Monday, April 30, 2012

There are many more photos like this on our new Vancouver Island homepage.   Check it out and tell your friends.  We are gradually transforming all of our key pages to this format to try to simplify navigation through our site.  Enjoy the pics. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Victoria Inner Harbour Floating Boat Show

Here are two good reasons for you to take in this year's boat show. You can still make it today until 5 pm and all day tomorrow from 10 am until 5 pm. Pick up a boat for 2.5 million or perhaps something less luxurious, your choice! Or just float through the choices with dreams of sugar plums dancing through your head. Enjoy the photos, but check it out for real, it is a lot better. There are lots of great exhibits demonstrating the latest and greatest in boating. For more pictures, please visit or
Facebook Page for 42 more good reasons to attend the show.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Malbec World Day at the Victoria Union Club an Industry Tasting

One Day, One Celebration and one Global Superstar...a day to celebrate Argentine wines and the Malbec grape that produces some of the finest wines in the world.  The stately Union Club is a fitting place to hold such an event.  A great venue, with great staff, table of excellent tapas, and some amazing wines.  If you missed it, that is unfortunate. For more photos please go to the VGSN Facebook page. 

Quadra Village Day Saturday May 12

    • Saturday, May 12, 2012- 9:30am

  • Kings Road between Quadra and Dowler, Victoria BC

  • JOIN US SATURDAY, MAY 12, 9:30am - 1:00pm

    Drop by Kings Road between Quadra and Dowler, and enjoy fun, free, all-ages activities.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Victoria Guest Services Network Tourism Showcase


Don't miss this great event.  The Victoria Guest Services Network also uses this event as a Camosun College bursary fund raiser for the tourism industry. Come out and show your support.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Area artists welcome the public into their homes and studios.Members will showcase a variety of work including original paintings and prints,stone and wood sculpture, fibre art and pottery.

Maps available at local Recreation Centers, businesses, or by clicking on this link. or you can call 250-658-4523 for more information.
This is a great show.  The picture above is by Sandy Terry, one of the fine artists you can visit on this tour.

Check this out.....

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Dagwoods Cafe on Goldstream Avenue in Langford

On our way home today we went passed Dad's Soup and Sangy's in Colwood.  It was closed, so we drove down Goldstream towards home when I remembered a new restaurant had recently opened.  So Linda and I stopped by Dagwood's Cafe.  We were glad we did.  The family staff who were running and working the restaurant were real friendly.  Our sandwiches were very tasty and more than ample.  We could have easily shared one and been satisfied with that amount.  Linda had the Tuscan Veggie with Roasted Red Pepper, Aioli, olives, tomato, red onions and zucchini.  Ron had the Chipotle Chicken with bacon, lettuce, tomato, smoked cheddar, and Chipotle Aioli.  Both were simply delicious using tasty Ciabatta bread.  This great little cafe has ample inside seating and a good sized sunny patio for those nice days.  Expect good friendly service and reasonable prices.  It is only three blocks from where we live, so we can easily walk there.  Glad to have Dagwood's in the neighbourhood.  We think Dagwood's is better than our former stand-by Dad's.

For more pictures of Dagwood's Cafe please go to our Facebook Page.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Relish that Thought

We recentlly visited Relish on Pandora.  Food was good, atmosphere was OK, you get to order at the counter from a wall menu, the dacor is simple, service was adequate.  It is worth a visit.  See our Facebook page for more photos.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rock Cod Cafe in Beautiful Cowichan Bay

Just south of Duncan take the turnoff to Cowichan Bay, our final stop before returning home. Cowichan Bay has lots of summer vacation homes, a few bed and breakfasts and lots of places to eat. Do you get the impression that we like to eat? There is a maritime museum here and you can rent kayaks to take out on the bay. The Pirate Store is worth a visit and a great stop to entertain Madison. So much to see, touch and play with. The real reason we go to Cow Bay is the Rock Cod Café. We have been going for years, introducing friends and relatives to the joys of yet more halibut. When Ron's sister visits from Alberta, her ritual is fish and chips at the Rock Cod Café followed by a lemon ice cream cone from the Udder Guys Old Fashion Ice Cream Parlor just up the street. She's like clockwork.

The Rock Cod Café makes superb fish and chips. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is one of Ron’s favourite meals. The fish always has a light crispy batter. The portions are always generous and the chips are great. We like ours double fried to heavenly crispiness. The halibut is fresh, white and flakey. Ron actually ordered a half RC salad and chips and surprised himself by loving the salad with fresh lettuce with lots of crunchy good things. Linda ordered the Fish Tacos (below left) and thought they were the best she'd ever had. Ron tried them and had to agree. Almost good enough to convert Ron, almost! The Rock Cod Cafe serves their tacos on hard-shelled tortillas with battered halibut and savoury cold slaw topped with mango habanero salsa, served with a side of Cajun potato thins and chipotle mayo. Divine. Madison contented herself with a vanilla milkshake, being still full from a snack earlier. We are very bad grandparents, but hey, it was a holiday!

