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April Events
Apr06

April Events in the Qualicum and Parksville Areas (2020)

 

April ushers in the start of springtime festivities on Vancouver Island. The Qualicum and Parksville areas, where you can stay in one of Breakaway Vacations’ wonderful rental homes, have plenty going on. There is also much to do in the surrounding areas. Thanks to the smallness of the Island, it’s easy to take a day trip to Nanaimo or Victoria to see a show.

Here are a few things you can do in April!

 

QUALICUM AND PARKSVILLE AREAS

Side-by-side, these neighbourhoods are ripe with local activity. There are plenty of communities that touch borders with these areas, making it easy to attend festivities in many different towns during your stay.

 

Elegant Threads and More Show & Sale at Qualicum Commons

April 3-4, 2020, starts at 10:00 AM

The Qualicum Weavers and Spinners present Elegant Threads and More as a part of the weekend-long Brant Wildlife Festival. Shows, studio work, items for purchase, and more.

 

30th Pacific Brant Carving, Woodworking & Art Show at Parksville Community Centre

April 3-4, 2020, start times varies

The 30th Annual Carving and Woodworking show has demonstrations, exhibitions, art for sale, professional photography, seminars, auctions, and a youth painting workshop.

 

North Island Wildlife Recovery (NIWRA) Centre Eagle Release

April 4, 2020, starts at 11:00 AM

NIWRA helps protect and rehabilitate owls,

eagles, falcons, bears, and more – and you can be a part of it. During this event, a rescued eagle will be released back into the wild (~2:00 PM).

 

CHRCO Flea Market & Pancake Breakfast at the Coombs Rodeo Grounds, Qualicum

April 5, 2020, starts at 9:00 AM

Browse the local flea market to pick up some souvenirs or just check out what’s available. They also offer pancake breakfast for a small price, $6 for small and $8 for large.

 

Nell & Jim Band at Joyce Beaton House Concert, Qualicum Beach

April 20, 2020, at 7:30 PM

Nell & Jim Band is making a few different stops around the Island and Qualicum Beach is one of them! They claim influence from folk, bluegrass, Americana, roots, swing, jazz, and blues music.

 

BONUS: What’s Nearby?

Qualicum Beach is a short 45-minute drive from Nanaimo (Parksville is slightly shorter), which is where you can expect to find many larger events. Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, is just over a 2-and-a-quarter-hour drive from the Qualicum Beach area. The drive is easy and beautiful and you can totally plan a day trip around it.

 

If you don’t mind going for a bit further, there are a few cool events hosted in these nearby hotspots:

 

Vancouver Island Symphony at The Port Theatre, Nanaimo

April 25, 2020, at 7:30 PM

Enjoy their show Symphony Rhapsody, which will feature audience-favourite works by Gershwin and Dvorak as well as two tuneful, jazz-infused brand new pieces.

 

Russell Brand @ University Centre Farquhar Auditorium, Victoria

April 5, 2020, at multiple showtimes

Looking for some edgy comedy to spice up your stay? Actor, comedian, and podcast host Russell Brand’s Recovery Live show might be just what you need.

 

Music, arts, community, and culture. You’ll find everything during your stay on Vancouver Island this spring. What event are you looking forward to?

Coffee Shops
Mar30

The Best Coffee Shops for Island Vacationers

 

Mayne Island, Qualicum Beach, Pender Island, Parksville—Breakaway Vacations can help you find the perfect rental home for your Vancouver Island or Gulf Islands trip. There’s lots to see and do while you’re in the area, not least of which is to enjoy a steaming cup of joe at one of the many local cafes.

You can find a great coffee shop no matter where you find yourself on the Islands. Here are a few that stand out:

 

MAYNE ISLAND

  • Sunny Mayne Bakery CafeSunny Mayne Bakery Café and the Miner’s Bay Ice Cream Emporium are locally and family-owned businesses based on gorgeous Mayne Island. While here, you’ll have fresh baked goods, homemade lunches, ice cream, custom cakes, take-out pizza, and more.
  • Shavasana Art Gallery & CafeSip some coffee or tea and wander through a local art exhibit—the two go hand-in-hand at Shavasana Art Gallery & Cafe. They have beautiful art and a down-to-Earth atmosphere. They serve 23 kinds of tea and a daily coffee. Note: They are only open May-through-September.

