North Central Island Region
Tour fertile valleys dotted with farmgates, vineyards, bistros and markets. Track pods of orcas as they swim past bucolic northern Gulf Islands. Discover First Nations culture and visit museums dedicated to regional history, then embark on a dig for prehistoric fossils. Enjoy exhilarating mountain biking, alpine skiing, diving and whitewater rafting. Line up putts on emerald green championship golf courses. And get busy with some of the best salmon fishing in the world. Add it up and you’ve got a taste of the many and various getaway pleasures in Vancouver
Island’s North Central region.
FACT > Campbell River was home to famed sport fisherman, author and conservationist Roderick Haig-Brown.
This band of varied terrain stretches coast-to-coast across the Island’s mountainous spine just above its geographic waistline. On the easy-access east coast are three cities packed with character and creature comforts. Courtenay and Comox sit in close proximity on either side of the Comox Harbour; both are known for their boutiques, spas, cafés and bistros serving fresh food sourced from nearby farms in the valley (named after a K’omoks First Nation word meaning “land of plenty’). Further north is Campbell River, a lively town in its own right and an excellent accommodations base for exploring the natural riches of the neighbouring ocean, rivers, lakes and wilderness.
Offshore from the east coast is a collection of hospitable, B&B-endowed islands where one can de-stress and tune out the world. Not far inland is Mount Washington, a full-service ski resort with plenty of summertime alpine appeal. Driving and cycling tours circle through the revitalized heritage town of Cumberland (a mountain-biking hotspot) and quaint Merville and Black Creek.
The region is watched over by the Golden Hinde, the highest point on the Island (2,200 meters) in the heart of Strathcona Provincial Park. This is classic wilderness terrain complete with pristine lakes, alpine meadows and old-growth forest. Strike out for adventure, or explore the park at a comfortable pace with friends and family at access points near Mount Washington (Forbidden Plateau) or southwest of Campbell River (Buttle Lake). Young people can study kayaking, rock climbing, backcountry basics and leadership skills at Canada’s original outdoor education centre.
On the far western side of the North Central region is the open Pacific coastline. The highlight excursion takes cultural explorers to Yuquot (Friendly Cove), site of an ancient First Nations summer village and whaling centre. It was here in 1778 that Captain James Cook first met the area’s indigenous inhabitants. There’s few more exciting daytrips for history buffs than booking passage on the comfortable freight boat from Gold River and sailing via Nootka Sound to this historic destination with its sentinel lighthouse.
Reach the North Central Island via the Comox Valley Airport or after an hour’s drive north from Nanaimo’s ferry terminals. Stop at the new Vancouver Island Visitor Centre near Cumberland for expert advice, accommodation booking services, museum-quality exhibits and kid-friendly interactive displays.
Things to do in the North Central Island
- Explore the region’s rich First Nations legacy by visiting galleries, museums and historic sites in Courtenay, Campbell River and on Quadra Island.
- One of the Island’s leading food baskets and culinary destinations, the Comox Valley is home to farms, markets, wineries, backroads farmgate stands and restaurants serving freshly harvested produce and seafood.
- Strike out for the heart of the wilderness in magnificent Strathcona Provincial Park. Hike in urban settings (riverside in Courtenay or next to the ocean in Campbell River). Or enjoy pleasant rambles along well-marked trails to regional beauty spots like Denman Island’s Boyle Point or Quadra Island’s Chinese Mountain.
- Sports fishing charters are available throughout the region, and salmon enthusiasts the world over head for Campbell River.
- Embark on a whale-watching expedition. Bring a binocular for prime birdwatching opportunities. And witness heaps of playful sea lions basking in favourite spots like Fanny Bay, home to productive Baynes Sound oyster beds whose bounty is shipped to more than 165 countries around the world.
- Enjoy oodles of summer family fun along the coastline at beach getaways like Miracle Beach, Tribune Bay, Goose Spit, Seal Bay and Saratoga Beach.
- Mountain biking is the region’s fastest-growing sport, and legions of helmet-clad daredevils happily vanish into the vast networks of trials found in Cumberland, Campbell River and on Hornby Island.
- Kayakers explore an oceanfront region dotted with peaceful bays, sheltered coastline and easy passages between offshore islands. Canoeists paddle across lakes and let river currents carry them downstream. Tours, lessons, and rentals are available.
- Enjoy retail therapy in urban centres and in the funky independent shops that line village main streets. Resorts, spas and home-based therapists offer a full range of relaxing treatments.
