Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mystery Location Wins a Free Book

Free E-books seem to be a hit. So, here is the challenge. The first person to identify the location of this picture, somewhere in Greater Victoria, wins a copy of my "Best Kept Secrets of Victoria" insider's Guide to Greater Victoria and Southern Vancouver Island. If you don't win, you can always order one. Check out what is inside this great book with hundreds of links to more information and 36 videos of some very special places. You need this book. See it at: If you think you know the location, email me at For even more changes to win a book, go to my FACEBOOK Site and like it and boom, you are in for a draw. One in ten wins until we reach 200 likes. We have already had about 6 winners! I often drive by this place and the views are so incredible, different a different times of the day. Wow....

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre now has shows in Central Saancih at Church and State Winery

Today was the official opening day of the Raptor Show at the Church and State Winery in Central Saanich. It is right behind Butterfly Gardens and before Butchart Gardens. It is on Benvenuto Road. The birds were presented by Robyn Radclcliffe who always does an excellent show. The event was hosted by Ken Fuller, owner of the Winery. Enjoy the photos, but for sure go out and see the Raptor Show. The birds are all from the Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre in Duncan. Pacific Northwest Raptors is located in the beautiful Cowichan Valley just north of Duncan on Vancouver Island BC, is a unique tourist attraction that operates a Bird of Prey and Raptor centre that is dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey. You can see more pictures on our facebook page. Check out some amazing pictures of the birds during the show.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring in Esquimalt

The township of Esquimalt wins my vote for the pinkest area in Greater Victoria. It is amazing to drive through the streets and see what is unfolding this time of year. Some streets are like driving through a pink tunnel. This is a sure sign that spring is here for good. Our weather is headed towards 15C by the weekend. You gotta love it! For more pics go to our Facebook page. While there, indicate that you like our page and you will be entered into a contest for one of our pdf books that we call the Best Kept Secrets of Victoria. It is an insiders guide to Southern Vancouver Island. You can check out this book on our web site. We will be giving out 1 of these books for every ten additional likes that we get. Have fun, it is spring.

If you stay at one of these Bed and Breakfasts, you will be in the middle of all this pink splendor. Hemingways by the Sea or Denniston by the Sea

Friday, March 25, 2011

Botanical Beach at Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island

If you drive west from Victoria, through Sooke and on to Port Renfrew, you may find your way to my second favourite spot on Vancouver Island. It is called Botanical Beach. It was once a research station for Washington State University. At low tides, especially in May and June, a whole shelf of the ocean is exposed, leaving the most magnificent tide-pools anywhere. It is like walking into the deep ocean. On the way there you are travelling through wilderness, so you never know what you might see. This black bear was standing beside the highway.

The tide pools are many and spectacular. We have seen everthing froms mall fish to octopus in these tide pools. Octopus are rare, but anything could be trapped when the tide goes out exposing these magnificent pools.

The trip there used to be rugged. It is now civilzed. You walk for about 15 minutes from the parking lot to the beach. Parking is charged.

For more pictures go to our
facebook page. For more detail visit our web site

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My favourite sign of spring

If I had passed away and realized that overhead there was one of these double flowering cherry or plum trees with blue sky overhead, I would know I was in heaven. They are my favourite sign of spring. It doesn't get any better than that. It is at the corner of Yates and Broad street in downtown Victoria. Go there and enjoy, it wont last forever. The blossoms are thick, thick and thicker!

The green leaves are starting to show and once out spring will be in full for sure. You gotta love it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Emily Carr- The Other Emily at the Royal BC Provincial Museum

The Other Emily: Redefining Emily Carr will shake off the stubborn stereotypes that have come to characterize this iconic artist.

The exhibition draws on the Royal BC Museum’s vast Carr collection to mount the first-ever exploration of the artist’s life before she became famous – from her teenage years to just before her emergence on the national art scene in 1927.

This new story of her life includes twenty of Carr’s masterpieces, including one painting recently acquired by the Royal BC Museum and on public display for the very first time.

In addition to the outstanding original Carr paintings, visitors can admire more than a dozen rarely-seen sketches and drawings, view numerous manuscripts and handwritten letters, read personal diary accounts, examine archival photographs, and much more. Eighteen contemporary paintings of Carr by artist Manon Elder are presented in counterpoint with the archival photographs that inspired them. See Facebook for more pictures.

March 2 to October 10, 2011-Don't Miss it!