The Rock Cod Café is always busy. Christine, our waitress was so friendly and helpful. We were seated next to the windows overlooking the docks in the sunshine. What a gorgeous setting. For dessert, we chose a deep caramel pecan flan with three spoons. It is hard to eat any dessert after a Rock Cod Meal, but we made it through sharing. We have probably been back to the Rock Cod Cafe more than any other restaurant on Vancouver Island. What a great way to end a busy get-away. In Madison's words, "This trip was the most awesome (Ron likes this word too) experience. I have the most awesome Grandma and Grandpa!" For more pictures go to our Facebook page.

The Pacific Northwest Raptor Centre near Duncan BC

The Pacific Northwest Raptors Centre located at 1877 Herd Road, in the beautiful Cowichan Valley just north of Duncan. PNWR is dedicated to the conservation of birds of prey, and through education, strives to raise awareness for birds of prey and wildlife, protect their habitats and inspire awe in visitors.

When we pulled into the parking lot, two horses were standing at the fence, looking lovingly at the grass just beyond their reach. Madison was gone like a shot, being a lover of all four legged creatures. The horses enjoyed her handfuls of grass and became fast friends when she shared her own snack of apples from the cooler. While we were waiting for our hawk walk, we enjoyed talking to Sarah, one of the staff enjoying the sunshine with an injured male Harris Hawk on her gloved arm. The hawk had been shot in the wing and was there for rehabilitation. Sarah had lots of interesting things to tell us about hawks and we got a great chance to get up close and personal with him. Ready for an even closer encounter, the hawk walk with Robyn, we each wore a protective leather glove. When Robyn placed a piece of fresh meat on the glove, the hawk flew down for its treat, landing on the glove. When we were ready, we raised our arm in the air and the hawk flew off into the trees. Knowing where the next treat was coming from, the hawk watched carefully and reacted instantly. It was hard not to flinch but we all found that a wild bird landing on our arm was incredibly exciting. Madison had this to say, "It was so awesome! I got to hold a hawk! There is nowhere else where I can see birds so close. The hawk flew right to me from so far away. I loved Robyn and her name. She is perfect for that job!" Add a few more exclamations marks to get a sense of how excited Madison was.

Captive birds bred on site like eagles, hawks, owls, falcons, and vultures are allowed to fly free every day. They return to the Raptor Centre as it is their home, and these flights make for thrilling, exciting and entertaining flying demonstrations. As Robyn our host told the audience, “if you were getting free room and board, free medical care (this is Canada after all) and lots of love and attention, would you want to leave?” During the flying show, the birds perform within inches of the audience. They seem to love brushing the viewer’s hair with their wings as they fly over the audience. The flight show that day featured a mature bald eagle, an owl, a hawk and a falcon. The eagle was majestic and to our surprise weighed only 7.5 pounds. Their feathers make them appear much larger. Females are usually 30% heavier than the males. Linda and Madison thought that was justice. Owls have very sensitive hearing and can hear the heart beat of a mouse from a kilometer away. They can hear voles rustling underneath snow. Did you know they turn their heads to see because their eyes don't move in their sockets? The hawk was funny to watch running along the ground after its prey. When Robyn let the falcon loose, every bird in the neighbourhood started up a cacophony of distress calls. The falcon flew amazingly fast and high. Being one of the smaller birds of prey, falcons knock their prey out of the air by hitting them at high speed and killing them. Robyn does a great job narrating the show. Lots of information and lots of humour make it a great show for all ages. The centre is just 5 minutes off the Trans Canada Highway. We have been several times and keep going back just for the entertainment value.

For more photos, go to our Facebook Page.

The Chemainus Theatre in Chemainus BC on Vancouver Island

Another experience that we had in the Cowichan Valley was being “All Shook Up” at the Chemainus Theatre. A 40 minute drive from Lake Cowichan took us to Chemainus and we introduced Madison to the Chemainus Murals. Days later, Madison told her mom "I'm an artist, so I appreciate beautiful artwork". There are more and more murals every year, so we never tire of seeing them. Prior to 1981 Chemainus was a single resource mill town. When a recession hit British Columbia the mill was in trouble and Chemainus was in danger of becoming a ghost town. With a community initiative grant from the BC Government, a forward-thinking mayor presented the Mural concept to the community. Chemainus quickly became world-famous as an example of how even a small town can create a dramatic change for survival.

