Posts Tagged ‘BC Travel’

Culture Days in BC Canada Offer Something to See…and Do for Everyone

Saturday, September 1st, 2012
Culture Days Dance in British Columbia Canada

Culture Days logo BC showcases its arts in a series of events happening across all regions of this providence of Canada during the annual Culture Days.

Canada’s 2012 Culture Days is a national arts event that runs from September 28-30 and will celebrate its third year as an annual event. Culture Days events are free and presented by volunteers whose aim is to make Canadian arts available to all with a wide array of hands-on, interactive arts activities, including:

  • Architecture
  • Comedy
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dance
  • Design
  • Film or Video
  • Heritage
  • Literature & Spoken Word
  • Multi/Interdisciplinary
  • Music
  • New/Digital Media
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts
  • and More

Each region within the province of British Columbia offers many events to enjoy during your visit to western Canada.

VIEW EVENT HIGHLIGHTS & LODGING BY REGION

Kootenay / Rockies / Alberta | Northern British Columbia | Thompson Okanagan | Vancouver Coast and Mountains | Victoria/Vancouver Island |

Culture Days is expecting high attendance, so reserving your accommodations now is recommended. Pair your arts experience with the individualized lodging offered by the best bed and breakfast inns in BC. (more…)

The bigger word in “Bed & Breakfast”

Monday, May 16th, 2011

A large part of the attraction of staying at a British Columbia Bed & Breakfast concerns the bigger word in “Bed & Breakfast”, our breakfasts of course!  The BC Innkeepers Guild definition of what is a Bed & Breakfast includes the requirement that breakfast must be provided and included in the room rate.

So, what about breakfast?  As many different B&Bs as there are in our Guild, probably as many different kinds of breakfasts are provided.  Breakfast may be served at a communal table in the dining room, or individual tables, may be delivered to your room, may be set up as a buffet, may be served outside on the patio or deck, weather permitting, or may be provided for you to help yourself to at your convenience.  You may enjoy 5 courses or 3 courses or an expanded continental version, a breakfast menu or a choice of breakfast selections.  Always check when you’re deciding which Bed & Breakfast to stay at, so that you will know what to expect.

Innkeeper Sharon at Race View B&B , a Greater Victoria Bed & Breakfast in rural Metchosin, offering a single private suite, may start you off with home made banana icecream topped with maple blackberry “swoosh”, followed by smoked salmon and asparagus rouladen with rosemary roasted potatoes and whole grain toast made from locally grown red fife flour.  At the Bee & Thistle Guest House, a Vancouver Bed & Breakfast in a 1908 fully restored historic home in the Commercial Drive area, innkeepers Lynn & Michael offer fresh brandied strawberries in lace toffee cups, feta and scallion scones with whipped chive butter, creme brulee french toast with fresh banana slices and Canadian maple syrup accompanied by chorizo potato petals with sour cream and chives.  Yum, is your mouth watering yet?

Bed & Breakfasts can cater to special dietary restrictions, or specific activities that require flexible breakfast times, but please let them now in advance.  At St. Marys River B&B a Kootenay Bed & Breakfast in the small community of Wycliffe, British Columbia, innkeepers Dale & Doug Martin have devised a self-serve breakfast as they cater to a lot of fishermen and other early risers.  Hot and cold cereals, seasonal fruit and yoghurts, home baked goods or breads, and a quiche or french toast casserole that guests can pop into the oven whenever they are ready to eat.  Dale & Doug still find opportunities to host their guests as well.  A gluten and dairy-free menu served at La Pause B&B, a Courtenay Bed & Breakfast on Vancouver Island, starts with a super soy smoothie.  Innkeepers David & Lucille may then serve gluten and dairy-free lemon blueberry muffins and individual apple wood smoked bacon quiches.  There is no reason to sacrifice taste when dealing with diet restrictions.

How about one more to tickle your taste buds?  ThistleDown House, a North Vancouver Bed & Breakfast, is known for its unique breakfasts.  On Friday May 13th, this was the menu: ThistleDown porridge, pineapple poached in kirsch with crushed frozen raspberries, and a main course of wild British Columbia steelhead trout with sea asparagus.

Of course there are many more great breakfasts served by our BC  innkeepers.  All will be accompanied by delicious coffees and teas and a variety of fresh fruit juices, and are very often locally sourced and organic.  As we could not possibly include them all here, keep an eye on our Facebook page for further delectable offerings from our British Columbia Bed & Breakfasts!

