Deepest Start in Resort History - Mount Washington Ski Resort Vancouver Island

Photo Credit: Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Mount Washington has literally been hammered by snow this week. The resort, already famous for being the home of Canada's deepest snow, beat it's own record for four day snowfall.

“We've seen unbelievable volumes of snow here over the last few days,” explains resort spokesperson Brent Curtain. “Over 1.5 metres has fallen in the last 24 hours and we've received over 2.5 metres of new snow in the last four days. I've never seen a start to the season like this.”

The snowbase at Mount Washington currently sits at 480 centimetres, which is now the deepest mid-mountain snowbase worldwide. With more snow in the forecast through Sunday, the resort is busy digging out as it prepares to host thousands of skiers and boarders through the holiday season.

Mount Washington reported some of the strongest occupancy numbers it's seen in years over the Christmas time period. La Nina and superb snow conditions are considered the two major factors for the resort's early season success.

“If you're looking for a winter wonderland this holiday season, this is definitely the place,” says Curtain.

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is the home of Canada's deepest snowpack. The resort is located 30 minutes above The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. WestJet, Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines, and Island Express service the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ). To find out about accommodation and package information, call Mount Washington Alpine Resort at 1-888-231-1499 toll free or locally at 250-338-1386. Surf to for additional information including our live snow cam.

For more information on
Courtenay and Comox, Click here.

Winter in Victoria - Late Dec. 2010

Tomorrow it is officially Winter in Canada. Most of Canada is covered in snow this time of the year. It is not that we do not get snow in Victoria, but it certainly does not come very often and it does not usually stay very long. Right now, we consider ourselves blessed. We have had some great sun shine days. December has had its fair share of rain this year, but when we get the good days, we know this is the best weather in Canada. We are lucky and know it. In the following days, I will share more winter pictures with you. Yesterday, December 19th, it was sunny and thousands of Victorians were out playing in the sun. The rest were last minute shopping. The pictures above are Mount Baker in Washington State, just south of Vancouver BC and the spectacular sunshine off Dallas Road in Juan de Fuca Strait. For more spectacular views visit our Facebook page.
For two great places to stay check out Hemingways By the Sea or Denniston by the Sea, two great B&B's. For more information on Victoria, click here.

Comedy of Errors this Weekend - Don't Miss It

Company C - the Canadian College of Performing Arts co-op program will be this weekend December 17-19 "The Comedy of Errors" at the Metro Studio on Johnson and Quadra.
Check the link for details.
The Comedy of Errors Teaser

Ever wonder how it would feel to walk in someone else’ shoes? Lose all sense of reality and the life you know as Company C sees double in Kate Twa’s Shakespearean world full of witchcraft, lust, and mistaken identity.
“The Comedy of Errors” is the story of twin boys with twin servants separated as babies when shipwrecked at sea. One boy and servant are taken to Corinth. The other boys are taken to Syracusa, which country has an embargo with Ephesus, penalty of death. At the age 18 the Syracusan brother and his servant travel to Ephesus in search of their siblings, only to be welcomed by Merchants demanding debts, women proclaiming marriage, and gypsies following their every step. Is it Sorcery? A Doppelganger? A Dream?
(Caution: Mature subject matter.)
Tickets: Adults $20, Students $15 (Tickets on sale at McPherson Box Office 250-386-6121)
Company C is the Year III program of the Canadian College of Performing Arts. The College provides quality training to prepare students for careers in the performing arts. This year, Company C is composed of twelve graduates of the Year II program who have worked hard alongside professional directors to bring “The Lord of the Flies,” “Blood Brothers,” and now “Comedy of Errors” to the stage this season. This December will be the last chance for Victoria to see this talented ensemble as they prepare to launch their exciting careers across Canada and beyond.

Christmas Contest Magnolia Hotel - Got a good Christmas Drink

What warms you on a cold winter day? Hop on over to The Magnolia Hotel & Spa and spread some holiday cheer by entering an original photo of your favourite winter beverage! There are 2 chances to win a gift stay at the hotel - just in time to put under the tree.
The Magnolia has decided to host a last minute Christmas contest where we're asking people to submit photos (and recipes!) of their favourite winter/festive beverages for a chance to win a one night gift stay at the hotel.

