Our Blog

Scenic Marine Drive

Scenic Marine Drive

  • Posted: Apr 07, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Why do we call it Scenic Marine Drive?

Scenic Mount Baker

Scenic Mount Baker

How is that for starters?

If you come to Victoria and do not take the scenic marine drive on a nice sunny day, either by car, bicycle, running, or tour bus, then you have missed Victoria! Find out why Conde Nast Travel Magazine readers voted Victoria number one for environmental ambiance.

GONZALES BAY

GONZALES BAY -Stop in for a picnic or relax on the beach.

 

TRIAL ISLAND Light Station

Trial Island Light Station

Victoria Waterfront

Victoria Waterfront

Victoria's WESTSHORE

Victoria’s WESTSHORE

For more photos of our scenic marine drive, please click on our facebook page symbol.

Enjoy.

A Perfect Day in Paradise

A Perfect Day in Paradise

  • Posted: Mar 31, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

A Perfect Day in Paradise – A West Coast Adventure

Today I was touring my nephew Greg and his family from Edmonton. We started our day at French Beach which is about an hour out of downtown Victoria. It is very popular for locals as it is great for day picnics. It is about a 3 minute walk from the parking area down to the picnic tables and fire pits. You need to bring your own firewood. I suggest you get your firewood at Home Hardware in Sooke (kindling and firewood) and make sure you have some paper or fire starter and matches.

Our mission was to have a hot dog roast. Mission completed. The water was flat, the surge had small waves crashing on the shore, sounding exciting and that sound everyone relishes when they are relaxing by the sea. The temperature was around or just above 20C making it an exceptional spring day. It was a great place to relax or take a stroll the beach. The kids had fun filling their rubber boots with ocean water and building forts out of the logs that had washed up on the beach.

There is also a beautiful campground at French Beach that is very busy throughout the spring and summer. If you want to go here you need to book early.

French Beach

French Beach

After spending most of the afternoon at French beach we headed into town and took the scenic route to get out of rush hour on the Sooke highway. That route took us towards East Sooke and then through Beacher Bay and to our final stop at Tower Point Park which is part of the Whitty’s Lagoon Park. It is on the east side of the Bay, just outside of Whitty’s Lagoon. At low tide the entire bay empties out. This makes for enjoyable walks, playing in the shallow and warm water and skim boarding. This is the best spot in all of Greater Victoria for skim boarding. A couple of kayakers came in while we were there. The views from Beacher Bay and Tower Point Park are totally awesome. They are breath-taking!

Beach Bay & Tower Point

Beach Bay & Tower Point

The views are across Juan de Fuca Strait and the majestic Olympic Mountains which tower above the water. Right now they are deeply covered in snow and some of that will remain all summer. The best view is of Hurricane Ridge which is the back drop for Race Rocks Light Station.

It was an exceptional day to be out and about. Yes, another “perfect day in paradise”.  For more pictures of these locations please go to our Facebook Page link.

Tags: , , ,
Island Moments: Gentle Giants Live Here!

Island Moments: Gentle Giants Live Here!

  • Posted: Mar 29, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Big Trees Live Here….Really Big Trees

Big trees grow on Vancouver Island. Actually giant trees grow on the Island. Some are really easy to get to and some require a good hike.

Port Renfrew Trees

The Port Renfrew area about 2 hours west of Victoria is one of the best for a variety of massive trees with some of them being very accessible (minimal effort).

One of the trees that hit the news in the past few years is Avatar Grove, not far from Port Renfrew. It is known as the gnarliest tree in Canada. Check this link for a great map showing you the location of the really big trees around Port Renfrew along with detailed instructions.

We have visited the Harris Creek Fir and the San Juan Spruce.

The Harris Creek Fir next to Harris Creek, northeast of Port Renfrew is an 82 meter tall giant that dwarfs everything around it. This tree is all fat flared trunk and twisted moss draped branches.  It is spectacular and on about 15 meters from the highway and right next to Harris Creek.  It is about 32 km from Lake Cowichan and 30 km from Port Renfrew. From Port Renfrew it will be on your right and marked by signage. Continue reading

Breakfast As It Should Be: The Village

Breakfast As It Should Be: The Village

  • Posted: Mar 20, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

The Village Restaurant in Royal Oak – Breakfast,As Good As It Gets

Today we took our granddaughter Madison out for breakfast or brunch. We chose to return to one of our favourite breakfast haunts, The Village Restaurant in Royal Oak. The breakfasts are so good here it makes it hard to choose another location.
Meals at the Village restaurant in Royal Oak

Meals at the Village restaurant in Royal Oak

The staff is sensational. While waiting for our table, the manager Brian said “were you not hear last Mother’s Day with a group?” I was impressed he remembered as that was our only meeting. No, I don’t have a red X painted on my forehead!
Our waiter Andrew was telling my gluten intolerant granddaughter what was in the hot chocolate. She was disappointed that she could not order it. After a minute or two behind the counter, Andrew said, how would you like to try steamed almond milk with Cadbury egg chocolate mixed in. Her eyes lit up and it was delicious. Well done Andrew!

