. These places are part of what makes Campbell River and its region such a beautiful and fascinating place to stay and play.
PHOTO BY LORENZ JIMENEZ
Published by Tourism Campbell River & Region Call toll free 1.877.286.5705 or visit www.campbellriver.travel Design & Production by ROAM Media Inc. www.roammedia.ca No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of Tourism Campbell River & Region and Roam Media Inc., who are not in any way responsible for errors or omissions printed in this magazine and retain the right to edit all copy. PHOTO BY JAMES HEADRICK
Telegraph Cove. DiscoveR the best kept secRet on noRtheRn vancouveR islanD.
Nature Calls See a whale. In the wIld.