Author: Hannah

eco friendly Vancouver Island

Eco-friendly clothing on Vancouver Island


Are you curious about fashion? How about clothes made with eco-friendly sustainable materials?

Many companies and shops in Vancouver Island create sustainable local clothes. Every shop has its own taste of fashion and motto for earth friendly garments.

       They use many sustainable fabrics and strive to have a positive relationship with everyone who works to create their line. Their designs are sewn in India and Thailand to support small family run production houses that provide ethical working conditions and fair wages to their employees.

Blue Sky Clothing is a fair trade, natural fiber, sustainable clothing company specializing in fashion for all sizes. Their clothing is created using exclusively natural fibers, including bamboo, cotton, wool, and modal sourced from beech trees.  Not only do these fabrics feel wonderful on the skin, but they are also less harmful to manufacture and create longer lasting clothing. As fair trade, bamboo fabric is sourced and sewn in China, and naturally sourced rayon is batiked and sewn in Bali. 

Their vision is a world where we are all able to consider the impact of our purchases. They create clothes by local designers. Their signature fabric is a hemp and organic cotton blend, custom dyed using low impact dyes and a 100% uptake process. Their own line of Hemp and Company Originals and Essentials is designed and manufactured entirely in Canada.

Salt & West was established in 2005 with a vision for creating quality clothing with fabrics like certified organic cotton, viscose from bamboo, hemp, soy and merino wool. Their fabrics have been tested to ensure that they have no traces of harmful chemicals. Salts Organic clothing is a community based project that delivers high quality employment opportunities to women. Salts clothing is available online or at Hemp & Company.

Smoking Lily use mostly bamboo, eucalyptus, dead stock (left over stock from larger companies) and vintage fabrics found on their travels. They use only nontoxic inks in their print room and work to be good stewards to the earth. Smoking Lily’s goal is to be a zero fabric waste company, to make use of every last piece of fabric they bring in. Their kids’ line is made entirely out of leftover parts from other projects, as are many of their accessories.


With the growing push towards a more sustainable future, these shops and others are helping locals and visitors live a less wasteful, more purposeful life! Please visit our site to see our beautiful accommodations for your next getaway! 


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

fishing gulf islands

Fishing on the Gulf Islands


The Gulf Islands consist of over a dozen islands in the Strait of Georgia, off the coast of British Columbia’s mainland. The landscape is characterized by dramatic coastlines, beautiful beaches, and a diversity of plants and animals.

As for fishing, the Southern Gulf Islands offer some great salmon fishing year round. May and June are exceptional months for Chinook which are migrating to their home waters at this time. During the summer months and early fall you can catch all species of Salmon. Sockeye, Coho, Pinks, Chinook and Chum all pass through these waters as they migrate to their spawning grounds. The area is also very good for ground fish such as Ling cod and rock fish.

You will need a fishing license to go fishing. You can purchase your non-tidal/freshwater fishing license online through the government of B.C.’s website. In addition, you have to get a special stamp or an additional permit to fish for salmon legally. This is important not only to the continued general health of the aquatic ecosystem, but also for stocking and conservation programs. For all fishing regulations please click here. Of course, you will also need basic fishing tools such as a fishing rod, reel, bait, hook, bobber, and rig!

Tips for Salmon Fishing

 Fishing sometimes depends on luck. Still, there are some tips to fish salmon effectively.

  • Sharpen your hooks

Salmon have a very thick jawline so make sure that hook is razor sharp to increase your chances of a catch.

  • Choose the best bait for salmon

The most successful type of live bait for salmon fishing is to use roe (eggs). You can also use Flashtrap spinners, which is an artificial lure very effective to fish salmon.

  • Use a flashy item

Make sure your bait has something flashy attached to it to attract the fish. Salmon prefer low lighting conditions, so something that flashes will attract them in deeper, darker waters.

  • Use a red line

Certain colors disappear completely at deeper depths and the very first color that disappears is red. Your bait will appear more life-like if you use red line.

  • Fish in the clouds

Since salmon do prefer low lighting, overcast days are the perfect days to fish. If it is not overcast, dawn and dusk are optimal times, too. Try to avoid bright, sunny days, as the visibility of the salmon will be greater.


As long as you know these tips, you can have fun fishing on the Gulf Islands. Haven’t booked your accommodation yet?  Take a look at our Gulf Islands vacation homes and have a wonderful visit with us!