Check out the video done by “You Gotta Eat Here” 

The restaurant was packed the whole time we were there, so if you are planning a visit on the weekend, expect a wait to get in. Our wait was about 20 minutes. As always, it was well worth the wait. If you choose to come during the week, there is a likelihood that you may not have to wait to get in. Call ahead and see how busy it is if your time is limited. Their Latke’s are to die for. If you have never had a Benny on Latkes, you are in for a treat. It beats the English muffin hands down.
Village Restaurant Royal Oak

Village Restaurant Royal Oak

Madison ordered the Village Hash consisting of oven roasted potatoes, melted cheese, green onions, two eggs any style and toast with your choice of Montreal smoked meat or Red Barn back bacon. Of course she had to ditch the toast!
Linda ordered the Back Benny, a combination of back bacon, fresh avocado and feta.
I ordered the Red Barn Benny, combination of Red Barn strip bacon, fresh avocado, roma tomatoes and hollandaise. Our meals also came with an assortment of fresh fruit. If you have not tried Red Barn bacon, you are in for a treat! Check out the pictures to get your mouth watering.
This is one well-run restaurant with excellent food. We certain recommend that you give them a try. Hours are 8:00am to 3:00pm Daily. Adress: 4517 W Saanich Rd, Victoria, BC V8Z 3G3
Phone: (778) 265-8898
There is a Village Restaurant now at three Greater Victoria locations. See Below:

Estevan Location

8:00am to 3:00pm Daily
2520 Estevan Ave, Victoria, BC V8R 2S7
(250) 592-8311
estevan@thevillagerestaurant.ca (Best way to communicate with us!)

If you have have questions please refer to our FAQ page. If you require take-out click here .

Royal Oak Location

8:00am to 3:00pm Daily
4517 W Saanich Rd, Victoria, BC V8Z 3G3
(778) 265-8898
royaloak@thevillagerestaurant.ca (Best way to communicate with us!)

If you have have questions please refer to our FAQ page. If you require take-out click here .

Torquay Location

8:00am to 3:00pm Daily
4087 Shelbourne St, Victoria, BC V8N4P6
(778) 265-5200
torquay@thevillagerestaurant.ca (Best way to communicate with us!)

Tags: , ,
Fish & Chips is a West Coast Adventure

Fish & Chips is a West Coast Adventure

  • Posted: Mar 19, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

 

The Flying Otter Serves Up The Best!

Very recently we dropped in the Flying Otter Restaurant on the Inner Harbour. All my life I have been a “Fish and Chips” freak! I have searched the island looking for the best and there are lots of really good ones. The Flying Otter is likely the restaurant we have visited more than any other. They have a frequently flyer card which gives you a free meal after your purchase 10 entrees. We had two cards completed.

Flying Otter Fish & Chips

Flying Otter Fish & Chips

I have been to most “fish and chip” eateries in greater Victoria and I truly believe that the Flying Otter serves up one of the best! I had the beer battered halibut and it was fresh and delicious. The beer batter was relatively light and the beer taste was just right, not overpowering the taste of the fish. The halibut was fresh and delicious. If it came from frozen fish it fooled me!
The fries are Kennebec variety which are by far the very best. They do them just right. The cold slaw was good, but not the best I have ever had. It had a slightly bitter taste and I don’t do bitter!
There was a slight glitch in our service as we thought it took a long time to come. As with all great restaurants, their rebound effort was exceptional. I love going to restaurants with good customer service! This is one such restaurant.
The view is spectacular, especially at sunset! When you sit on the covered patio you are literally inches from the water and facing west.
We highly recommend this cool little restaurant. It always seems busy. Good restaurant always are. There is lots of choice on the menu, so you should find something to enjoy. If you like fish and chips, try theirs!