Stop and Smell the Flowers

Monday, May 9th, 2011

May is a terrific month here in British Columbia.   The weather is getting warmer, the rhododendrons go crazy and gardeners know it is time to plant, weed and feed.  On Vancouver Island, between Port Hardy in the north and Victoria in the south, there are over 18 notable gardens to visit!  Here, from north to south, is a brief overview:

Ronnings Garden is located at the head of Holberg Inlet 65 km west of Port Hardy on the gravel road to Cape Scott.  Its two hectare site features twin monkey puzzle trees.  Call 250-288-3724 for visitor information.

Shepard’s Garden, near Port McNeill, is a family garden of flowers and forest on a 1 1/2 hectare site.  Bulbs and flowering shrubs provide an early display of color.  Named for and by the owners, Bill and Marilyn Shepard, the number of perennials increases as they find new plants that will overwinter in the northern island climate.

Mystic Woods Nursery, just outside Campbell River, is a work in progress with an ever expanding display garden.  This year the nursery is concentrating on unusual perennial grasses, herbs, trees and shrubs.  Your Campbell River Bed & Breakfast hosts will be able to direct you to Mystic Woods.

Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens, founded and maintained by Brian Zimmerman, is near Courtenay and showcases over 3,000 rhododendrons in a wooded setting along with ferns, ponds and a labyrinth.  Peak bloom time is through the end of June.

The Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park is in Comox and is known for a variety of stately trees, including oaks, and deodar cedars.  Shrubs include hundreds of rhododendrons.  Each spring thousands of annuals are planted in beds near the old lodge to provide a fabulous and colorful display all summer long.   Our Courtenay Bed & Breakfast members will have all the information you need to enjoy a visit to both of these wonderful gardens.

The Old Rose Nursery is on Hornby Island, reached by ferry from Buckley Bay between Courtenay and Qualicum Beach.  It boasts over 1000 varieties of roses and is open from June through mid-August.

Milner Gardens and Woodland between Qualicum Beach and Parksville is a 28 hectare property with a 4 hectare developed garden of stately lawns, beds and borders, a small orchard and hundreds of rhododendrons.   Staying at our Nanaimo Bed & Breakfasts or our Errington Bed & Breakfast will put you just a leasurely drive away from Milner Gardens.

Dashwood Gardens is  on a 1.6 hectare site near Stamp Falls Provincial Park and Port Alberni.  It features thousands of daffodils and other bulbs.  Peak viewing is in the spring.

Tofino Botanical Gardens boasts a specimen of the oldest living tree in the world, the alerce, as well as the giant Himalayan lily with its large waxy leaves.  In the late spring the Himalayan lily produces flower spikes up to 4 meters high that bloom in July.  The garden also has a compare and contrast presentation of plants from the Chilean Coastal Rainforest which has a similar climate to Clayoquot Sound but a very different evolutionary history.  Of course the Tofino and Ucluelet area deserves a visit of more than one night, so book your Ucluelet Bed & Breakfast in advance of your visit.

Hazelwood Herb Farm, near Ladysmith, has over 500 species of plants which over the centuries have been considered herbs.  Many are found in the formal garden designed to resemble the 18th century herb gardens of Europe.  Medicinal and culinary herbs are grown in raised beds and sold in the gift shop.  Quite likely our Ladysmith Bed & Breakfast hosts use herbs from Hazelwood Herb Farm as well!

Mayo Creek Gardens, at Lake Cowichan, is on a 1 hectare north facing slope and features rhododendrons and native plants in a complimentary display.

Duncan’s Providence Farm in the Cowichan Valley explodes with plant and animal life in the springtime.  Visitors thrill to blossoms and lambs, fields and forests.  Cowichan Valley Bed & Breakfasts are located nearby.

The grand daddy of them all, Butchart Gardens, is stunning at any time of year.  Forget me nots and English daisies show their colors as do so many other spring flowers in April and May with the warmer and sunnier weather.  Located on the Saanich Peninsula, several Saanich Bed & Breakfasts are close by for your accommodation needs.

Victoria is home to several other amazing gardens.  The first is Abkhazi Garden, a heritage home and garden, created in 1946 by Prince Nicholas Abkhazi and Princess Peggy Abkhazi.  It is a one acre garden with dramatic rocky outcroppings, Garry oaks and great vistas.  Blooms are most prolific in late spring and early summer but the garden is spectacular all year round.

Finnerty Gardens, a part of the University of Victoria campus, is a lovely 1.6 hectare space boasting some 3000 trees and shrubs plus over 200 rhododendrons.  It is an all year garden, but spring is especially vibrant.

Hatley Castle – Royal Roads is a 180 hectare forest .  The Royal Roads section includes an Italian garden, a Japanese garden, a rose garden, croquet lawn, lakes and streams.  The rose garden is at it’s best in early June, but has much to offer  all year, with a number of unusual growing trees and shrubs.