 

PENDER ISLAND

  • Slow Coast Coffee on Pender IslandWatch the ferries come-and-go with the beautiful ocean view at Slow Coffee. The cafe’s everyday menu items include crepes, dosas, and quesadillas, as well as daily specials on weekdays. You can even sit on the balcony, weather permitting.
  • Coffee + KitchenBe sure to call ahead for a reservation or arrive early if you want to check out Coffee + Kitchen; they fill up fast! They offer farm-to-table handcrafted food focusing on local ingredients and in the summer they even grow their own herbs and greens. Enjoy a coffee, tea, lattes, and more hot drinks as well as a made-fresh-daily lemonade.

 

QUALICUM BEACH

  • Courtyard Cafe This cafe and crêperie boasts a welcoming and warm environment and a menu full of options, from crêpes, eggs, muffins, salads, cappuccinos, and more. The crêpes are easily the stand-out item and you can request them gluten-free and/or vegan. They serve both sweet and savory crêpes.
  • Oh So Yummy CafeDon’t let their minimalistic web presence fool you, the Oh So Yummy Cafe is not to be slept on! They sell homemade jams, homemade hot sauce, all-day breakfast, and more. They are truly the best-kept secret in Qualicum Beach so be sure to stop by.

 

PARKSVILLE

  • Farmhouse Cafe and BakeryThis cafe and bakery has a modest selection of hot beverages but a great number of baked goods and snacky food items. The house blend coffee and flavoured tea offerings come with free refills so you can linger and relax. They bake farm-fresh bread so don’t forget to grab a loaf on your way out.
  • Rawthentic Ready for a unique “cafe” experience? Trade the regular old black coffee for an antioxidant smoothie, mint matcha latte, kombucha, or a wheatgrass shot. They serve raw food from an uber-healthy menu and are definitely one-of-a-kind on the Island. They have a kids’ smoothie menu, as well, so the whole family will be happy.

 

Quiet island life just isn’t the same without a steaming cup of coffee to sip while you enjoy the ocean view and slow beats of small-town life. We hope you have time to explore some of these great cafes during your stay.

Hiking Trails
Mar23

5 Great Hiking Trails on Pender Island

Pender Island is one of the Southern Gulf Islands. The island is approximately 34 km2, has a sub-Mediterranean climate, and is covered in farmland, forested hills, lakes, small mountains, coves, and beaches. Hiking the various trails of the Island will show off this wondrous variety of scenery.

Here are a few of the hiking trails you can check out while on the Island:

  1. Grover Sargent Memorial Cairn Trail

Clam Bay Road, North Pender Island

This hike is approximately 90 meters and is rated an easy trek. The trail is a memorial for Pilot Officer Grover Stewart Sargent of the Canadian Air Force, who died at age 21 when his Hawker Hurricane MK XII crashed during a test flight. The walk is mostly boardwalks over different shapes of wetland.

  1. Magic Lake Swimming Hole Park

Pirates Road, North Pender

This is an easy area to walk and explore and it contains amenities like an outhouse and a dock and swimming float in the nearby lake. There’s plenty of space to take a brisk walk or hike but there is also much space for lounging in the sun or swimming. You can also see the dam that retains the water in Magic Lake.

  1. Mount Menzies Park

Hooson Road, North Pender Island

This hike is a more challenging one with a 2 KM distance and an 80-metre climb. It has a looping trail with a bench that marks the end of the Pender Islands Parks and Recreation Commission land – moving onto unmarked trails here means trespassing on private property to you will want to stick to the path. The path is, at times, steep and slippers but you’ll be able to see dense forest canopy and expansive wetlands.

  1. George Hill

Ogden Road or Upper Terrace Road, North Pender Island

Another challenging hike, George Hills is about 2 KM each way with a 130-metre climb. The trail is long and quite steep in places but at the top, you’ll get an absolutely unbeatable 180-degree view where you can look out across Galiano, Mayne, and Salt Spring Islands, and on a clear day, the Olympic Range is also visible.