- Scuba divers have flocked here ever since the Jacques Cousteau Society ranked Vancouver Island – particularly north from Campbell River and the Discovery Islands –#2 in the world for marine diversity and water clarity.
Golf Vancouver Island
GOLF VANCOUVER ISLAND IS A CENTRAL RESERVATIONS SERVICE FOR GOLF PACKAGES, VACATIONS AND TEE TIMES on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail.
Golf Vancouver Island is your “one-stop shop” for Island Golf Getaways and Vacations. From airfares and ferry reservations to tee times, accommodations and even après golf activities, they take care of it all!
Owned and operated by the golf courses on Vancouver Island, consumers save time and money, while choosing from 10 golf courses and 5 accommodation options on the internationally renowned Vancouver Island Golf Trail. Golf Vancouver Island provides complimentary information, vacation planning assistance and reservations for Vancouver Island golf vacations.
The Vancouver Island Golf Trail, a 250 kilometre golf trail of Pacific paradise from Victoria to Campbell River, awaits golfers on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, including designs by renowned architects Jack and Steve Nicklaus, Les Furber, Graham Cooke and Bill Robinson – making for “plenty of gold medal worthy golf” according to GOLF Magazine. There are 10 destination golf courses on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail, and from South to North include…Olympic View, Highland Pacific, Bear Mountain Resort Mountain and Valley Courses, Arbutus Ridge, Cowichan, Fairwinds, Pheasant Glen, Crown Isle and Storey Creek.
Please visit www.GolfVancouverIsland.ca for further information on the Vancouver Island Golf Trail courses, packages, instant quotes, transportation, golf tips, photo galleries, and much more! Ask for the EXCLUSIVE Tourism Vancouver Island referral offer to save $50 pp!
91 Room Motel located in Downtown Courtenay next to the Driftwood mail and Rialto Movie Theatre. We offer Pet Friendly Rooms as well as Standard and Kitchenette rooms. All Rooms have Air Conditioning and Free wireless Internet. A Deluxe Continental Breakfast is included in the room rates each morning. We have a Seasonal Outdoor Heated Pool and an area to have a Picnic or Barbeque (Bring your own). Truck, RV and Boat parking available on property.
Experience Vancouver Island from a new point of view with a breathtaking seaplane adventure. Enjoy a 20 minute Victoria panorama flight featuring unique views of the city & the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Day trip to the world-renowned Butchart Gardens or downtown Vancouver. A variety of exciting tours await. Discover British Columbia’s spectacular coastlines with Harbour Air Seaplanes. Harbour Air Seaplanes also offers frequent and convenient scheduled flights connecting downtown Victoria, downtown Vancouver, Richmond (YVR Aiport), Comox, Nanaimo, Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands and Whistler (seasonally). Travel like a local and experience a true West Coast tradition. We are proud to be North America’s first carbon neutral airline.
Old House Village Hotel & Spa
Considered one of the best Courtenay hotels – the Old House Village Hotel & Spa is a 79 room West Coast inspired boutique hotel committed to offering its guests great value. Located in the heart of Comox Valley, British Columbia and only blocks from downtown Courtenay, its river front location is just a three hour drive from Victoria and 15 minutes from the Comox Airport. The hotel features spacious studio, one and two bedroom suites designed with comfort in mind. Rooms include: a petite or full kitchen, a fireplace, soaker tub, TV(s), DVD player and free wireless internet. Guests can also enjoy the hotel’s barbeque terrace, lush grounds, year-round outdoor heated pool, fitness room, infrared sauna, indoor and outdoor hot tubs, walks along the Riverway Trail, pampering treatments at its full service Oh Spa.
This Courtenay hotel’s riverside location is just blocks from Courtenay’s charming main street with its shops, restaurants and area businesses. Within a short drive of the Old House Village Hotel is the Comox International Airport, beaches, hiking, golfing, mountain biking and in the winter, skiing at Mount Washington Resort. The city of Courtenay, BC is centrally located in the Comox Valley on the east coast of Vancouver Island, and provides easy access to all travelers by car, coach, air, and sea. By car it is only 3 hours north of Victoria, 1 hour north of Nanaimo or 45 minutes south of Campbell River, and as little as 30 minutes from Vancouver by float plane.
Old House Village Hotel features 79 spacious suites. All rooms feature a fireplace and a petite or full kitchen.