Taking Time To Smell the Roses

Taking Time To Smell the Roses

  • Posted: Mar 18, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Victoria is Awash With Colour – Spring Has Really Arrived

Spring Colors

Spring Colors

Spring Colours

Spring Colours

About a week ago I drove down one of my favourite blossom streets. It is covered with an arch of pink blossoms. Yesterday I drove there again and the blossoms were over and the trees were covered in green leaves. This is the true test of when spring arrives. When the green leaves start popping out all around the city, that is the real beginning of spring. I have see the early blossoms start in December and January in a few downtown locations. Usually the blossoms start in February. Our winters have definitely turned warmer. We had no snow this winter.

 

 

What always amazes me is the myriad of colours. It is like life starts all over again. It is so refreshing and lovely all through out the city. Many of the streets in Victoria and Esquimalt were planted with blossoming trees, so you see a cover of colour all the way down the street, sometimes for blocks on end.

The large magnolia trees are truly amazing. The flowering cherry, plum and apple trees are incredible. The colorful shrubs are every where. Daffodils abound. The slopes of Beacon Hill and covered in daffodils.

The sun, after days of rain has brought people out in droves. The waterfront is crowded with people just enjoying the views of Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains.

The parks are full of children as it is Spring Break. A bus load of foreign tourists were all taking pictures of Terry Fox’s Statue (Terry was enjoying the daffodils). Continue reading

Tags:
Vancouver Island Moments

Vancouver Island Moments

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Coombs Country Market:

We love this place. It is by far the world’s best little tourist trap! I dare you to stop there and not buy anything. They have the best ice cream shop anywhere. They serve island farms ice cream which is one of the very best! They have about 40 choices and I will bet that on an “ice cream day” one in three people there have an ice cream cone in their hands. There are a couple of places to dine while at the Market. Memories are made of this!

The market is  located on the gateway to the west coast of Canada, situated approximately 30 mins from Port Alberni and 2½ hrs from Tofino and Ucluelet. The address for your GPS is 2326 Alberni Hwy, Coombs, BC V0R 1M0.

The is a restaurant inside the actual market and they serve pretty good food. It always seems busy.

Coombs Country Market

Coombs Country Market

You can buy grocery items, specialty products, fresh meat, fresh baked goods, objects from all over the world and a whole lot more. It is an amazing place. I always take guest there and they always really enjoy it and yes, they always buy something. It is market overload for sure. They have something for everyone.

The market started with a grass covered building with several goats on the roof. What an amazing marketing scheme. It has passed the test in time. If you leave there without a picture of the goats on the roof, too bad, so sad!  Unfortunately there are times when the goats are not on the roof! Not sure why, but the reason is probably very rationale.

Behind the market is an Italian Restaurant called Cuckoo Trattoria! There is also a surf shop called Wabi Sabi Boardwear.

4-b-Coombs Country Market

This Market put the small town of Coombs on the map and has generated a lot of other businesses and some that try to copy this market! Good luck!

So, when you are travelling to Port Alberni make sure you take the Alberni Highway 4A and not 4 from hear Qualicum Beach. Allow at least 1.5 hours for you stop at the Market. You can thank me later!

I think we have been to this stop on Vancouver Island more than anywhere else. Obviously I am a fan! Perhaps you will become a fan too. In the 20 + years that I have had my web site, I have been contacted more about this place than any other. So, make sure you take it in. It is on the way to one of my favourite destinations on the Island, Ucluelet and Long Beach.

Coombs Country Market

Coombs Country Market

 

Tags: , ,
Six Mile Pub- View Royal

Six Mile Pub- View Royal

  • Posted: Mar 16, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

The Six Mile Pub is located in View Royal on Victoria’s West Shore!

This Pub serves a good variety of beer and drinks and certainly good food. It is not far from the View Royal Casino. We were without power recently so we drove in to the pub for a quick supper. I think we were the last customers of the night. Beats a cold supper in the dark.

Six Mile Pub

Six Mile Pub

This is a very popular pub so expect it to be busy. Take time and enjoy yourself. The pub is on the shores of the Millstream River as it approaches the ocean. Enjoy the billiard room for a game of pool in Victoria’s oldest pub. It has been around since 1855. Take a picture in the old English style phone booth, changing into your superman outfit!

We had very good service by a very pleasant server. Why not give it a try!

The Six Mile Pub & Eatery

Hours of Operation:
Mon – Tue: 11am to 11pm
Wed – Sat: 11am to 12am
Sun: 10am to 11pm (Sunday Buffet Brunch from 10am to 2pm)Phone: 250-478-3121
Fax: 250-478-8765

Address:
494 Old Island Hwy at Six Mile Rd
Victoria, B.C. Canada V9B-1H5Email: info@6milepub.com
For large party reservations please go to Group Bookings.