  1. Mount Elizabeth Park

Clam Bay Road, North Pender Island

This is a moderate-level hike that is a total 0.64 KM start to finish if you use the trail loop. You can borrow a nature guide at the beginning of the trail, which will help you identify the local flora and fauna you’re seeing in this forest of Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar. (Please return the guide on your way out.)

 

We hope you enjoy this list of some of the best hiking trails on Pender Island. Check out our Pender Island rentals and let us know what trail you want to try first!

Date Night
Mar16

Date Night on Pender Island & Area!

Date night on Pender Island? This is the ultimate romantic getaway spot thanks in part to its isolated nature and serene landscape views. Pender Island has a few amenities but you can also take a ferry, water taxi, or private boat to the neighbouring islands for a quick day trip.

Here are a few romantic restaurants and eateries in the Pender Island area:

Slow Coast Coffee (Pender Island)

Slightly peckish? We recommend Slow Coast Coffee, where you’ll be treated to all sorts of handmade goods from Thai carrot coconut soup to pasture-raised ham quiche as well as cookies, loaves, and other sweet desserts. Try the patio if the weather is warm enough and it’s open; you’ll be gifted with a fabulous view!

Jo’s Place for Breakfast or Brunch (Pender Island)

Open until 2:00 PM, Jo’s Place is a perfect spot for a hip, romantic brunch or early lunch. They have drink specials daily, though our favourite is their Double Baileys and Coffee. They have a great mix of pub food, delicious sweet breakfast items, vegetarian options, and a gluten-free selection.

Penderosa Pizza (Pender Island)

You’ll find more than just pizza at this cozy diner; they also have pasta, salads, and more. Penderosa Pizza serves handmade dough and house-made sauces. You can dine in or order for pick-up or delivery. The food is delicious, there’s tons of variety (particularly with the pizza toppings), and the prices are more than fair.

Rocks Salt Restaurant and Cafe (Salt Spring Island)

Rocks Salt Restaurant and Cafe is located right by the ferry, meaning you get a stunning ocean view and can watch the ships coming and going. They have a healthy list of red and white wines, cocktails, cider, scotch and rye, and domestic and imported beers. We recommend the Rock Salt Kung Pao.

Bennett Bay Bistro (Mayne Island)

Open daily at 11:30 AM, the Bennett Bay Bistro features Ocean Wise seafood, made-to-order international dishes created with fresh ingredients, and a wide selection of wines and local beers. They have plenty of starter dishes for couples to share, like the Baked Brie & Honey Figs or the Crab & Cod Cakes.

Babes in the Woods Eatery (Galiano Island)

Galiano’s Chef Lisa started her Babes in the Woods Eatery in 2014 and the rest is history. The menu has a little bit of everything: homemade soup, tacos, salmon, burgers, BBQ chicken, pizza, and a host of wines, beers, and cocktails. Share a romantic dessert, like their delicious Maple Walnut Cheesecake.

 

Need some help getting between Islands? Try: Boat travel, boat rental, and water taxis or check out the Ferry Terminals and Routes. And don’t forget that our Pender Island vacation rentals each include a full kitchen so you can always cook a romantic meal together without leaving the house.

Saint Patrick's Day
Mar09

Where to Celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in Qualicum Beach

Looking to vacation on Vancouver Island? Want to travel BC or enjoy a staycation near the coast? Qualicum Beach or Parksville could be the perfect location for you. With Saint Patrick’s Day around the corner, why not start planning a fun getaway?

Saint Patrick’s Day has long held a reputation for being an excuse to drink and party. Across the Strait of Georgia, you’ll find people doing just that in the heart of downtown Vancouver and neighbouring municipalities. But Vancouver Island moves at a different pace and we think you’ll appreciate doing things our way.

We welcome you to enjoy St. Paddy’s Day our way!

  1. Catch Some Live Music

Better yet, make it live Celtic music or other Irish-inspired tunes. There’s always a musical show or two going on but Vancouver Island has a small claim to fame in the Celtic music circle. Celtic Chaos—a traditional Celtic band that includes fiddle, Irish wooden flute, a pennywhistle, and more—calls Qualicum Beach and Nanaimo their home. You can also look out for other performers, for example, Will Millar (ex-frontman of The Irish Rovers) has been known to play shows on the Island (he did in 2019)!