Contest Link:

Inside Butchart Gardens - A seasonal display

If you are looking for something special to do during the holiday season, please go to Butchart Gardens. If you get there about 3, you can take in their wonderful high tea. It starts with a signature candied ginger scone served with strawberry jam, whipped vanilla Devon-style cream and maple butter. Then come the hot traditional delicacies like Cornish pasty, roasted vegetable and cheese quiche, and chicken and mushroom vol-au-vent. Then sandwiches and savories and topped off with house made sweets and very delicious tea! It doesn't get any better than that. While there for some great fun go ice skating and ride the fantastic carousel. The lights are truly amazing and the colors are dazzling. Be sure to watch for the twelve days of Christmas starting with a partridge in a pear tree and ending with 12 drummers drumming. This is truly a captivating experience that everyone should try. Expect nothing less at this world class attraction, undoubtedly Victoria's best! Click here to see our photo pictorial on Butchart Gardens.
Click here to visit Butchart Gardens

IEOA Truck Light Parade Victoria BC

This spectacular event took place Saturday evening. It is one of the best food drives on the Island and is attended by thousands of people who line the streets from Dallas Road and all the way to Speedway Park in Langford. The rigs are really well decorated and thrill the throngs lining the roadways. Then at 7 pm one of the three lighted boat parades took place in the Inner Harbour. Quite an evening in Greater Victoria.

Record snow dump at Mount Washington

Mount Washington Hammered By Snow
Image: A snowcat's-eye view of work being done to prepare the resort for opening day.Photo Credit: Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Not only is Mount Washington opening a week earlier than originally scheduled this Friday, the mountain can also lay claim to Canada’s deepest snow pack before opening day.“We already had a substantial base of snow when we made the decision to open last week,” explains Business Operations Director Don Sharpe. “Since then, we’ve seen another metre of snow fall on the mountain. The conditions will be unbelievable this Friday.”Mount Washington’s current mid-mountain snow base measured 160 centimetres as of Tuesday afternoon, putting it at the top of the snow heap in Canada. The resort received a whopping 88 centimetres of new snow between Monday and Tuesday mornings.“We’re definitely seeing the positive effects of a La Nina influenced weather pattern so far this winter and we’re not even open yet,” remarks mountain spokesperson Brent Curtain.With cool temperatures and more snow in the forecast before opening day on Friday, the mountain is expecting ideal conditions for skier and boarders on December 3rd.“We’re opening the entire front side of the mountain on Friday,” says Curtain. “Plus we will have over 40 kilometres of trails open at our Nordic Centre which will include most of the trails in Strathcona Provincial Park. The Ozone Tubing Park will also begin regularly scheduled operations on December 3rd.” The mountain plans to open the Outback, the popular backside of the mountain, on Friday, December 10.Mount Washington Alpine Resort opens for winter operations on Friday, December 3, 2010. The resort is located 30 minutes above The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. WestJet, Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines, and Island Express service the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ). To find out about accommodation and package information, call Mount Washington Alpine Resort at 1-888-231-1499 toll free or locally at 250-338-1386. Surf to for additional information including our live snow cam.

Mount Washington - Mountain Opening Early - Comox Valley Vancouver Island

Mount Washington opens early for fhe third time in five years next week. Mount Washington Alpine Resort is pleased to announce that the mountain will open one week earlier than expected. Friday, December 3rd marks the beginning of the 2010-11 winter season and Island skiers and boarders are absolutely stoked!“People are chomping at the bit to get up the mountain right now,” says Resort Spokesperson Brent Curtain. “With all of the La Nina hype over the last couple of months, skiers and boarders are running on hyper-drive to hit the snow!”The weather discussions over the last two months have focused heavily on the La Nina weather phenomenon. La Nina's typically deliver cooler than expected temperatures and above average precipitation. So far, La Nina has delivered on both accounts. “We established a solid snowbase earlier than normal over the last month and the forecasted snow at the end of the week will make our base even deeper for opening day,” Curtain explains. The mountain is expecting more snow over the next few days with cooler temperatures dominating the long range forecasts. “La Nina definitely appears to be making her mark.”Mount Washington expects to have the entire frontside of the mountain, over 1200 skiable acres, ready for opening day. The Sunrise, Eagle, Hawk, and Green Chairs will be lifting skiers and boarders into the alpine. Nordic skiers can expect the same great early-season conditions as alpine enthusiasts on December 3rd. Mount Washington's Nordic Centre will have 21kms of track-set trails ready for skate and classic skiers and 6kms of snowshoe trails available for snow hikers. The mountain’s popular Ozone Tubing Park will also swing into action for snow play and family fun next Friday.If you're looking for some new stuff at the mountain for this season, you won't be disappointed. To take advantage of the all-natural fluff this winter, Mount Washington is opening an additional 100 acres of glades below the Little Washington peak on the west side of the mountain. The area is called the Gold Rush Glades, in honour of the mountain’s mining history. The early opening announcement is obviously great news for the mountain and its skiers and boarders. Even better is the timing of the resort's 6ixPak sale, which offers early bird rates until November 30th. As an added bonus, Mount Washington will give you a free day of skiing in April with every 6ixPak purchase.“This is the perfect time to grab your 6ixPak at our discounted November rates,” explains Don Sharpe, Director of Business Operations. “They make the perfect Christmas gift and you can pick one up at any Thrifty Foods location or buy them online at”Mount Washington Alpine Resort opens for winter operations on Friday, December 3, 2010. The resort is located 30 minutes above The Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. WestJet, Central Mountain Air, Pacific Coastal Airlines, and Island Express service the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ). To find out about accommodation and package information, call Mount Washington Alpine Resort at 1-888-231-1499 toll free or locally at 250-338-1386. Surf to for additional information including our live snow cam.