History of the Six Mile Pub: (copy from the Six Mile Pub web site).

Weary travelers have stopped at the pub for more than a century to rest and quench a thirst before going on their way.

Six Mile Pub HistoryThe Six Mile Story begins in 1848 with millwright John Fenton, who built a saw-mill on the site owned by the Hudson Bay Co. The first lumber sawn was used in a barn at the North Dairy Farm. It was also from here that the first export of lumber went to California. It consisted of 8,000 feet and the price was $80. per 1000 feet.

The following year Fenton was lured to California by the tales of gold. Bill Parsons, formerly a London Bobby (Parson as he was called) replaced Fenton and he built a bridge over Millstream which in the 1863 gold rush provided access to the Sooke and Leech River areas. He also completed a 40 by 60 ft. grist mill and operated it until the winter of 1854/55 when a flash flood damaged the mill beyond economical repair.

Six Mile Pub HistoryIn 1855, Parsons bought 40 acres of land from the Hudson Bay company and built Parsons Bridge Hotel. The Parsons’ ran the rambling wooden hotel with its perimeter veranda for a number of years. It apparently opened in 1855 but Parsons didn’t purchase his “country retail license” until the next year (perhaps encouraged to do so after paying a fine of two pounds 10). This made of cial what is the oldest pub in B.C. still operating today.

The hotel became a handy port of call for British sailors who filled the ships’ water barrels at the mouth of the Mill-stream. The tap room rang with laughter and shouts of British tars from Esquimalt naval base established in 1864; there is talk it used to be the headquarters for rum-running at a later date. The Six Mile was the hub of the small community and was used as a postal address by those close by when the stage coaches began to run in the 1880’s.

Victoria BC Pub HistoryRoadhouses, as they were called and hence the name Six Mile House, were dropping off points for the mail as coaches brought it the six miles from town.

About the turn of the century there was a fire at the Six Mile House and the present square two story section was built as an addition to the original structure. This new section was finished with tongue and groove and a balcony ran about the second story.

Colwood PubNo one knows how many times the “House” has changed hands but one of the most colourful was surely Jim Price who owned it during the prohibition which darkened the doors of B.C.’s bars. Though officially closed, the hotel continued to be a meeting place for many locals, who met to talk politics and drink. During prohibition bootlegging was a popular sport and Six Mile House was an arena. Price also had a scheme to raise trout in the Millstream, so he built a dam and stocked it. Three or four days of heavy rains washed his plans, his dam and his baby trout all out to sea.

Before Six Mile House was reopened as a pub after prohibition in about 1924, there was a major fixing-up. The interior and exterior were both redone, down to a nice red carpet on the “ladies” side – The large windows were added to the “ladies” side a few years later. Liquor laws at this time were very strict. They forbade food in bars, made sitting while drinking a firm rule, and made beer the pub’s sole offering. The fact that neighbouring municipalities including Victoria was still ‘dry’ contributed to good business for the Six Mile for many years. Plebiscites were held after prohibition but Esquimalt was the only area to bring back licensed establishments. Victoria stayed ‘dry’ until 1952. Jim Price retired from Six Mile House in 1931 and sold it to the founder of Silver Springs Brewery.

Colwood Corners PubDuring the war, beer was rationed and waiters were Kings. They paid for the beer at the bar, then sold it at the tables with the best tippers. Pubs opened at staggered hours and went until the beer ran out. Competition for the foamy brew was stiff and waiters served the most lucrative tables. After the war, things boomed locally which might explain the next glut of buying and selling. Before 1950 the Six Mile changed hands five more times.

During all this time the Six Mile continued to be a “neighbourhood” pub. Wednesday afternoons were especially busy as Victoria stores closed then.

Tags: , ,
Eagles Recycling

Eagles Recycling

  • Posted: Mar 08, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

Island Life Requires a Good Recycling Program

No one does recycling like bald eagles. On my way home to the outermost rural area of Colwood, right on the Metchosin border, I noticed a couple of cars pulled on to the side of the road. I did a quick U-turn and upon parking saw a very large immature bald eagle. When you see the pictures check how big the eagle is in relation to the carcass body of the deer the eagle was tearing apart. This is raw nature. At this moment, all I had was my point and shoot camera. I took a bunch of shots with it on zoom and then a bit of video.