Text copied from the museum site.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Denniston Park in Esquimalt

This is a small but delightful park in Esquimalt. You get to it by travelling west on Esquimalt Road to Grafton. Turn left and drive to the end of the street. There is parking for about 6 cars. There are great views of Juan de Fuca Strait and out towards Race Rocks Light Station. Shore views are of Saxe Point Park, the Esquimalt Naval Base and more. Great place for a picnic on a warm summer day. Enjoy. For more pics go to Facebook

Monday, March 21, 2011

Abkhazi Gardens Victoria BC

Tucked in the southeastern corner of Victoria is an exquisite garden property with a heritage house turned into a tea room. Prince and Princess Abkhazi began creating their garden in 1946 the year they married and settled in Victoria. Both lived a life of privilege and tragedy. Their garden was a labour of love and they developed it over many years. The garden is comprised of dramatic glaciated rocky slopes, magnificent native Garry oaks and an amazing vista. The garden flows around the rocks, with conifers, Japanese maples and rhododendrons found in the deeper pockets of soil. The rhododendrons are immense and mature, many over 50 years old. Carpets of naturalized bulbs, choice alpines and woodland companions provide interest throughout the year. This is truly a unique garden that has been well designed. Don't miss it. For more pics see facebook.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Shellfish Lovers - Win a trip to Comox-Stay at Crown Isle

Win one of two weekend getaways to the BC Shellfish Festival

Comox, BC – Shellfish lovers have the chance at winning one of two getaway contests to the BC Shellfish Festival this June in the seaside town of Comox to enjoy all the sights, sounds and flavours at the largest shellfish festival on the West Coast.

Contest#1 – Not open to residents of Vancouver Island Two return tickets on Harbour Air from downtown Vancouver direct to Comox on June 17, 2011, returning June 19, 2011 (45 min flight) Two night’s accommodation in a one-bedroom suite with jacuzzi at the Crown Isle Golf & Resort Community, June 17-18, 2011 Two tickets to the Chefs’ Dinner on June 17, 2011 featuring chefs Robert Clark of C Restaurant in Vancouver; Andrew Springett of Black Rock Oceanside Resort in Ucluelet; Andrew Stigant of Crown Isle Golf & Resort Community; Garrett Schack of Vista 18 in Victoria; Richard Verhagen of Market Street Grill on Salt Spring Island and Belinda Jones of Gatehouse Bistro in Cumberland Two tickets to the BCSF Festival Day event at Comox Marina Park, Saturday, June 18, 2011 featuring cooking demos, live bands, the BC Oyster Shucking Championship, local food and more
Deadline to enter is May 1, 2011 Entry details

Contest#2 – Open to all Two night’s accommodation at the Crown Isle Golf & Resort Community, June 17-18, 2011 Two tickets to the Chefs’ Dinner on June 17, 2011 Two tickets to the BCSF Festival Day event at Comox Marina Park, Saturday, June 18, 2011 featuring cooking demos, live bands, the BC Oyster Shucking Championship, local food and more Deadline to enter is May 16, 2011
Entry details

More information about the festival and all the events taking place can be found on our website at and our FB Page at

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spriong officially is Sunday at 4 but Victoria is ahead

Yesterday I visited Beacon Hill Park to get my dose of Spring Fever....One shot was not enough. Seemed like everywhere I turned the color just got better and better. Passing back through the city I could not help but notice a good number of cars from frozen Alberta. Smart people! Enjoy.... For more pics, visit our facbook site at:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Vancouver Island Travel Magazine

Coming for a visit to Vancouver Island? If you are looking for ideas, check our web site travel magazine at Over the years we have visited many great spots around Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands and reported on these visits in the Travel Magazine. You should get much deeper insights into places to visit by reading some of these articles. How about a grizzly bear tour from Vancouver Island, or a luxury eco/wildlife charter from Ucluelet. It is worth a look. We were close enough to spit at this bear and he never once looked towards our boat. It was amazing. Ollie the Otter was even closer. See our magazine.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Best Kept Secrets of Victoria - the real secrets of Victoria

Coming to southern Vancouver Island? We have published an "Insiders Guide" which we sell on our web site. It is called the Secrets of Victoria? We used to get orders for female underware, people wanting to open a franchise store and girls applying to be models. Sorry, not those secrets just a huge amount of tips about cool things to do when in the Victoria area. You can find details at Check it out. Lots of tips, photos, links to more information, and 36 videos. Whoa, what a book! Above, Sooke Potholes - a favourite swimming hole for the hot summer days.