  1. Make Your Own Green Beer

Breakaway Vacation rentals each have a full-sized kitchen for you to enjoy—so why not use it? Stay in and make your own festive green beer. There are several ways to do this so you can pick the one you like best. Using a light-coloured brew will yield the best results. You can use green food colouring, 4-6 drops should do. There are other ways to achieve a similar effect, like using a green beerzicle in a clear glass bottle or, if you’re brave, try making it using matcha powder!

  1. Watch The Irishman (or another Irish-themed movie)

Been meaning to watch the much-buzzed-about Martin Scorsese movie, The Irishman? Why not dive in on the day meant for celebrating Irish culture? Okay, okay, The Irishman isn’t exactly the pinnacle “Irish movie” (it was filmed in the New York area) but it’s definitely a title on everybody’s lips these days since it’s Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations. Looking for something more traditionally Irish? Try The Hole in the Ground by Lee Cronin or Float Like a Butterfly by Carmel Winters.

  1. Grab a Beer at LoveShack Libations

Open Wednesdays, Saturdays, and by appointment, LoveShack Libations is a must-visit venue for beer drinkers near and far. This microbrewery and pub is a local treasure and the owners have a genuine love of all things beer. They have served Irish beer in the past, like their Who’s Your Paddy Irish red ale, but you should always call ahead to see what they have going on before you set out. Green beer or no green beer, this charming little pub is a must-see on St. Paddy’s Day and beyond.

What are your favourite things to do for St. Paddy’s Day?

Rainy Day Activities
Mar02

7 Creative Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day on Pender Island

We certainly hope your stay at Breakaway Vacations’ Pender Island rental properties is nothing but sunny the entire time you visit. But that’s not always the case, and a rainy day can be inevitable. Never fear! There is still plenty to do when the clouds cover the sky and the sunlight winks away.

Here are 7 creative ideas for indoor activities:

  1. Play a Card Game – with a Twist

Cards are easy to find in stores and fit in a suitcase, pocket, or purse without taking up too much extra room. You should always pack a deck of cards as an emergency to-do item for any vacation. There are plenty of easy card games for kids if you are traveling as a family. For a fun twist, let the winner choose what they want for dinner as their “prize.”

  1. Pack a Paint-by-Numbers

This is the perfect arts-and-crafts item to bring on vacation because they come with all supplies included (you might have to pack a few extra paint brushes) and are relatively easy to pack thanks to their flat, rectangular design. Choose a painting subject relevant to your trip to make it more fun: ocean scenery or a common wild bird.

  1. Easy Baking Recipes

Look up some easy 3- or 4-ingredient sweets that you can buy for and prepare with relatively little cost and effort. Bonus points if you pick something that can be decorated with icing, sprinkles, and candy afterward—this will give everyone more to occupy themselves with if the weather stays bleak.

  1. Movie Marathon Night

Pack a few DVDs or BluRays just in case. Or, throw a handful of favorite films on a flash drive (even better if you are looking to save space while packing). Bring a few movies that fit a theme, like an animated trilogy or “movies about dogs” and make the night a themed event. If possible, buy snacks that fit your theme!

  1. Read a Book Aloud (or Listen to an Audiobook Together)

Pack something fun and easy to read, like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, depending on the age and preferences of everyone there. You can take turns reading chapters aloud or have different family members read the dialogue for the different characters to make a “mock play” together.

  1. Answer Questions from a Conversation Card Pack

You can find a list of conversation-starting questions online and download it so that you don’t have to pack anything, though having a deck of cards can be more fun for kids. Conversation starter cards are just a way to sit down and learn about one another. Most people like talking about themselves but this is a good exercise in listening, too!

  1. Meditate to the Sound of Fresh Rain

Granted, this one probably only works if you aren’t traveling with children or they have already gone to bed for the night. Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to sit still and breathe. Meditation tracks are nice and all but it’s a whole new experience when listening to the fresh rain of Pender Island.

 

A rainy day doesn’t have to be the only reason to go for a night in. Vacationing is about relaxation and sometimes you just need to stay in, kick back, and relax. We hope this list of ideas helps you do just that.

Strathcona
Feb28

10 Best Hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park

Strathcona Provincial Park is one of British Columbia’s hidden gems – a vast wilderness in the heart of Vancouver Island, teeming with unusual wildlife and impressive mountain landscapes. This 250,000-hectare park is a hiker’s paradise, with plenty of beautiful trails over magnificent terrain, passing by wildflower meadows, craggy ridges, and serene lakes.