After watching it for about 30 minutes I decided to head home and get a better camera. When I arrived back there was even a larger bald eagle feasting on the carcass. Nature decries that the bigger and stronger ones rule the roost. The two immature ones were in the trees overhead crying for their chance. This one was huge and looked beautiful. It was demonstrating its power with every piece of meet that it ripped off the bones. A few more people stopped to observe and the large eagle seemed undeterred!

Eagles Recycling

Eagles Recycling

I got lots of close  up shots with my telephoto and some pretty good video of the largest eagle. The video of the immature one is a bit blurred but good enough you can see it in action. I hope you enjoy the video and pictures as much as I did seeing it unfold at the side of the road.

Tags:
My Chosen Cafe is a Good Choice!

My Chosen Cafe is a Good Choice!

  • Posted: Mar 07, 2016
  • By:
  • Comments: 0

 

A Delightful Restaurant in Greater Victoria in Rural Metchosin

My Chosen Cafe

My Chosen Cafe

We were off to Glenrosa Farm to celebrate our wedding anniversary and when we got there we found the restaurant closed. So as we headed home we were passing My Chosen  Café in guess where, the community of Metchosin. The restaurant is located at 4492 Happy Valley Road where it intersects with Metchosin Road. When we arrived we got the last spot in the parking lot. The Café was packed so we had to wait a short bit before getting seated.

While we were waiting I paid a visit to Critter Corner which I noticed when a man and his young child grabbed an ice cream cone from the Sugar Shack and headed out there. Critter Corner is a local attraction that is out behind the café. Check out critters like Little Black, Trooper, Snow Drop, Peep, Fonzy and the hens and roosters roaming around the compound. This small attraction highlights part of the farming community critters that you would find in Metchosin. It is entertaining for everyone. Check it out!

Critter Corner

Critter Corner

 

On the way back into the café you will see the sign over the Pizza shop! What else would you call it….My Chosen Pizza! The have quite a large pizza menu and also serve up Pasta and chicken wings. Looks good!

My Chosen Pizza

My Chosen Pizza

 

While waiting in the lobby for our table I also checked out the Sugar Shack which is a bakery and ice cream shop. The baked goods look delicious and the cinnamon bun had my name on it, but that will be for another time. It was covered in gooey caramel. The serve up cone, floats, sundaes, old fashion milk shakes and jumbo banana splits! Ooooh… I can feel the cardiac arrest coming on!

a-SugarShack

If you are have a craving for a simple homemade meal made with fresh local ingredients, then head for My Chosen Café. You get to drive through scenic farmland and enjoy the countryside on your way there. There are lots of places to explore on your way out or back. Tower Point Park, Whitty’s Lagoon, Taylor Beach and Albert Head Lagoon are just few places to check out.  There are lots of crafters and artisans throughout Metchosin that would love to have you drop in.

The café is decorated in a rustic manner with lots of local memorabilia hanging from the walls. All of it is very interesting so take time to look around. There is lots of room in the main café and more in the covered and heated patio. There are several warm fireplaces on the indoor patio.

The staff was friendly, helpful and attentive and seems to care about their work, which is always a nice touch. The menu is extensive (6 pages) and certainly has something for everyone. At a previous visit, I had their baby back ribs which were about as good as you can get. This time I opted for the 5 oz beef burger with cheese and bacon. I ordered half salad and half fries. They use Kennebec potatoes for their fries but I was sure they were hand cut as they did not look like the frozen ones which are all the same size and shape. The fries were very good and the burger was delicious. The salad had a delicious homemade dill dressing on the side. I chose the 5 oz burger because I did not think I could eat a half pound burger for lunch. I had trouble downing all the food I was served. The portions were more than adequate.

My Chosen Menu

My Chosen Menu

Linda had the chicken burger without the bun as she has a wheat allergy. She has become quite adept at using lettuce for the bun. She enjoyed her meal as well. She had the salad and fries as well.

They have a desert display at the front desk that was filled with amazing deserts but there was no way that we had room for desert. For that matter, any of the trips I have had to My Chosen Café, I have been fully satiated by the time the main course was done!

So, this is a great rural restaurant that we would be happy to recommend for lots of reasons.

They have a senior’s night once a week where deals are offered. The restaurant was filled with locals and it is obvious why. Good food, good people and great service.

Sorry, they do not take reservations.  Open Monday to Friday 10 am to 9 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8 am to 9 pm. Phone 250-474-2333. Email

Check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Page 3 of 1312345...10...Last »