Victoria showing signs of spring coming

Following the appearance of snow drops and daffodils poking through the earth, the trees are starting their bloom. Once this starts Victorians know that spring is really on the way. In a few weeks full spring bloom will occur. There are a few rhododendrons blossoming as well. So, if you are looking for a place to get out of the snow, Victoria is the place.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Hotel Rialto A Unique Boutique Hotel in downtown Victoria

I recently was fortunate to have a tour of the Rialto Hotel in downtown Victoria. It is right across the street from Victoria's City Hall and close to many amenities and services. The Veneto Tapa Lounge is an exciting urban lounge atmosphere where locals and tourists alike congregate for delectable dishes and a cocktail list that will astound you. Truly a great place to see and be seen. Coffee and assorted baked goods available from 8am-11:30 / Veneto lunch menu 11:30 - 2pm / Dinner menu available from 5pm till late.
"Solomon the Great" and his staff will provide you with "Vintage Spirits", offering the largest variety of wine and liquor in the downtown core. Over 800 unique wines to choose from and a large variety of local wine producers as well as craft brews. Ask the knowledgeable staff for best picks of the region. Open daily 9am - 11pm.
The rooms are cozy and well decorated. The whole hotel is very nicely decorated and worth a visit. Check out this relatively new hotel, one of the best in the downtown core.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

BC Shellfish Festival at Historic Filberg Lodge and Park

Picture of Historic Filberg Park

Comox, BC – The BC Shellfish Festival is extremely pleased to announce the lineup for the Chefs’ Dinner on Friday, June 17, 2011 at the historic Filberg Lodge & Park. This year’s dinner will bring in chefs from far and wide with a passion for preparing sustainably raised shellfish to treat 200 guests to a truly authentic taste of the West Coast. This year’s lineup includes:
Robert Clark, Executive Chef, C Restaurant, Vancouver Garrett Schack, Executive Chef, Vista 18, Victoria Andrew Springett, Executive Chef, Black Rock Resort, Ucluelet Andrew Stigant, Executive Chef, Crown Isle Resort, Courtenay Richard Verhagen, Raven Street Market Café, Salt Spring Island Belinda Jones, Gatehouse Bistro, Cumberland.

Chefs have been paired with a BC shellfish grower and their product to bring their combined creations to guests. Every course will be expertly paired with a BC wine and served outdoors along the banks of Baynes Sound. Tickets go on sale March 15.

We are also excited to announce our music lineup for the Festival Day, June 18 at Comox Marina Park. Hitting the main stage will be local Comox Valley artist Luke Blu Guthrie, followed by Nanaimo bluegrass band Skagway and finally headlined by Vancouver’s Blackberry Wood.

Also on hand to judge our BC Oyster Shucking Championships and Comox Valley Best Chowder competition will be CBC’s Don Genova and Vancouver Sun columnist/Global TV’s Nathan Fong.

More information about the festival and all the events taking place can be found on our website at and our FB Page at

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Airport Hilton Vancouver/Richmond very close to the Airport

On a recent trip to San Jose Del Cabo we needed to spend two nights in Vancouver. The Airport Hilton did an excellent job of taking care of us. The front desk staff were very helpful, friendly and courteous. The Airport Shuttle service they provide was excellent and goes every half hour. Our room/suite was spacious and the floor to ceiling windows made it bright a cheery. It was well appointed and had all the amenities we needed. The hotel is well equipped and maintained. Carmichael's restaurant is a great place to eat. The food is good and the service friendly and timely. The hotel is well situated to a lot of shopping and other services. As our stay was short, we felt like we needed to return someday to really appreciate this great hotel. It certainly has our recommendation if you are travelling to Vancouver and in particular if you need to be near the airport. There are great views of the city and the North Shore mountains from the hotel. If you like to watch planes take off and land, you will never get a better view. Thanks Hilton, for a great stay. For a pictorial of the Hotel, click here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Blue Fox Cafe - a perfect place for a "book lunch"!

Local children's author Patricia Rose made a recent appearance at the Blue Fox Cafe to launch her new book: The Forgotten Dream. The Blue Fox, located on Fort Street, is one of Victoria's most happening hotspots, serving a delicious breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu. Its bright, funky, and artistic interior sure is a sight for sore eyes on a grey day! The upbeat staff are quick to smile and always full of cheer. You feel right at home at this colourful place! (Tip: there's always a long line-up for lunch, so it's a good idea to book a reservation 250-380-1683).

Rose and her trusty editor Lisa Cole both ordered the mouth-watering Moroccan Chicken Quesadilla with tangy chutney on the side - they said it was to die for!

Afterwards, our illustrious author signed a few books...

The Forgotten Dream is an engaging story of a young rosebud who must remember her dream and find her special place in the Garden. If you're interested in purchasing a copy, they will soon be availbable at Tall Tales Books - also on Fort Street, in Victoria!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Like us on Facebook!

Just a reminder that we now have a brand new Facebook Page - Vancouver Island Travel and Tourism. We're posting the latest and greatest events info, contests, deals, pictures, links, and news updates - visit us often!