by Mike Copes, Copes Islander Oceanfront B&B
Comox means "Place of Plenty" in the language of its pre-colonial inhabitants, the Komux people, and the description is an apt one. With the ocean to the east, and mountains to the west, the Comox Valley offers a wide range of cultural and recreational opportunities. With it's mild winter climate, daytime temperatures rarely reach freezing. Comox is a popular year-round destination especially for residents of the colder inland regions of Canada to enjoy a winter getaway. With picturesque Hornby and Denman islands on one side, and to the renowned Mt. Washington Alpine Resort on the other, the Comox Valley is one of the few places where you can ski, golf, dive and kayak all in the same day.
How to Get Here
The Inland Island Highway (Highway 19) is the main access route to the Comox Valley. A four-lane expressway, the Inland Highway allows quick access from Nanaimo to the Comox Valley. Highways 19 and 19A link the Comox Valley with southern Vancouver Island. Approaching from the north, Highway 19 links the Comox Valley with Port Hardy at the northern end of Vancouver Island.
The Comox Valley is a three hour drive north from Victoria, a 70-minute drive from the ferry terminal at Departure Bay in Nanaimo, and a 90 minute drive from the Duke Point terminal south of Nanaimo.
The Comox Valley Regional Airport receives daily flights from Vancouver airport and Westjet now operates daily connections between Comox and Calgary, Alberta. Small aircraft and floatplanes land at the Courtenay Airpark near downtown Courtenay. Via rail operates a dayliner passenger service between Victoria and Courtenay. Daily coach lines connect all parts of Vancouver Island with the Mainland, and local bus service is also available in Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland. Those travelling by boat will find a full range of facilities including moorage, showers, restaurants and shops adjacent to the Comox Marina. Regular ferry service links the British Columbia Mainland and Washington State to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. Click on the link below for more information on ferry routes, and travel to the Comox Valley.
Where to Stay
CBBH members located in the Comox Valley offer a variety of settings representing some of the diversity of the region. On the edge of the Comox Peninsula, Copes Islander Oceanfront B&B offers stunning ocean and mountain views. For proximity to the mountains and the many alpine hiking trails of Strathcona Provincial Park, nearby McCullough Cottage.
What to Do
The historic Filberg Lodge on Comox Harbour will captivate you with its beautifully landscaped waterfront gardens, charming Herb Gardens, and the Tla wa sints guy a las Totem Pole. Filberg Lodge hosts the annual Filberg Festival every summer on the August 1st long weekend, when hundreds of British Columbia's best artists and performers display their artwork, their crafts and their music.
A three-day event held annually in the Comox Valley, the Vancouver Island Music Fest is becoming one of the premier summer music festivals in British Columbia.
The Comox Valley boasts three excellent museums. The Courtenay and District Museum has exhibits of Native Indian heritage, pioneer settlement and local paleontology, including British Columbia's only reconstructed Elasmosaur fossil. The Cumberland Museum offers displays of pioneer Chinese heritage and coal mining. The Comox Air Force Museum focuses on the history of aviation, with permanent exhibits reflecting the heritage, customs and traditions of Canada's Air Force. Historic aircraft are preserved at the museum's Heritage Air Park, including the recently restored H-21 Piasecki Flying Banana. The restoration of a WWII Spitfire is the museum's current project.
Comox is home to four marinas, which hold over 500 pleasure boats and a commercial fishing fleet. The marinas are protected by a rock breakwater. The breakwater is in turn protected by Goose Spit, which extends out into Comox Harbour, providing one of the safest year-round harbours on Vancouver Island. Comox Harbour is a great launching spot for some of the best salmon fishing in the world. The Comox Marina offers a boat launch located right next to Marina Park, with plenty of parking, washroom facilities and a play area for children.
Some of the best ocean fishing on the island, particularly for salmon, can be found in the waters of the Strait of Georgia north of the Puntledge River Estuary between Courtenay and Comox, and off of Cape Lazo, King Coho, and Bates Beach. The Comox Valley's lakes and rivers offer some great opportunities for flyfishing.
The protected, nutrient rich waters off the east coast of Vancouver Island are renowned for their rich display of underwater life, making it a popular destination for scuba diving.
Golfers enjoy a choice of 6 year-round golf courses and 3 seasonal courses.
The Comox Valley abounds with parks and beaches. Strathcona Park, Vancouver Island's largest and British Columbia's oldest, provincial park and Seal Bay Regional Nature Park to name just two.
The Comox Valley is blessed in winter with world-class skiing at Mt. Washington Alpine Resort, located 19 miles (31 km) west of Hwy 19 at Courtenay. Mount Washington (elevation 5,216 feet/1590 m) has long been known for having good snow conditions from early in winter to well past Easter. The snow here is often deeper than anywhere else in British Columbia, and occasionally anywhere else in the world! In 1995, Mt. Washington had more snow than any other ski resort in the world. This accounts, in part, for Mt. Washington's being the second-busiest winter recreation destination in British Columbia, behind Whistler/Blackcomb. Mt Washington also provides excellent hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding in summer, or you can simply make the 40-minute trip to Mt. Washington to ride the chair lift and enjoy the wonderful views of the surrounding area.
Where to Eat
From elegant fine dining establishments and a variety of ethnic cuisines, to a quick bite at a roadside take out stand, the Comox Valley has over 80 restaurants. Its not hard to find a place to eat to suit every taste and budget.
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