The hiking trails in Strathcona Provincial Park are concentrated around Buttle Lake and the Forbidden Plateau, and here you’ll find dozens of bucket list hikes. Outside these areas, the wilderness of the park beckons, making it the perfect destination for adventurous hikers. Strathcona Provincial Park is one of the best places to go get lost on Vancouver Island, and we’d highly recommend it as a hiking destination!

To give you a little inspiration, we’ve put together a list of the top ten best hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park. These epic trails are just waiting to be explored, so grab your hiking boots and get out on the trails today!

Flower Ridge Trail

This iconic Strathcona hike certainly lives up to its name, passing along a high ridge littered with delicate alpine flowers. The trail rises steeply before emerging out onto the ridge, where you’ll enjoy a fabulous panorama of Mounts Septimus and Rousseau, Cream Lake, and the picturesque Nine Peaks. In the right season you’ll find some glorious flora alongside the trail, including bright pink mountain heather. This is one of the best hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park, and will leave you with wonderful memories.

Mount Albert Edward

Perched at the edge of the Forbidden Plateau, Mount Albert Edward’s distinctive peak dominates the Mount Washington Ski Resort. This is a popular area of the park for both skiing and hiking, and this hike is one of the most satisfying and impressive routes in the region. The trail passes through dense, atmospheric forests, past the beautiful Whiskey Meadows, and finally emerges, after a steep climb, at the summit of Mount Albert Edward. The views here are incomparable, and a welcome reward after the efforts of the hike!

Lady Falls

Strathcona Provincial Park is known for its lovely waterfalls, and this route to Lady Falls showcases one of the finest. The falls lie deep in the enigmatic forests of the Cervus Creek Valley, and the trail to the viewing platform is simply magical. The cliff walls surrounding the falls are covered in fragrant moss, and the mists that rise from the waters sometimes create beautiful rainbows. This is one of the best family-friendly hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Bedwell Lake Hike

The hike up to Bedwell Lake will take you along one of the most accessible trails in Strathcona Provincial Park, with plenty of bridges, staircases and boardwalks to help you to navigate the park’s terrain. The views from the trail are simply spectacular, with a vista that includes Big Interior Mountain and its enormous glacier. Baby Bedwell, the small lagoon at the start of the lake, is an excellent spot for swimming, and you may well feel like a dip after the steep climb!

Elk River Trail

The Elk River trail traces the path of the river all the way to Landslide Lake, and is one of the most popular treks in Strathcona Provincial Park. The route passes through a beautiful landscape filled with tall trees, all the way up to Landslide Lake. The views from the top are incredible, with a fantastic view of Mount Colonel Forster and the southern side of Elkhorn Mountain.

Mount Becher

Looking for a fun half-day hike in Strathcona Provincial Park? The hike up Mount Becher offers incredible views over to the Comox Glacier and Mount Albert Edward, from the top of the easternmost peak in the park. The trail rises gently, passing tranquil ponds and meadows filled with flowers, until you ascend above the tree line to enjoy a fabulous panorama over the nearby mountains. This is one of the best hikes in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Mount Myra

One of the classic Vancouver Island hikes, Mount Myra is one of the most famous hiking peaks in Strathcona Provincial Park. Passing by tranquil lakes, flower-strewn alpine meadows and rocky gullies, this trail is deservedly popular among local residents of Vancouver Island, and makes for a very satisfying day out. The views from the summit of Mount Myra are spectacular, taking in the Golden Hinde, Mount Tom Taylor, and several impressive glaciers.

Mount Helen MacKenzie

This short hike out to Lake Helen MacKenzie is an excellent family-friendly trail in Strathcona Provincial Park. The trail is well maintained, passing along boardwalks and gravel walkways, through atmospheric old growth forest. The beautiful lake offers many wonderful photo opportunities, with the tranquil waters reflecting the snow-capped peaks that surround it.

Upper Myra Falls

The Upper Myra Falls tumble 23 meters down a lush cavern into a deep blue basin, making this one of the most magical sights in Strathcona Provincial Park. This easy, family-friendly route switchbacks through a gentle hillside, passing by old growth forest and mossy underbrush. Come in spring when then falls are at their finest, and admire the spectacular sight from the specially made viewing platform.