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

Vancouver Island

Facts about Vancouver Island

If you are planning to visit, or are already on, Vancouver Island, here are some fun facts to make your stay more interesting and knowledgeable.

Fast Facts

  • Vancouver Island is in the North-Eastern Part of the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Canada.
  • It is part of the Canadian province of British Columbia. 
  • It has been the homeland to many indigenous peoples for thousands of years. 
  • Vancouver Island is the world’s 43rd largest island, Canada’s 11th largest island.
  • Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, the Island’s largest city.
  • It has the world’s largest hockey stick in Duncan.
  • It has the world’s largest totem pole in Victoria, B.C.
  • The Island has an average coldest temperature of -2 degrees Celsius in the winter and an average high of 23 degrees Celsius in the summer. It is considered to have the mildest climate in Canada.
  • Vancouver Island is 3x bigger than the island of Hawaii, 3x smaller than Ireland.

How was the island formed?

The island was formed through a combination of processes, including tectonic plate movement, volcanism, erosion and glaciation. In terms of tectonic plate movement, the island is mostly made up of volcanic and sedimentary rock which was formed offshore on the now disappeared Kula oceanic plate. Around 55 million years ago, a microplate of the Kula Plate subducted below the North American continental margin with great strain. 

The mountains in Vancouver Island have produced a rain shadow so that the west of the island receives more annual rainfall than the east of the Island. The climate is generally mild and despite variations in rainfall this has led to it being a natural temperate forest biome. Along with many fast-flowing rivers these physical factors combine to make the island a fantastic location to explore the natural wonders that these rich ecosystems have to offer. 

Vancouver Island

Interested in Vancouver Island? We have a great selection of accommodations! Check out our Tanglewood Beach Homes & Qualicum Landing Vacation Rentals and contact or call 1-877-778-6466!


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

sand sculpture

The Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition & Exhibition


July 12:  2pm – 9pm

July 13 & 14:  9am – 9pm


July 15 – August 18

Open 9am – 9pm daily


What are you going to do this summer? If you are interested in art, you will be fascinated by these professional sand sculptures!

The Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition is a world class event for Master Sand Sculptors and is an official qualifying event for the World Championship of Sand Sculpting. These Master Sculptors travel from all corners of the globe to participate in our remarkable competition and exhibition in Parksville. You can watch the sculptures “under construction” beginning Friday, July 12 at 2 pm. Judging will take place on Sunday from 3-5 pm and the winners will be announced Sunday at approximately 5:30 pm. The gated exhibition will remain open to the public until Sunday, August 18th, from 9am-9pm daily. Voting for the ever popular “People’s Choice Award” begins after judging has been completed.

Be sure to bring your camera to this amazing event because once the exhibition is over the sculptures are gone forever.  You and your family are sure to be inspired to create a little sandcastle magic of your own after viewing the sand sculptures – so bring your own buckets and shovels! 

Here are some photos to show the previous winners of this prestigious competition.

Each soloist has a 12×15 foot plot and gets 10 yards of sand while doubles get a 20×20 foot plot and 15 yards of sand. ALL the sand must be utilized in the creation of their artwork. They have 30 pre-set hours over 4 days to create their masterpieces.

Looking at these masterpieces you might wonder how they stay together!  Essentially they are just made from sand and water. However to withstand wind and rain, they are sprayed with a diluted mixture of environmentally-friendly white glue (like the glue kids use at school) and water only AFTER the sculptures are completed. In the first place, the sculptures must be constructed properly – lots of packing and pounding to make them strong!

Want to see the sculptures for yourself?  Book a stay near Parksville and you can do just that!

Check out our accommodation options – then call us on 1.877.778.6466 or email to book your perfect visit to Vancouver Island.


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto


Cycling on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is a popular destination for cyclists to explore by bike, and with good reason! With a huge variety of trails long & short, through terrain as varied as mountain trails, sea-side rides, or gentle slow-cycle routes there is truly a path for everyone!


The Parksville-Qualicum Beach Links is a 13-kilometer low-traffic road route that connects the City and Town via French Creek. It’s an accessible route and you can’t miss the road signs!

Or if you want a quick ride in Parksville, you can have a 3.56km Bike Ride to Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park. For more routes, there is a variation of it here: 


To enjoy the vineyards by bike just follow the Wine Route markers in the Cowichan Valley. Country roads meander through the valley and past several Vineyards and Cideries, always popular way stations! Please click on the map for more detailed information.




Are you interested in visiting Vancouver Island? Please visit our site to see our great selection of cottages at Tanglewood Beach Homes and Qualicum Landing or call us at 1.877.778.6466.