After admiring the many murals, we walked to the Chemainus Theatre for “All Shook Up” and a delicious buffet dinner in the Playbill Dining Room. The food was efficiently displayed in a two-sided buffet, so the line moved smoothly. A pianist played beautifully throughout our meal. Our server Kym was very friendly and attentive. Ron could barely set his water glass down before it was refilled. There were an impressive number of choices between salads, vegetables, and meat including chicken, pork, beef and ham. To our delight the dessert table was almost as long as the food buffet! After dinner, Linda and Madison admired the well stocked Gift Shop while Ron relaxed on a comfy couch. For more pictures of our Chemainus Theatre visit, go to our Facebook Page.

Everything about the Chemainus Theatre is first class. There is lots of nearby parking and the interior is finely decorated. They have even contributed a number of murals on the street side of the theatre. The theatre seats are comfortable, the staff is friendly and helpful, and there are no bad seats. There is a drinks bar in the main lobby for those who arrive early. Beverages can be ordered ahead of time for quick service during intermission.

"All Shook Up" turned out to be a rock and roll musical comedy. It follows a small-town girl's dream of hitting the open road. Everything gets turned upside down when a guitar-playing "roustabout" rambles into town, introducing her to romance, rebellion and rock 'n roll. Early in the show it seems easy to predict the ending, but guess again. What unfolds is not clear until the end of the show. The score is filled with familiar Elvis tunes, the characters each look and fit their part, and all do a great job of an excellent show for young and old alike. Madison got so stoked that she and a newly met friend danced across the front of the stage imitating the routine during intermission. "This is the best show I have ever seen in a theater and I loved all the singing. It was funny too. I even made a friend from Nanaimo and we danced all night" enthused Madison. The show ended April 7th so you'll miss this one but we have never heard a bad review about Chemainus Theatre. Take in one of their upcoming shows or buy season's tickets. You could be surprised by the quality of entertainment found in a small town just an hour's drive north of Victoria.

For more pictures go to our Facebook Page.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Kidd's Bed and Breakfast Lake Cowichan

We travelled to Cowichan Lake to stay at Kidd’s Bed and Breakfast, 518 Point Ideal Drive, for a two night visit. The B&B is only steps from the lake with mountain and water views. Beth and David Kidd are very congenial hosts who instantly "adopted" our granddaughter. When Madison called for her Grandma, two voices responded!

Beth and David helped us with our bags to their Ghana Room. The name comes from the display of art from Ghana and nearby African countries, collected during the Kidd's tenure in Ghana. The spacious room features a queen bed, twin bed, and single hide-a-bed, TV/DVD, small fridge, coffee maker, kettle and table and chairs. The bathroom has a large, double headed walk-in shower and Linda was very impressed that the control was easily accessible at the dry end of the shower, rather than under the shower head. She hates getting doused with cold water! The room is semi-circular in shape, with large windows and a view of the lake and mountains. This room easily accommodated the three of us and well all slept well on the comfortable beds.

In the morning David and Beth served up a delicious breakfast of upside-down apple pancake, sausages and bacon, and fruit salad. Linda broke her one-cup rule with their fine coffee made from fresh ground beans. Madison was thrilled to help Beth in the kitchen. Beth “is the best" in Madison's book.

Somehow hungry for lunch after our gargantuan breakfast, we hosted Beth and David at J&V Burgers and Pizza, renown for the best burgers in the Cowichan Valley. The burgers lived up to their reputation, with fresh ingredients and patties made on-site. Even Linda, not a burger fan, liked her Mushroom and Swiss burger. Madison gobbled up "the best hotdog she has ever eaten". J&V Burgers is located at 152 South Shore Road in Lake Cowichan. There is an outdoor patio for warmer days and a stack of board games to keep diners entertained. After lunch David and Beth gave us a community tour to visit some of the local sights we had not yet seen. The Education Centre can host up to 100 for conferences and workshops, including accommodation and meals. The Lakeview Campground and Beach on the edge of town looks like a great place to camp during the warmer months. There are campsites within meters of the lake and a sandy beach on the shore. We also made stops at the new Arena and Curling Rink, and the Forestry Centre where you can walk a short distance to some very large trees. Lake Cowichan is also a gateway to the Carmanah/Walbran Valleys, Nitinat Lake and Port Renfrew. The old logging road has been upgraded and paved, making the trip to Port Renfrew an easy one.
Returning to Kidds, David took Madison for a walk to the floating dock, and Madison was impressed by all the things David shared about the flora and fauna, including a lesson on the anatomy of minnows. This little outing combined with being allowed to help in the kitchen prompted "They are the nicest people who ever had a bed and breakfast"! For more photos of Kidd’s see our Facebook page.