MOMPreneur of the Year - My Kid Did It

One of the rights of a parent is to brag when there is something to brag about. My daughter Rebecca was reconized for her business talent and her community service as a Mompreneur of the Year! Check it out. That`s my girl!

Local professional photographer & mom has been recognized as one of 50 Canadian “MOMpreneurs!” Rebecca Kirstein of BK Studios Designer Photography has been chosen as one of the 10 finalists in the Community Service category by the national “MOMpreneur Magazine!” See official release below:

News Release: November 1st, 2010
50 Top Mompreneurs for 2010 Announced! Five Categories….
The 50 Top Mompreneurs for 2010 were announced by the MOMpreneur® Networking Group Inc. today. This is the second year outstanding mompreneurs have been celebrated by the MOMpreneur® which encourages and supports mothers being entrepreneurs through our website, e-newsletters, events and bi-monthly magazine distributed across Canada by subscription and in Indigo, Chapters and key independent bookstores.
“The goals, skills and achievements of these mompreneurs are adding to the economic sustainability of Canada with an ever expanding impact,” says Frances Wright, CEO/Publisher of the MOMpreneur® magazine. “The diversity and scale of their businesses is thrilling and we are honoured to be part of their sphere. Their revenues ranged from less than $24,999 per annum to $1,000,000,000 per annum.”
“Mompreneurs are dedicated to raising their families while growing their businesses. They have overcome many obstacles because they are well prepared, focused, persistent, energetic and innovative. With the advance of technology, these entrepreneurs conduct business around the clock and around the globe, says Wright.”
The mompreners either applied or were nominated and they were judged by Audrey Mabee, former co-owner of the Croft and former President of Alberta College of Art and Design; Kris Matthews, Founding Partner, The Matthews Group and CFO of the MOMpreneur® Networking Group Inc., and Frances Wright, CEO/Publisher of the MOMpreneur®. Ten mompreneurs were chosen in each category — Green Products/Services; Health-Based; Home-Based; Community; and Annual Revenue.

Winter Hits Victoria - Yikes

Obviously, we have been bragging to much about how little, if any snow Victoria gets. Well all that changed last night. We had a dump over night and the sun is expected to come out today, but that will bring with it much cooler temperatures. The forcast for Monday and Tuesday is overnight lows of minus 5 C. For my American friends, that is 23 F. Burr...

The hummingbirds are at the feeder about ever 30 seconds. They look cold and hungry. Eveything is covered in snow. The corn cob above looked delicous and ready to eat...alas it is frozen solid!

Well, it keeps us humble, for a short time anyway.

Winter has settled in. Now, we will just wait for it to melt. The sidewalks and driveways have melted clear already.

Comox Valley Tourism Hosts Victoria Tourism

The displays were up and the enthusiastic Comox Valley tourism marketers were ready. The event was held at Vista 18, the spectacular roof-top restaurant in the Chateau Victoria. This is truly an amazing venue with such a spectacular view of the City. Everyone we met shared with us why the Comox Valley is so special and why we should try there services. Mount Washington Alpine Resort was front and centre as were a number of other resorts/hotels and Crown Isle. There great appetizers and refreshments provided. It was a very nice presentation. Pictures above show the room set up and a picture of Ron and Brian Henry from Ocean River Sports enjoying an appetizer. Thanks Comox Valley. Well done! I didn't really need an invitation to go back to that wonderful playground called the Comox Valley, but I will indeed be back, time and time again. Give it a try and you may stay forever!

Victoria Hosts Hockey Night in Canada - Play On Tournament

Sixty teams to battle for national 4on4 street hockey supremacy, February 11 - 12, 2011

November 10, 2010 – Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! today announced Victoria, BC as the location for its National Championship event. Sixty teams from across Canada will compete in this 4on4 street hockey tournament in Victoria’s picturesque inner harbour Feb 11-12, 2011 for a chance to hoist the Redwood Cup, a $20,000 prize, and the title of Canada’s Greatest Street Hockey Players.

Victoria Times Colonist sportswriter Jack Knox recently wrote: “Peter Gzowski called hockey the ‘game of our lives.’ He was almost right. Ice hockey is what we watch, but road hockey is the game we actually play. The national game of Canadian mythology is played on a frozen pond, but in reality most of us spent more time, winter or summer, denting garage doors with tennis balls than slapping pucks.” It has been estimated by event organizers that there are at least three times as many people in Canada who have played street hockey as who have played ice hockey.

