Small cities like Duncan, B.C., steward great artists

Reflecting on Canadian culture at the Dog House Restaurant and small businesses dedicated to local artisans

Small cities like Duncan, B.C., steward great artistsAs cities go, Duncan, B.C., is pretty small. In fact, it’s the smallest city by area (2.07 square km) in Canada. In 2016, it had 4,994 citizens. It was incorporated in 1912, as the star of Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley, an agricultural, mining and logging centre first visited by Vancouver Island Gov. James Douglas and…

Off-season in Tofino: Surreal scenery, adventures, culinary treats

No need to rush south of the border for sandy beaches, sipping cocktails and freshly caught seafood. We have it all right here in Canada in Tofino, B.C.

Off-season in Tofino: Surreal scenery, adventures, culinary treatsPaddling in smooth, grey waters of Clayoquot Sound on a February afternoon, eagles, cormorants and blue herons soaring above in the moody, sun streaked sky, I felt an incredible sense of peace. That kind you get when you feel you’re getting away with something and all is right with the world. Affectionately known as the…

Off-season in Tofino is crowd-free fun

Tofino’s vision of its future is gradual and thoughtful growth, recognizing the natural limits of what the community can sustain

Off-season in Tofino is crowd-free funTOFINO, B.C. – There’s a time-worn story from the remote West Coast village of Tofino from a few years back about a resort coffee shop that, in a moment of enthusiasm, hung a Starbucks sign out front. Tofitians – as they call themselves – were not amused. Franchise eateries like Tim Hortons and McDonald’s are…

Air Transat adds domestic and European flights

More Air Transat flights, China on the cheap, skiing on Vancouver Island, flight deals from Canadian cities

Air Transat adds domestic and European flightsIf you’re travelling within Canada this summer or have a trans-Atlantic holiday planned, you’ll have more flights to choose from between the busy travel months of May and October. Within Canada, Air Transat will start offering direct flights to Toronto and Vancouver from Calgary four times a week. Return flights from Calgary to Toronto will…

Exploring the islands of B.C.’s Nuchatlitz lagoon

From sublime beauty to mysteries of an unknown world tucked away at the edge of the Pacific ocean

Exploring the islands of B.C.’s Nuchatlitz lagoonNuchatlitz lagoon, framed by a formidable offshore wall of reefs and rocks, is sprinkled with small islands. Consulting the Canadian Hydrographic Service chart entitled Esperanza Inlet, one is quickly puzzled by their odd place names. While Nuchatlitz Provincial Park and four IRs (Indian reserves) are prominently badged, the entire flotilla of Nuchatlitz islands (I counted…

Discovering an island of mummucknees in Nuchatlitz

When Capt. James Cook first arrived in this region, the Mowachaht were also surprised that the white men lived without women. “How was that, people wondered?”

Discovering an island of mummucknees in NuchatlitzIn early March of 1778, Capt. James Cook sailed the Royal Navy sloops Resolution and Discovery into Nootka Sound looking for water, solid timber to replace some broken masts and spars, and new lands to claim for King George III. At this point during his celebrated third expedition of discovery, the ships and crews had…

Paddling along B.C’s outer edge

Nuchatlitz offers a shallow lagoon system, dotted with islands, encircled by rocks and pinnacles with names like Danger Rock, Nuchatlitz Reef and Blind Reef

Paddling along B.C’s outer edgeThe route to Nuchatlitz Provincial Park is as involved as the destination is rewarding. First you have to drive to Zeballos, a somewhat forgotten mining and logging village on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island, home to about 300 well-defined West Coasters. Then you pay the Cedar Lodge boatman $200 each for a (return) tin…

Reliving our past, aboard kayaks

We're heading out on a lengthy kayaking expedition once again, 20 years after our paddles last broke water and we slept under canvas on a remote beach

Reliving our past, aboard kayaksChaos reigns in our front yard. Our two old kayaks have been pulled out from their slumber under the house and their hatch covers pulled off under a blinding summer sun. Spiders are creeping out of bow and stern lockers. The old Kevlar paddles have been found in the garden shed, along with ancient plastic…

Ways to save at Canada’s top summer destinations

Ways to save at Canada’s top summer destinationsWe are pleased to introduce a new weekly travel columnist. Calgary-based Russell Hannon calls himself an “ultra-economical travel expert” and uses lean principles to travel economically. He has been featured on CNBC, FOX, CBS, America Tonight, CTV, ShopSmart, Around the World Travel TV, and nationally broadcast lifestyle and personal finance shows. Russell speaks at travel…