Augerpoint Beach

Augerpoint Beach sits on the bank of the magnificent Buttle Lake, at the point where the Phillips Creeks meets the water. The views over the lake itself are truly magnificent, with the towering peak of Mount Myra looming large over the beach. This is a great place for a family walk and a swim, and in summer there are plenty of watersports and activities available on the lake. This is one of the best easy hikes in Strathcona, and a wonderful way to enjoy the park’s wonderful scenery.

-By guest writer Lukas Saville

If you are planning a hiking trip to Vancouver Island be sure to check out our fully equipped rental properties! Book online, or contact us to reserve!

Winter Sports
Feb27

3 Places for Winter Sports on Vancouver Island

Mountain landscapes are idyllic in the wintertime—glittering, powdery snow lining elegant slopes; rays of bright sunshine peeking through the clouds; sentinel-like fir trees topped in fluffy white caps. The perfect way to take all of this in is skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing across kilometers of fresh, fantastic trails.

Is there skiing and snowboarding on Vancouver Island? You bet! Sure, there is more variety on the mainland but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out the local haunts on the Island. Luckily, our vacation properties in Qualicum Beach and Parksville are a few hours’ drive from some of the best winter sports hubs on the Island.

  1. Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is the only ski hill on Vancouver Island with maintained trails, hence it’s rabid popularity. The resort is open for outdoor activity year-round but wintertime is obviously the hit season. As soon as snowfall lands, guests will be privy to 1,700 acres and 505 vertical metres of alpine terrain, 55kms of cross-country skiing and 25kms of snowshoeing trails along with a dedicated Nordic lodge, Tube Park, and Fat Bike trails.

  1. Mount Cain

Mount Cain is Vancouver Island’s only 100% Canadian owned and operated ski resort, which makes it stand out for that reason alone. Mount Cain opens in early December (snow permitting) and closes early April, conditions permitting with an average snowfall of 1500cm/30f annually. They offer both groomed and ungroomed territory with varying levels of difficulty. Mt. Cain is located near Schoen Lake provincial park and is run by the Mt. Cain Alpine Park Society.

  1. JumpCamp

JumpCamp is a registered non-profit organization with youth programs and opportunities and partnerships with other like-minded companies who support community initiatives. JumpCamp is a snowboard camp with a mix of natural terrain and man-made terrain park, along with various sizes and shapes of jumps and rails. The camp is located one hour north of Nanaimo on the Island Highway 19.

Skiing Safety and Tips:

  • Build your endurance with light cardio before you hit the hill
  • Go slow at first and keep your knees bent
  • Make sure you have proper equipment, rental or owned
  • Take a lesson, even just for a day, if this is your first time on a hill
  • Dress in layers so that you can accommodate changing temperatures
  • Wear sun protection, reflection off the snow can cause tanning and burns
  • Use eye protection always
  • Dress in water and wind-resistant material

What are you waiting for? Let’s hit the hills!

Don’t hesitate to check out the many winter sports opportunities during your stay on Vancouver Island. Canadian winters may be chilly but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a ton of fun. Check out our rental properties and start planning your winter getaway today!

 

 

Winter Sports
Feb17

3 Places for Winter Sports on Vancouver Island

Mountain landscapes are idyllic in the wintertime—glittering, powdery snow lining elegant slopes; rays of bright sunshine peeking through the clouds; sentinel-like fir trees topped in fluffy white caps. The perfect way to take all of this in is skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoeing across kilometers of fresh, fantastic trails.

Is there skiing and snowboarding on Vancouver Island? You bet! Sure, there is more variety on the mainland but that shouldn’t stop you from checking out the local haunts on the Island. Luckily, our vacation properties in Qualicum Beach and Parksville are a few hours’ drive from some of the best winter sports hubs on the Island.

  1. Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Mount Washington Alpine Resort is the only ski hill on Vancouver Island with maintained trails, hence it’s rabid popularity. The resort is open for outdoor activity year-round but wintertime is obviously the hit season. As soon as snowfall lands, guests will be privy to 1,700 acres and 505 vertical metres of alpine terrain, 55kms of cross-country skiing and 25kms of snowshoeing trails along with a dedicated Nordic lodge, Tube Park, and Fat Bike trails.