Each of the 54 Men’s and 6 Women’s teams that will compete in this event previously qualified to do so during one of the fifteen Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! tournaments held across Canada this past summer.

Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! National Championship tournament will also be featured in conjunction with the 11th annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada celebration on February 12, 2011 at 12 noon ET on CBC TV. Victoria, BC will be one of the satellite locations that will be visited across Canada as part of Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada on CBC, with coverage from this national championship event. Whitehorse, Yukon is the official 2011 host location for Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada on CBC.

The Hotel Grand Pacific and The Fairmont Empress hotels will be Official Co-Host Hotel Partners of the event, which is also sponsored by SportChek, Powerade, Booster Juice, The City of Victoria, and Tourism Victoria.

“It’s a great honour to have CBC’s Play On! event back in Victoria as the only destination to host the event for two consecutive years” says Rob Gialloreto, President & CEO of Tourism Victoria. “With twice as many teams in 2011, we know this national championship event will be bigger and better than ever. We look forward to welcoming visitors to come and watch these athletes up close and our national audience on CBC TV Canada!”

“After the great success of the event last year, we’re delighted that Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! has chosen to return to Victoria” says Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin. “While the rest of the country is playing on ice, in Victoria will be closing off the street for a tournament that shows-off our wonderful weather and fabulous scenery.”

“We’re pleased to once again be headed to the beautiful City of Victoria for coverage of the National Championship of Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On!, as part of our Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada coverage,” said Joel Darling, Director of Production, CBC Sports. “Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada is all about celebrating the game and this event does exactly that.”

Teams competing at the event will include those representing each of the fifteen host cities of Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! in 2010, including St. John’s, Halifax, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa, Oshawa, Hamilton, London, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Kelowna and Burnaby. Also attending will be teams from many other locations across Canada including La Ronge, SK, Kenora, ON, Lethbridge, AB, Marystown, NL, and Niagara Falls, ON. The defending champions from Surrey, BC and a strong host team from Victoria will also compete in the event.

Hockey Night in Canada’s Play On! National Championship

Date: February 11-12, 2011
Location: Belleville Street, Government Street @ Victoria, BC Inner Harbour

Note: Full Street closures will be implemented from 6pm on Thurs, Feb 10 – 8pm on Sat, Feb 12

Game Times: Friday February 11, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday February 12, 9:00am – 6:00pm
National Championship Game to begin Saturday Feb 12th at 5:00pm

Admission: This event is free to spectators. Seating available on a first come first serve basis.

Darth Fiddler - every day is Halloween in Victoria!

Two years ago, we dedicated a blog post to Darth Fiddler, one of Victoria's most unique street performers whose image had gone viral on the Web. Since then, he has continued to grow in popularity and is now approaching legendary status. This month, his opinion was sought out for an article on Victoria's economy in Focus Magazine, and just last week, The Zone 91.3 FM gave him his own radio show, where he played music from his Darth Fiddler CD and gave a stunning live performance. The Zone's Facebook page filled with cheers and a few brave souls even called in to tell him how much they enjoy him.

Darth Fiddler also has his own Facebook page, with over 3100 "Likes" (and growing!) That's where this image of Victoria's Zombie Walk appeared this week, captured by Victoria photographer James Parrott at Everlasting Memories Victoria.
Zombies attack Darth Fiddler... Darth Fiddler plays on!
Photo Courtesy of James Parrott at Everlasting Memories Victoria

Since Darth Fiddler's presence seems to make Victoria the land of eternal Halloween, we thought it the perfect time to catch up with him for an interview. We find him down at his usual place, on the corner of Wharf and Government, playing for a group of kids in Jedi costumes.

"How did all of this get started, anyway?"

"Well about 8 years ago, I found a floppy old Vader mask at the Salvation Army. I bought it, went busking on the spot, and it was an instant hit. The persona has an attraction for people. I never got that much attention playing as myself."

"What about the rest of the costume?"

"It's evolved over time. I got one of the sturdier masks that came out when Episode III was launched. The cape is from a Dracula costume, the padding from an old football uniform, and many of the other pieces I've sewn together from leather scraps, kind of like Frankenstein's monster."

Photo Courtesy of James Parrott at Everlasting Memories Victoria
"Did you choose the name Darth Fiddler?"

"No, I didn't name myself at all. People started calling me that on the Web, and it just caught on."

At this point, the young Jedis are growing impatient, and the Master must get back to work.

"Did you ever plan on gettting this famous?"

"Absolutely not! I never factored the Internet into it, that so many people would share their videos and stories. I'm astounded, really. It's taken on a life of its own."