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

killer whale

Whale Watching on Vancouver Island


One of the most exciting Vancouver Island activities is whale watching. Whale watching season is very popular and tourists come from far and wide to see these magnificent creatures up close. The most common whales we can see around Vancouver Island are Orca (Killer) whales, Humpback Whales and Pacific Gray Whales. 

humpback whale

Orca (killer) whales              

The Orca (killer) whale is a toothed whale belonging to the oceanic dolphin family, of which it is the largest member. They have no natural predators and there are approximately 300 northern and southern residents and 225 transients in B.C./Washington waters. Researchers from around the world have been coming to Vancouver Island to study the Orca (Killer) whales for few decades and Orca whales in this region have become the best studied whales in the world. These whales are quite used to boats and will often let the whale watching boats come in for a closer look.

Humpback Whales               

The largest whales around Vancouver Island, the Humpback whales vary between 12-16 meters (39-52 ft). Humpback whales are equipped with a baleen which resembles thick strands of long hair which acts as a strainer to filter out plankton, krill, herring and other small fish. Humpback whales spend the summer months feeding as far north as Alaska, however there is always a good population around Vancouver Island.

Gray Whales

About 200 (resident) Gray Whales will stay and feed along the coast of Vancouver Island. The common name of the whale comes from the gray patches and white mottling on its dark skin.

The Best Timing…

The best viewing time is from May to October. Gray Whales migrate north along the west coast of Vancouver Island during March and April. You can view the whales by boat, or from mounted telescopes in the Long Beach area.

Where to spot them…

Orcas can often be spotted around the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. Humpback whales and Minke whales may also be seen as in this area, as well as porpoises. During the summer months the local “pods” are in the area most days so if you happen to be in the right location you may see a fantastic show. 


Interested in Vancouver Island? Check out our selection of cottages at Tanglewood Beach Homes and Qualicum Landing –  AND have the perfect stay on Vancouver Island!

killer whale

Here are some local whale watching companies close to us!

Ocean Ecoventures

Sidney Whale Watching

Vancouver Island Whale Watch


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto

Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island MusicFest 2019

July 12-14

On Vancouver Island, there are lots of fun events. One of the most exciting summer events is the Vancouver MusicFest, which has been bringing great music to the Island for 25 years. It is produced by the Comox Valley Folk Society, is not-for-profit, and is a largely volunteer driven event. They offer over 200 musical performers on 6 fully programmed stages as well as instructional workshops, yoga sessions, an interactive kidzzone, art displays, a beer and cider tent, top-notch food and craft vendors, on-site camping and a magical riverside venue at the Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds.

As the venue is situated on a pastoral acreage bordering the forested banks of the Tsolum River, camping here will be a great experience for festival goers and gentle jammers. For more information about camping, please check the link




One of the magical components of Vancouver Island Music Fest is their spectacular site and the distinct settings for performance areas. Each stage has its own personality and as you move from stage to stage, you feel as though you have entered a new venue. The stages are The Concert Bowl Stage, The Grierson Stage, The Grassy Knoll, The Woodland Stage, The Barn, and The Crossroads. 


Friendly to Every Person

To welcome a diverse audience, the Vancouver Island MusicFest family has initiated an important festival and community building project. There are newly made wheelchair access routes to shaded areas and audience members with accessibility challenges who require a care attendant on site are invited to take part in a new “Access Program”. Care attendants (1 per person) will be admitted free of charge at the main festival gate the weekend of the festival. 

Children can also have fun at Vancouver MusicFest. At kizzone, there are supervised craft activities all weekend long, stilt walking, costumes, sprinklers, music, art projects, juggling, story telling, face painting and a kids parade. Interactive workshops are open to kids and their caregivers. Schedules for workshops and performances are detailed in the event program. The Kidzzone runs 10:00 am until 6:00 pm Saturday and Sunday. 


Living Green


To lessen the significant environmental impact, Vancouver MusicFest has been developing programs such as Fair trade, composting, recycling, total plastic free policies, using bio-degradable alternatives and interactive eco-education activities.

In 2009 Outside Magazine recognized Vancouver Island MusicFest as one of the Top 25 outdoor festivals in North America with a special mention of our Living Green Programs. In partnership with organizations including World Community, Tsolum River Restoration Society, BC Creek Protection Society, Comox Valley Regional District, CUPE, Comox Valley Project Watershed, Living Oceans Society and others, Vancouver Island MusicFest is forging partnerships that will help to ensure a sustainable festival in years to come.