Dino's Grill Duncan BC - Home of Great Food

In Duncan we decided to try Dino's Grill (get the pun?), a new restaurant to us. Dino's has only been around for a year but that's been long enough to garner a good reputation on the Internet. Dino's Grill is located at 231 Government Street in Duncan. Ron and Madison both wanted ribs and decided to share a special of the night, the "Bigger Pigger Platter" with two slabs of baby back ribs and two slabs of side ribs, a helping of pulled pork, Caesar salad, baked beans and cold slaw. Oink, oink! The ribs were perfectly cooked in the on-site Texas Cookhouse and the unanimous vote was delicious. The Caesar salad was fresh, the cold slaw naturally sweet, not bitter and the baked beans were incredible. Linda does not like baked beans at the best of times and she loved these ones. Madison said the same thing, and she really doesn't like beans. Ron finds it hard to get good cold slaw in restaurants but Dino's was delicious. The portions are so big, Ron and Madison who love meat couldn't finish the meal. Linda really enjoyed the crispy chicken coconut curry, another special of the night. We topped off with a yummy piece of Mississippi Mud Pie (like we needed it)! Madison loved the Lemon Crumble Pie. Tracey our server looked after us well and was happy to chat. Tracey loves her job at Dino's because everyone loves the food.

Dino’s Grill is a full service licensed restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Local Food-International Flavour” is the motto of the restaurant, using local products cooked in the freshest way possible. Dino specializes in Mediterranean dishes and classic West Coast flavours with an in-house Texas Smoker for ribs, chicken & brisket. Dino is a Red Seal Chef with 20 years of cooking and managerial experience. He understands the ingredients to make customers happy. And happy we were. Dino’s has a relaxed atmosphere and very reasonable prices. We have already recommended it to friends and hope you give it a try. We tried a similar, popular restaurant in Victoria and Dino’s food is at least four times as good (Ron's rating).

For more pictures of Dino's Grill and the great food there, visit our Facebook Page.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Just Jakes Restaurant Duncan BC

Hungry after all that touring, we went to Just Jakes Restaurant at 45 Craig Street for lunch.  Just Jakes is a locally owned and operated business that strives to offer fresh hand-crafted brews, local house-made food and top-notch customer service.  The good news is that striving works.  The beer is finely craft brewed, the food delicious, and Danica our server was super friendly and helpful, providing excellent service.  Top grades go to this restaurant.  Ron enjoyed some very tender calamari and a well dressed Caesar salad.  Linda loved her Jambalaya Pizza (above) with fire roasted tomato sauce, shrimp, chorizo sausage, ham, banana peppers, red onions, sweet peppers and mozzarella cheese.  Miss "I love meat" Madison wolfed down an entree sized portion of Panko Breaded Chicken Tenders cut from real chicken breasts.  No processed "chicken" here!  To top off the meal we ordered Sex in a Pan and three spoons.  This dessert is evil but oh so good.  We made fast work of it despite being already full.  Being nine years old, Madison was grossed out by the name (eew! she cried) but enjoyed her share just the same.  The only downside was having to answer a lot of questions about sex at the lunch table.  Just Jakes is the only restaurant in Duncan that we have been to on multiple occasions and we plan to go again in the future.  It is hard to beat amazing food, reasonable prices and super staff.  Desserts are made in the in-house bakery and beer is brewed right next door.  Treat yourself the next time you're in Duncan.  Enjoy more pictures on our Facebook Page.

The Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre in Duncan BC

Recently we made a stop at the Quw'utsun' Cultural and Conference Centre in Duncan, built on six acres of beautifully landscaped grounds along the banks of the Cowichan River, a designated BC Heritage River, just off the Trans Canada Highway.  At the entry to the Centre, we met John our well-informed guide and joined a group of about 100 (!) visiting Japanese students for a tour.  John started with the Totem Tour, sharing the stories and traditions of the Cowichan people for hundreds of years past.  Each Totem had a unique and interesting story.  Madison particularly liked the Marriage Totem and the little artist in her appreciated the talent involved in carving them.  Following the totem tour, we watched a half-hour movie depicting the history of the Cowichan First Nation.  Then we enjoyed a display of traditional dance by local students.   The tour expands in the summer and includes more on-site displays and an authentic salmon BBQ.  Ever hungry and hoping for food, Madison was disappointed that the salmon BBQ is only held in the summer.  The Centre also showcases First Nations contemporary food in the restaurant and a West Coast themed gift gallery featuring local artists.  This is a well designed centre giving a close up view on native culture on Vancouver Island.  Thanks to John for such an interesting and educational experience that even kept Madison interested and attentive.  Go to our Facebook page to see more photos of this super attraction and our Blog Video of their Dancers.