For another Halloween blog post on Darth Fiddler, visit Darth Fiddler's Mythic City.

Many thanks to James Parrot for sharing his great photos!

Magnolia Inn and Spa's Facebook Contest - what's your most favourite memory of Victoria?

Well, today we got wind of The Magnolia Hotel & Spa's amazing Facebook Contest that runs from now right up until November 23rd.  They're asking you to Like them on Facebook and contribute your most favourite thing to do in Victoria, or your most favourite Victoria memory.

So!  For a chance to win a luxury Victoria getaway at The Magnolia Inn and Spa, with incredible prizes from Harbour Air Seaplanes, Verbena Floral Design, the Royal BC Museum, IMAX Victoria, Prime Steahouse, and Spa Magnolia, check out their Facebook contest running until November 23rd. 

Don't forget to invite your friends!

Yummies and Gyros Cafe Courtenay BC

For lunch in Comox we visited Yummies and Gyros Café at 279 Puntledge Rd. We thought after a big meal the night before and a hearty breakfast that morning that we should consider a light lunch. Hah! Katherine Kirk warned us we would be full and indeed we were. Lunch was also educational as we learned the difference between a Gyros and a Donnair. Ron craves a Gyros as comfort food especially when they are properly made, as they are at Yummies. Here are the goods on Gyros and Donnair.

A Gyros (pronounced yeer-ro) is a Greek Pita (Katherine imports hers from Chicago) which is gently grilled and then wrapped around a filling of thin slices of beef and lamb shaved from a 20 pound cone of meat which is broiled on a vertical cooker. It is then topped with Tzatziki sauce, lettuce, tomato and onions. Feta cheese and hummus can be added to spice it up.

A Donnair is made the same way but topped with a sweet sauce consisting of condensed milk and sugar. Other toppings include lettuce, tomato, onion, feta cheese, hummus and mozzarella cheese. This business has been locally owned and operated for the past 12 years and has quite a following in Courtenay and Comox. It is apparent if you spend time in the café and certainly if you flip through their scrap book that they are very involved in the community. The restaurant is centrally located just across the river from downtown Courtenay. We recommend you give it a try. Drop in and see the beautiful owner goddess Katherine who will be more than happy to make you a yummy gyros to fill up your tummy and she will even add that special ingredient that makes every gyros special, a teaspoon of love. Her gyros are delicious, nutritious and leave no dishes! For more pictures,
ick Here.

Oh Spa at the Old House Hotel in Courtenay BC

While in Comox, we visited the Oh Spa at the Old House Village Hotel. This is one of the most beautiful spas we have seen. It is superbly decorated with every amenity a spa guest could want including fireplaces in some of the treatment rooms. Linda was awed by the tile and stone work. There is an impressive variety of treatments available to choose from. The Spa offers some unique treatments such as the Rainforest Vichy Shower, the Hydrotherapy Tub (beneficial for circulation and oxygenation of the blood) or the Chromatherapy Effervescent Tub for Two. Before our treatments we relaxed in the outdoor pool and hot tub. Ron chose a Swedish-style Massage with Sherri and Linda had a Traditional Reflexology treatment from Debbie, which took place in one of the couple’s rooms. We were both pleased with our choices and the quality of service rendered. The Oh Spa has recently made an effort to hire only the best practitioners. We had a tour of the Spa and the Old House Hotel from Marketing Manager Jenny Deters. There are 79 rooms ranging from deluxe studios, and one and two bedroom suites to a penthouse suite. The Oh Spa left us both feeling pampered and relaxed but ready to embark on our next adventure. For pictures of the Spa and the Old House Hotel, Click Here.

The Union Street Cafe Courtenay BC on Vancouver Island

The Union Street Grill and Grotto on 5th Street is centrally located in the shopping mecca of Downtown Courtenay. It is the goal of owners Mark and Danielle Duncan to ensure that guests receive good food, good drinks and good times. Union Street offers an upbeat casual environment with food that ranges from simple basics to complex fusions of delicious flavours resulting in outstanding meals. BC wines, delicious specialty coffees, beer, signature martinis and cocktails are available from the bar. The menu includes pastas, stir-fries, steaks, burgers and seafood from local waters. The restaurant is divided into two sections, the Grill, where we ate, and the Grotto, a funky licensed coffee house. Ron enjoyed a very tender Monterey Jack Burger garnished with jack cheese, back bacon (Ron loves back bacon!), lettuce and tomatoes while Linda tucked into two of the day’s specials, a Grilled Halibut Remoulade Salad and a Blueberry Lime Soda. Our server Kathy was very attentive, making sure we had everything we needed. We have enjoyed the food at Union Street several times in the past and we were not disappointed on this visit. Food is freshly prepared with attention paid to the finer details that turn local ingredients into an enjoyable dining experience.