Deluxe Studio – Two Double Beds or one King
Spacious and bright, the hotel’s Deluxe Studios feature two double beds or one king, fireplace, flat screen TV and DVD player, cozy armchair, kitchenette, and bathroom with separate tub and shower. Riverview rooms available. Average size 450 sq ft.
One Bedroom Suite
Your home away from home, the hotel’s one bedroom suites are beautifully appointed and luxurious with a separate living room with queen size sofa bed, fireplace, flat screen TV with DVD player and a balcony or patio with garden or river views. A fully equipped gourmet kitchen features full size modern appliances and dining room table for four. The bedroom provides the comfort of a California king bed with luxurious linens as well as a TV, and an adjoining three piece bathroom with soaker tub, thick towels and plush chenille robes. In-suite laundry in select units. 550 + sq ft.
Two Bedroom Suite
With soothing riverside views overlooking the outdoor pool and lush gardens the hotel’s two bedroom suites feature a separate living room with queen size sofa bed, fireplace, flat screen television with DVD player, balcony and a fully equipped gourmet kitchen with full sized modern appliances and dining room table for four. Each bedroom features a king bed with luxurious linens, flat screen TV, and an adjoining three piece bathroom equipped with thick towels and plush chenille robes. 900 sq ft.
Penthouse Loft Suite
Often referred to as the honeymoon or hospitality suite this two level hotel suite has everything. On the main floor a gourmet kitchen, entertainment bar, dining room table for six, fireplace, 50” flat screen television, queen size sofa bed, two piece bathroom, washer & dryer, and a full walk-out deck with garden and fountain views. Upstairs, the loft bedroom is a relaxing oasis with a California king bed, fireplace, flat screen TV with DVD player, two-person jetted tub and spacious bathroom with his and her sinks and double multi-headed shower. 800 sq ft
Pacific Coastal Airlines
We’re in the Business of British Columbia
Pacific Coastal Airlines (PCA) supports local business and the economy by providing efficient and competitively-priced travel and transportation options, creating local jobs, and servicing new and existing trade-and-travel routes throughout BC and western Canada.
With over 35 years experience serving British Columbia, and being family-owned and operated, Pacific Coastal Airlines is People Friendly, People first. PCA is made up of two divisions: wheeled-aircraft, based in Vancouver, and floatplane service, based in Port Hardy and Port McNeill.
PCA serves 65+ communities in BC—check out our route map on our website.
Please call 1-800-763-0812 or visit our website to book your flight online now.
Please ask for a quote for charter service in BC and western Canada. Fill in our Charter Quote Request Form and a representative will be in touch to discuss and quote on your itinerary.
Seaplane service must be booked through our seaplane call-centre at 1-800-589-4740.
Not only does PCA offer cargo service in BC, it also offers door-to-door service throughout Canada with its partnership with Cargojet (more information here).
Promotions and Special Offers
• Three fares to choose from: Bravo (affordable), Classic (flexible), and Encore (convenient)
• Smokin’ Hot Deals
For more information please visit Pacific Coastal Airlines’ homepage today!
Tourism Mount Washington
Tourism Mount Washington will help you discover Mount Washington Accommodations and facilities. Explore all of the cultural attractions, activities, shopping and dining options within 45 minutes drive of the mountain. Whether looking for an active family getaway, a reunion, wedding location or company retreat, Mount Washington, Vancouver Island’s all-season alpine to surf destination treats visitors to the perfect combination of rugged west coast beauty and outdoor adventure. Winter highlights skiing and snowboarding in the mile high alpine.
Nestled on the pristine shores of Vancouver Island, Painter’s Lodge offers exhilarating outdoor adventure in a stunning natural setting. From legendary salmon fishing, whale watching and wildlife viewing to relaxing in the new Aveda spa, experience the best of British Columbia at Painter’s Lodge in Campbell River.
Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Comox Valley
Welcome to Courtenay, home of the 100% smoke-free Holiday Inn Express & Suites. Combining the best of business and leisure world, our hotel stands out from the crowd. Opening in 2009, your stay offers complimentary amenities such as hot breakfast, swimming pool, hot tub and the Valley’s only in-hotel waterslide.
Crown Isle Resort & Golf Community
Crown Isle Resort and Golf Community located in the heart of the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Full Resort including 2 restaurants, 90 Guest Rooms, Car Museum, Pro Shop, Conference facilities and of course our Master Planned golf course. Come for a tee time, stay for a lifetime.