Interested in Vancouver Island MusicFest? Why not extend your trip and stay in one of our Vacation Rental Homes?  Contact our Reservation Team at 1-877-778-6466 or email to find out more.


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto


Note: Images used in this blog post are from the Vancouver Island MusicFest website.


fruit picking okanagan

The Okanagan:

Blossoms, Harvest Dates & Fruit Picking


Blossom & Harvest Date in Kelowna

Kelowna is at its most beautiful during blossom season. The fragrance of the blossoms fill the air, and their soft colours brighten not just the view, but moods too! Visitors come from near and far to catch sight of this natural masterpiece! 

 Let’s check Okanagan Fruit blossom dates:

  • Cherries: Mid-April to Early-May
  • Peaches: Mid-April to Early-May
  • Prunes/Plums: Late-April to Mid-May
  • Apricots: Early-April to Late-April
  • Pears: Late-April to Mid-May
  • Apples: Early-May to Late-May

If you want the best fruit, try to visit during their harvest season!

Let’s check Okanagan Fruit harvest dates:

  • Cherries: Early-July to Early-August
  • Peaches: Late-July to Early-September
  • Prunes/Plums: Mid-August to Mid-September
  • Apricots: Mid-July to Mid-August
  • Pears: Mid-August to Late-September
  • Apples: Mid-August to Late-October

*These charts are approximate dates.

Picking Fruit near Kelowna

The fruit-picking season typically begins at the end of June/beginning of July, with cherries being the first fruit available to pick. The season is finished by the end of October, with apples being the last fruit available. 

U-Pick is the freshest farm-to-table activity that allows visitors to harvest their own produce to enjoy on a picnic, to eat at your vacation rental, or take home with you. The following U-Pick farms are those close to our cottages.

In this orchard, apples are available throughout the year; apricots, cherries, nectarines and peaches are on July to August; pears are on July to August; plums are on August to September; berries depend on the type, and crop.

  • Gambell Farms: call (250) 766-4036 

A Variety of seasonal fruit and vegetables are available for U-pick on this farm.

  • Duggan Farms: call (250) 766-2628 

They have Asparagus, Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Peaches, Nectarines, Garlic, Corn, Tomatoes, and Herbs for U-Pick.

fruit picking orchard


Planning to visit Kelowna to experience its wonderful fruit paradise? Check out our selection of beautiful cottages and make the most of your trip to the Okanagan!  


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto


Running Events on Vancouver Island


If you want to stay active when you are on Vancouver Island, there are tons of run and walk events you can participate in! 





   Run Type                                



Investors Group Walk For Alzheimer’s

1k, 3k

Charity Walk


Victoria, Nanaimo, Cowichan Valley, Courtenay, Port Alberland, BC


The Cumby

13k, 25k


Cumberland, BC


Oceanside Mother’s Day Run

5k, 10k

Road and Trail

Parksville, BC


Westwood Lake Triathlon



Nanaimo, BC


Cedar Ultra

Unlimited, 10k

Trail, Relay

Cedar, BC


Vancouver Island Trial Running Series-Nanaimo

10k, 17k


Nanaimo, BC


5k Foam Fest



Nanoose Bay, BC


Vancouver Island Trail Running Series-Transfer Beach

9k, 19k


Ladysmith, BC


Vancouver Island Trail Running Series-Mt Tzouhalem

7k, 13k


Duncan, BC


Santa Shuffle


Road Race

Victoria & Nanaimo, BC


These runs have their own mottos, and their courses vary from charity to competitive dynamic races; there are even obstacle course races! If you’re not afraid to get a bit messy you should definitely check out the “5k Foam Fest”, which will be held on June 8th, 2019. This race includes a line up of 22 obstacles per course, with wild themes ranging from the Chamber of Foam to the Spider Web Forest. For more information, please visit the Run Vancouver Island Website.


Interested in visiting Vancouver Island?  Check out our Tanglewood Beach Homes & Qualicum Landing Vacation Rentals – and you might just find the perfect place for your next vacation! Contact our reservations team by emailing or call 1-877-778-6466 – we look forward to speaking with you.


Written by Natsumi Matsumoto


Introducing Mayne Island…

Mayne Island is in the middle of five large Gulf Islands. The Gulf Islands lie in the rain-shadow of the mountains of Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula resulting in dry summers and mild winters. The climate, nice parks, beautiful beach accesse