Blackfin Pub Como BC on Vancouver Island

The Blackfin Pub is located next to the Comox Marina. Most people have a preconceived notion of pub food. It is always good but fits a certain category. Not so at the Blackfin. Here pub food is elevated to an impressive level. The interior décor includes rich Honduras mahogany with nautical features and local artwork. We were greeted at the door by a courteous and friendly young man named Alex who escorted us to a window table overlooking the marina. The panoramic ocean and mountain views from our table were spectacular in the evening light. Our celestial waitress Angel arrived with water and menus. Ron informed Angel that she had a reputation to uphold with a name like that, and she did not disappoint. The pub has a definitive West Coast theme and the bar is stocked with global wines, an impressive list of martinis and scotches and at least 10 draught beers. Linda chose wine and Ron needed a pint of beer. Linda enjoyed all two dozen (!) Thai Coconut Curried Mussels for an appetizer while Ron had their excellent Halibut Chowder. He ordered battered Halibut Fish and Chips for his entrée, accompanied by a delicious coleslaw. The batter was light, tasty and perfectly done. Carrying on with the halibut theme, Linda chose oven-baked Queen Charlotte Halibut coated with sesame seeds accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes, tiger prawns and fresh steamed vegetables. After a meal like this, we had absolutely no room left for dessert although we were tempted as their desserts are made on site. The Blackfin has a newly renovated patio that would be an ideal place to enjoy a drink or a meal on a warmer day.

Avenue Bistro in Comox BC on Vancouver Island

The Avenue Bistro at 2064 Comox Ave. Avenue Bistro is a neighbourhood restaurant with cosmopolitan flare. The sleek, modern interior, upbeat music and personable service are fresh and inviting. The menu combines Pacific Northwest innovation and French inspiration using local products to showcase the bounty of the Comox Valley. We arrived for dinner but guests can also pull up a comfy chair in the lounge and choose from a generous selection of local and imported beer, wine and cocktails. The restaurant and lounge areas are separated by a partial wall that creates a sense of space but divides one from the other. We were cordially greeted by Sandra Viney the owner and escorted to a large and comfortable booth. Sarah our friendly waitress recommended wine from the local Beaufort Vineyard Estate Winery and took our drink order. The menu was extensive so we chose a variety of appetizers rather than entrees in order to sample more of the menu. Linda ordered Beef Carpaccio and then a Baby Beet Salad with Feta Garlic Cheese Toast. The food paired well with the Beaufort Winery red wine recommended by Sarah. Ron started with Jumbo Prawns in Tempura Batter and followed by an excellent Caesar Salad. Ron had room for a yummy chocolate mousse for dessert. Trent Viney, chef and owner came out to meet us and tell us a bit about the restaurant. Sandra and Trent treat their customers like good friends, which made for a comfortable atmosphere. We loved the fresh taste of the food at the Avenue Bistro, a multitude of flavours that are not overwhelmed by over-seasoning, so common in less confident hands! For a pictorial on Facebook of Comox Valley Food, Click Here.

Atlas Cafe in Courtenay in the Comox Valley Vancouver Island

While in the Comox Valley, we dined at the Atlas Café in Courtenay. Years ago we enjoyed dinner at the Atlas after hearing recommendations from friends. It has obviously stood the test of time (15 years and counting). We found the menu to be more extensive but one thing remains the same. This restaurant serves great food and as a result is always very busy. We were glad we had a reservation. Sarah the hostess greeted us with “You must be Linda and Ron!” Very impressive! She ushered us to a table by the window and we met our waitress Toni. Toni expertly answered our questions about the menu and made recommendations from the wine list. Her service was exceptional and the food was superb. Linda chose the Lamb Sirloin with potato mash and fresh farm veggies (no frozen or canned here), and Ron chose the Beef Burrito and Caesar Salad, his favorite from a previous visit. We noticed that most of the diners left the Atlas with a “doggy bag”. The portions are more than sufficient which explains the take-homes. We couldn’t quite clean our plates although we made a Herculean effort. Of course, not too full for dessert, we shared a chocolate raspberry mousse that bordered on diabolical. It was deliciously creamy. Sandra Viney and Trent McInyre obviously have a great formula and understand the intricacies of restaurant management. They proudly told us that Atlas Atlas just won the most voted restaurant for Westjet’s UP! Magazine Value Award IN CANADA! We know why! Great staff, excellent service and exceptional food are the norm at the Atlas Cafe.