April Point Resort & Spa
A west coast paradise away from the crowds, April Point Resort & Spa combines natural beauty, serenity and adventure to create the ultimate vacation experience. Discover a thrilling whale watching adventure, rejuvenate with a massage at the Aveda spa, or simply relax and enjoy the best of Quadra Island, BC.
“Cedar. Silver. Gold. Our culture is expressed through our art.” At I-Hos Gallery we invite you to see our extensive and ever-changing collection of Northwest Coast masks, gold and silver jewelry, numbered serigraph prints, woodcarvings, giftware, cards and books, as well as textiles and clothing produced by First Nation artists. Our knowledgeable staff encourages visitors to browse the gallery and discover the broad range of talent represented in this warm and graceful setting. It is a place of discovery, exploration, and friendship.
Representing many of British Columbia’s finest First Nations artists, the I-Hos Gallery is located on the original K’ómoks Village site between Courtenay and Comox next to the beautiful Puntledge estuary that flows into Vancouver Island’s Comox Bay. Dramatically situated near a beach covered with the remnants of ancient fish weirs and framed by Queneesh—the grand glacier overlooking the Comox Valley—I-Hos is a kind of treasure house, reflecting age-old traditions and histories through the arts from a vibrant living culture.
Owned and operated by the K’ómoks First Nation, the gallery’s distinctive house front sculpture, designed by Calvin Hunt, features three important crests of our people: the I-Hos or double-headed sea serpent, Queneesh—the legendary white whale, and, inside the entrance pole, a sxwayxwey (kway kway) dancer. As inviting as it is impressive, the sculpture beckons locals and visitors alike to enter our gallery and experience Aboriginal cultures of the Northwest Coast.
“Comox” is an Anglicization of kw’umuxws, which is derived from the Kwakw’ala term, kw’umalha, meaning “plentiful; rich, wealthy”. That abundant wealth—a bountiful homeland and a deep heritage that encompasses a wide range of artistic expressions—is reflected in the fine arts, crafts, and giftware you’ll find in the gallery. With a mandate to promote and sell quality Northwest Coast art, I-Hos buys directly from First Nations artists, honouring their individual artistic traditions as well as supporting their contemporary cultural innovations.
Connecting their ancestral heritage with the vitality of contemporary First Nations culture, world-renowned artists such as Andy Everson, Calvin Hunt Beau Dick, Rande Cook, Wayne Alfred, Corrine Hunt, David Neel, Charlie Johnson, and Bill Helin are represented by their exceptional artworks. I-Hos Gallery staff takes particular pride in providing all our visitors with artist biographies as well as insights into interpreting and understanding Northwest Coast images and stories. I-Hos is a place to learn, a place to share, a place to be amazed, a place to treasure.
At I-Hos Gallery there is truly something for everyone—in every price range for every occasion. Interact with us in person or through our website. Prefer to shop on-line? Browse and purchase works of art on our commerce secure website which features a broad selection of gallery pieces and giftware.
As an active community member, I-Hos Gallery sponsors many events throughout the year. Join us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/IhosGallery) for updates on new inventory, workshops and activities. Here are just some of the events we look forward to sharing with you in 2014:
- January – Silent Auction in I-Hos gallery and view and bid on our Facebook
- June 21 – National Aboriginal Day Celebration
- August – I-Hos Night Market 4-9pm, held Saturday and Sunday Hours 4pm – 9pm, same weekend as “Festival Weekend In Comox” Cultural Dance performance, Traditional Foods and more.
- November – Two day Customer Appreciation Extravaganza with 30% off most retail items
Gilakasla!—“Welcome” and “Thank You”—it’s two ideas in one word, and I-Hos Gallery greets you with both. Gilakasla. Welcome to our gallery; thank you for coming.
Best Western Plus The Westerly Hotel & Convention Centre
Courtenay’s only full-service hotel with convenient acces to downtown shopping, restaurants and attractions. Easy access to Mt. Washington Ski Resort, Strathcona Provincial Park and first class golfing. Our property features 140 guest rooms and suites, inclusive of our new 36-room Mountainside Living. We offer complimentary full hot buffet breakfast, wireless internet, local phone calls and parking. We have three on-site Food & beverage outlets including a pool lounge, pub & breakfast room. Additional hotel facilities include a heated indoor pool, hot tub, sauna, fitness facility, ski & bike storage, guest coin laundry, games room and sports team locker rooms.
British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. (BC Ferries) is one of the largest ferry operators in the world, providing year-round vehicle and passenger service on 25 routes to 47 terminals, with a fleet of 35 vessels. The company provides an essential transportation link that connects coastal communities and facilitates the movement of people, goods and services throughout coastal British Columbia.