  1. Mount Cain

Mount Cain is Vancouver Island’s only 100% Canadian owned and operated ski resort, which makes it stand out for that reason alone. Mount Cain opens in early December (snow permitting) and closes early April, conditions permitting with an average snowfall of 1500cm/30f annually. They offer both groomed and ungroomed territory with varying levels of difficulty. Mt. Cain is located near Schoen Lake provincial park and is run by the Mt. Cain Alpine Park Society.

  1. JumpCamp

JumpCamp is a registered non-profit organization with youth programs and opportunities and partnerships with other like-minded companies who support community initiatives. JumpCamp is a snowboard camp with a mix of natural terrain and man-made terrain park, along with various sizes and shapes of jumps and rails. The camp is located one hour north of Nanaimo on the Island Highway 19.

Skiing Safety and Tips:

  • Build your endurance with light cardio before you hit the hill
  • Go slow at first and keep your knees bent
  • Make sure you have proper equipment, rental or owned
  • Take a lesson, even just for a day, if this is your first time on a hill
  • Dress in layers so that you can accommodate changing temperatures
  • Wear sun protection, reflection off the snow can cause tanning and burns
  • Use eye protection always
  • Dress in water and wind-resistant material

What are you waiting for? Let’s hit the hills!

Don’t hesitate to check out the many winter sports opportunities during your stay on Vancouver Island. Canadian winters may be chilly but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a ton of fun. Check out our rental properties and start planning your winter getaway today!

 

 

Family Day
Feb10

Family Day Activities Near Parksville & Qualicum Beach

You’ll be thrilled to know that there is much to do if you are spending Family Day in a cozy Breakaway Vacations rental. The Qualicum Beach area is tranquil and unbusy, so you won’t have to fight the noise or crowds. Here are a few activities you can count on in the Parksville Qualicum Beach this Family Day long weekend:

  1. Tour the Old School House

This Classical Revival style home was built in 1914 and was designed by Allan Waters for the British Columbia Department of Public Works. The Old School House (TOSH) was officially re-opened in 1988 as an arts centre after considerable community-based fundraising and restoration work. Now, visitors can walk through the property to get a taste of history, arts, and community.

  1. Catch a Show at ECHO Players Village Theatre

This charming little theatre was originally built as a movie house but now exclusively hosts live plays and shows. The theatre has been an entertainment venue within the community for over 60 years. This February, you can catch The Secret Garden playing – a perfect show for kids and adults alike. You can buy tickets on their website or just browse what they have to offer (sometimes they have educational workshops, too).

  1. Visit the Milner Gardens for Tea

The Milner Gardens welcomes guests to browse the tea room, plant sales, and gift shop for a small admission fee (children 12 and under are free). You can take part in a guided tour as a group to learn about the property and its history. Stop by The Camellia Tea Room for a cheap drink and dessert. They accept walk-ins but reservations are required for their Full Afternoon High Tea and large groups.

  1. Take a Hike or Walk on a Park Trail

There are many trails to choose from in the area, which boasts over 280 hectares of Town-owned parks and greenspace and 14 kilometres of maintained trails. You can wander Qualicum Beach Heritage Forest, Park Ridge – Laburnum Connector, Qualicum Beach Community Park, and Grandon Creek, to name a few. Walking with young ones? Make it fun by putting together a scavenger hunt of natural items.

  1. See the Sights at Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park

A bit adventure sightseeing, a bit educational experience – Horne Lake Caves offer year-round guided cave tours where you’ll see breathtaking rock formations and twisting stone passageways. They have different levels of difficulty for different age groups so you can tailor the experience to your family. You can spend anywhere from 45 minutes to multiple hours on the tour, depending on the level you pick.

Feel like staying in instead? Try these!

  • Have a movie night on the large flat-screen TV
  • Play pool at the resort Club House
  • Do some baking in one of our full kitchens
  • Take turns reading books aloud by the stone fireplace
  • Play a board game, cards, or charades

Not sure where to start planning your vacation in at Qualicum Beach? Stop by their Visitor Centre for more recommendations and expert advice.