Crown Isle Golf Course and Resort

On a recent trip to Crown Isle we experienced one of Vancouver Island's most beautiful and classy golf courses. It was in great shape, lush and green and the weather cooperated. We really enjoyed our round of golf there and were paired with a couple from Sherwood Park. It was most enjoyable. We urge our readers to make their way to the Comox Valley and try this course. It is scenic, well kept and well run. The staff there are great and treated us very well. The food is very good and we were given a tour of the accommodations. You can see photos of our experience at the following links on facebook: Food Accommodations Activities The accommodations are devine, the food esquisite and the golf exceptional - give them a try.

Belle Vue Bed and Breakfast Comox Valley Vancouver Island

Belle Vue B&B hdas location, location, location! Belle Vue has it for sure. Walter and Haideh are the first to tell you how lucky they are to have found this home. Located at the end of Coral Road, this special piece of beachfront property overlooks Georgia Strait. At night we could see the sparkling lights of Campbell River on Vancouver Island on our left and Powell River on the Mainland on our right as we looked out over the water from the hot tub by the sea. By day the beautiful Coastal Mountains, Mitlenatch Island, and Texada Island are visible. It is quiet and serene at Belle Vue. Walter and Haideh are congenial hosts and very well organized. They suggested a plethora of things to do and they have directions to many local attractions printed and ready to go. Breakfast was superb. We started with blueberry-banana bread with chocolate drizzle followed by a fruit cup with ginger and toasted almonds. It was so delicious. Is your mouth starting to water? As the grand finale, Haideh served a mushroom spinach vol au vent with hollandaise sauce and Westphalian ham. More gourmet food! We are so spoiled!!

As the B&B was full, we were unable to view the other rooms but you can see them on their website. We were told by Walter that our room is the mid-sized one. Well, it certainly has more room than we anticipated. There is a large sitting area and a queen size bed as well as a large ensuite bathroom. Our room opened to a common deck that overlooks the garden and ocean. At the end of the deck are steps down to the hot tub, garden and rocky beach. Our room was well appointed with a TV and DVD player, bar fridge, an extensive book library and games, as well as coffee and tea supplies. We slept well under a down duvet with the sounds of the ocean to lull us to sleep.

After breakfast we met the rest of the family, their dogs Tip and Pocos. Tip is the elder statesman of the house and very well behaved except when teaching Pocos the puppy new tricks. The new arrival is only nine weeks old and full of P and V. We had fun watching them play and Ron took lots of pictures. For a Pictorial on Facebook of Comox accommodations, click here.

La Pause Band B Comox Valley Vancouver Island

La Pause is on the western outskirts of Courtenay. True to its name there is plenty of room to take pause in this spacious home on a large private rural property. In addition to the B&B which has three beautiful and tastefully decorated rooms, the property boasts a swimming pool, hot tub and infrared sauna. We had arrived at a mini-resort! David Innes & Lucille Doucet, our host and hostess took great care of us. David is a photographic artist and has a studio on site (The Creekside Gallery). His work is very good and his gallery is worth a visit, even if you don’t stay at the B&B. Lucille is a gourmet cook and made us a phenomenal breakfast. Lucille prides herself on using fresh wholesome ingredients, many of which are organic, and uses her culinary skills to create breakfasts that leave guests satisfied and anticipating the next morning of their stay. We started with grilled peaches filled with a mixture of sour cream, agave syrup and Lucille’s homemade granola. Do we have your attention? It just got better! Then we were treated to fresh peach scones. They were so delicious that we took extras in a doggie bag for a snack on the golf course. We finished with baked French Toast filled with berries and fruit. It was so good! Pomegranate lime juice, tea and coffee rounded out this truly gourmet breakfast.La Pause also prepares delicious breakfast for guests with special diets-vegetarian; dairy-free; celiac; and gluten free.La Pause has a lot of special touches and extras are evident throughout. Long distance calls are free within Canada and the US. Robes, extra towels and sandals are provided for use in the pool, hot tub and sauna. Laundry service is provided for a small fee and there is a well organized and informative guest directory in each room. La Pause has a well equipped guest lounge with a coffee and tea bar, books, music and comfy chairs to relax in or visit with guest from around the world. We felt very much pampered at La Pause. David and Lucille also have a retail store in the B&B, selling health-related products that they have researched and use personally. To view a Facebook Pictorial on this B&B, click here.