BC Ferries’ diverse service area includes connections between the Vancouver Mainland and Vancouver Island; from Vancouver Island or the Vancouver Mainland to many small island communities; from Prince Rupert on the province’s north coast to Haidai Gwaii and to Port Hardy. In 2011/12, BC Ferries transported 20.2 million passengers and 7.8 million vehicles on over 186,000 sailings.
BC Ferries’ goal is to always offer passengers a memorable travel experience. Vessels serving customers on BC Ferries routes between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, the Southern Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast offer a wide range of passenger services – onboard and at the terminal. The mix varies from one vessel or terminal to the next but the goal is always the same: to make your voyage comfortable and enjoyable. On your trip across the water, be sure to look for a variety of onboard amenities like the Coastal Cafe, the Pacific Buffet, the Seawest Lounge and Passages Gift Shop.
BC Ferries has a several appetizing dining options available onboard that vary from one vessel to the next. The Coastal Cafe has an assortment of hot and cold items such as Bread Garden sandwiches, wraps and sushi, White Spot Burgers Onboard, Captain Kids Meals and options from the Healthy Choices Program like a selection of fresh salads. For passengers looking for an elegant dining experience with spectacular ocean views, the Pacific Buffet offers a variety of gourmet choices for an all-inclusive price.
If you are looking to do some onboard shopping, Passages Gift Shop is a great place to find gifts and souvenirs inspired by the West Coast of British Columbia. Passengers will find a wide selection of jewelry, clothing, toys, books and even gift certificates. Simply want to relax onboard? Enjoy the scenic coastal views from the Seawest Lounge – this is the perfect place for passengers looking for a quiet, comfortable and peaceful experience onboard.
There are various passenger services available at our terminals that vary from one terminal to the next. Larger terminals feature markets and coffee shops, play areas and other amenities, while smaller ones have facilities suited to travellers on shorter, inter-island crossings – many with kiosks run by local businesses.
On select routes a guaranteed reservation may be purchased on a first come, first serve basis.
To stay up to date with BC ferries news, promotions, contests and great deals, sign up for the BC Ferries OnBoard Newsletter or join us on Twitter to receive up to the minute notices on specials, deals and services.
Anco Motel (1998) Ltd.
The Anco Motel is a well established locally owned and operated company that has been in business for more than 10 years. We started out as a small property and in 2004 added 37 rooms by constructing a new build on the back of our building. This better than doubled our property’s size allowing us to accommodate a wider variety of clientele.
Our property is very clean, offers great customer service, has an outdoor, (heated) seasonal pool and we are conveniently located in the center of town. We are within walking distance of numerous parks, restaurants and shopping. We also offer team/group amenities such as meeting space and an equipment storage room. It has been our endeavor to provide high quality at very competent prices.
The front wing (Standard rooms) of the Motel faces the main thoroughfare of Courtenay off Cliffe Ave; with all rooms and suites overlooking the pool area. This wing consists of 29 Motel rooms (6 rooms are smoking rooms). These rooms are all equipped with a mini-fridge, color TV, telephone, wireless internet access and coffee maker with supplies. There are also 8 self catering kitchenettes; equipped with a 2 burner electric stove, mini-fridge and stainless steel sink units, microwaves, pots, pans, utensils and dishes.
The back wing (Deluxe rooms) consists of an additional 37 rooms. This wing faces 19th St. & England Ave. and is in a quiet, peaceful setting. These rooms are all equipped with a mini-fridge, microwave, color TV, telephone, wireless and hardwire internet access and coffee maker with supplies. There are also 13 self catering kitchenettes; equipped with a 2 burner electric stove, mini-fridge and stainless steel sink units, microwaves, pots, pans, utensils and dishes. This wing also has 2 ground floor wheelchair accessible rooms and 24 rooms with air-conditioning.
***Ask us about our group rates available when 5 or more rooms booked***
Comox Valley Inn & Suites
The Cona Hostel
The Cona Hostel, aptly named with Strathcona Park outside its back door, is situated in the beautiful Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. We certainly have no shortage of activities for travelers to enjoy here and we, at the Cona, endeavour to help make your stay full of fun and excitement. Take a look at our photo gallery for a small taste. You’ll find us at the bottom of trendy main street Courtenay in a newly renovated heritage building with great views overlooking the Courtenay River and Lewis Park.