Kairos Guest Suite Bed and Breakfast Comox BC

We found Kairos at the end of a dead-end street, providing exceptionally quiet surroundings. Our hostess Linda Magnuson came out to meet us and show us her property. Kairos is a one-bedroom, very private fully furnished guest suite with a kitchen, living room, bathroom and bedroom, with everything needed for an extended stay. There is even a washer and dryer in the suite. Linda provides lots of thoughtful extras like fresh flowers, fruit and chocolate, and even a popcorn popper with gourmet popcorn! A private entrance leads out to the back yard and a labyrinth where you can relax or meditate. A private patio area overlooks the garden. Kairos is at ground level with only one step into the suite, which makes toting luggage easy. Breakfast is self-catered so you can eat whenever you want, with an ample choice of breakfast supplies, including free range eggs, fresh muffins and croissants for our stay! The kitchen is amply equipped to prepare other meals as well. The cozy living room is complete with a gas fireplace and desk with wireless Internet access. There are books, DVDs and an informative binder of local attractions and restaurants. The bedroom is furnished with a queen bed and soft linens. Kairos is within walking distance of many shops and services. It is near the Comox Village Centre and the Comox Marina. This is a great location for a personal retreat or getaway. You will be the only guest at Kairos, further enhancing your privacy and quiet. Check it out, you will be glad you did.

The Wine Barrel-Victoria BC

Last evening we attended the fall wine tasting event at the Wine Barrel in downtown Victoria. Fabulous wines from Gray Monk Estate Winery were featured. Food parings were provided by Manu's French Pates. This great little wine store is well worth a visit and Manu's cheeses were exceptional. I brought home a chunk of 3 cream brie from Quebec. It is amazing. We enjoyed many of the wines presented. Check it out.

Whale Watching from Victoria BC - cimplete your vacation

This is a great time to go whale watching around Victoria. There are three resident pods and many transient whales that move through our waters making the opportunity of seeing whales on any given tour absolutely great. We recently went out with Springtide Charters and came across about 70 of the resident Orcas. It was a great experience on a great boat with super friendly staff. We highly recommend it. In order to truly experience Victoria you have to get out on the water. Springtide have a large covered ocean cruiser (the Marauder IV) and and two zodiacs (the Strongtide and the GoldenEye) if you are looking for even more excitement (the ride). Check them out.

For more information on whale watching opportunities, click here.

Winter Gardening Workshop and Lunch with Byron Cook

Join head gardener of Sooke Harbour House, Byron Cook, for an informational workshop and learn how, what, where and why to grow edible plants for winter harvests! Workshop will be held Saturday, August 21st, beginning at 10 am with an optional lunch following. Workshop is $30 per person, lunch is an additional $35. We look forward to welcoming you to the Inn soon! Call 250-642-3421 to purchase your tickets or purchase here using PAYPAL.

For more information on Sooke Harbour House, click here.

BC Day Inner Harbour Victoria BC

BC Day is on the first few days of August every year and on the Sunday of that weekend...first Sunday in August, Symphony Splash takes place in the Inner Harbour. The Symphony plays on a floating barge in the harbour to about 50,000 appreciative spectators. This is the busiest and most exciting weekend in Victoria. Check out the photo pictorial on Facebook and see what fun you can have on this weekend in Victoria. 50,000 people can't be wrong.

For more information on Victoria activities, click here.

Long Sword Training Comes to Victoria

On the BC Day long weekend, I stumbled upon a sword fight in the Inner Harbour. This elderly man was trying to take the head off this beautiful but adept maiden. It looked like something out of the Highlander. In fact it was. Master Instructor F. Braun McAsh was the instructor who trained the Highlander sword play. He is an incredible swordsman and has a historical knowledge that seems second to none. While he fought to the death in the Inner Harbour he also educated those lucky enough to pass by.

Why you ask? Well, they were promoting an upcoming course in Victoria. On August 14 and 15, at eh James Bay Community Centre, you can attend this special course. For bookings and information, contact Al Dales at 604-612-9965. The instructor for the course is Braun and he can be contacted at 604-291-8371. Don't miss this exciting opportunity if you ever dreamed of being a knight, robin hood, Zorro or whomever. Make your childhood or adult dreams come true! Sign up taught by the Master!

For more exciting activities in Victoria, click here.

Earls Restaurant at the Bay Centre in Victoria BC

Last week we attended a tasting promotion at Earls on Government Street in the Bay Centre. We have to be honest and say that we had not been in Earls since they moved from their old location on Blanshard 4 years ago. We often went there before, but had not been since. We remember the old Elephant and Castle that was at this location and it was not that great and always seemed dark and dingy. So, we stayed away. What a mistake. New menu, new decor, new staff, new attitude - all good. Check out the photo pictorial. The food was delicious. We will be back! Try it, you wont be disappointed. Everyone of the tapas style dishes we tasted was a mini version of items from their menu. The point was to give us a broad taste of what they have to offer. Everything, and I mean everything we tasted was excellent. No just good, but oh so tasty. Ron used to love the ribs at Milestones and they took them off the menu. Now the best ribs in Victoria are at Earls. He know where he will be going for my ribs. This is an excellent restaurant, certainly one of Victoria's best. Give it a try. You will not be disappointed. To see a photo pictorial of Earls Restaurant- click here.

For more information about Victoria restaurants, click here.
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