Finally, Glendale Gardens and Woodlands is a two hectare garden in Conservation Park with a natural setting complimented by walking trails and bird viewing stations.  It has a wonderful winter garden, the Doris Page, featuring grasses, flowering shrubs and trees.  Spend at least a day exploring these Victoria area gardens by booking your stay at one of our Victoria Bed & Breakfasts.

However you choose to route your Vancouver Island garden tour, rest assured that your British Columbia Bed & Breakfast hosts will provide wonderfully comfortable rooms and great breakfasts to make garden hopping even more fun and exhilarating.

20,000 Grey Whales

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

It’s true; over 20,000 grey whales are heading north.  Why, you ask?  Well, obviously because they want to participate in the 25th Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival taking place on the wild west coast of Vancouver Island from Ucluelet to Tofino, and all of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.  To tell the truth, the grey whales are on their way to Alaska’s Bering Strait and beyond in an annual  migration that has taken place for many, many years.  The festival is newer and a bit shorter and runs from March 19th to 27th.  It is an all out celebration of our coastal lives.  There will be lots of educational material about the grey whales and marine life in general as well as inspirational talks and stunningly beautiful walks.  The festival promises lots of children’s fun and plenty of culinary events for the big folks.  First Nations offer cultural workshops and much more for those who want to experience coastal tradition.  Video enthusiasts can participate in an inspirational, whale inspired, short video contest (check the website for details) with a $500.00 prize!

Allow yourself some quiet time to enjoy a beach walk and to explore the lush coastal rainforest.  Hiking trails are everywhere and range from “couch potato” easy to extremely challenging.  The Pacific Rim boasts some of the province’s finest  BC Bed & Breakfast accommodations, restaurants, and art galleries.

The drive from Port Alberni to the Pacific Rim is a bit windy, but very beautiful too.  Take your time and allow for plenty of stops along the way so the driver can enjoy the stunning scenery guaranteed to mesmerize the entire family.  Of course, the kids will be asking the age old question: “Are we there yet????”  For those not into driving, there is both air and bus service available.

The Earlybird gets a Great Deal

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Vancouver Island Music Fest doesn’t start until July 8th but early-bird discounted tickets are only available until April 1.  This 3 day music extravaganza takes place at Vancouver Island’s Comox Valley Fairgrounds and is always amazing, wild and great fun.  I have not missed Music Fest since 2001 for good reason.  VIMF is one of North America’s finest music festivals highlighting great talent from all around the world.  This year’s headliner is recent Academy Award winner Randy Newman— that’s right the guy who wrote such modern masterpieces as I Think Its Gonna Rain Today, Short People, and I Love L.A .  He joins a line up that includes Jon Anderson (of Yes fame), The Night Train Music Club, Arrested Development, Rodney Crowell, Red Horse and the awesome Eliza Gilkyson!  This year VIMF has introduced a special Thursday night concert event July 7 with 26-time Grammy Award winner Alison Krauss and Union Station!  Weekend pass holders can pick up tickets for Thursday’s concert for $50.  During the day there are 6 stages where musicians from different groups jam and offer workshops as well as individual performances.  The day venues are small and intimate and allow us to get close up to the artists.

Academy Award winner Randy Newman

Music Fest is family oriented with lots of fun for the kids, including easy access to the river for swimming.  There are games and a well supervised play area where kids can have a ball even if they aren’t yet very interested in the music. Shoppers will enjoy the many booths selling everything from 60′s throwback tie dye to custom made drums and jewelry.  There is always great food and beverages, and a beer tent for those of us who like to imbibe.

Vancouver Island Music Fest is truly an event not to be missed, as are the wonderful BC Bed & Breakfasts in the BC B&B Innkeepers Guild waiting to welcome you to help you create lifelong memories.  April is fast approaching, so get those discount passes now and book a great B&B too!

Emily Carr, a Canadian treasure

Saturday, March 12th, 2011

The world-renowned Royal BC Museum in Victoria is hosting a new exhibition on Canada’s greatest woman artist Emily Carr.  The exhibition focuses on Carr’s early years before she emerged on the national scene in 1927, and draws on the Royal BC Museum’s extensive Carr collection.

The other Emily: Redifining Emily Carr

“The Other Emily: Redefining Emily Carr” is the first-ever exhibition to focus on her life before she became famous.  Included in the show are twenty of her masterpieces, including a painting recently acquired by the museum and put on display for the very first time, rarely-seen sketches and drawings, manuscripts and personal diary accounts.

To complete the “Emily experience” related presentations and activities are offered throughout the run of the exhibition, including children’s art activities like the “I-Spy Emily: Kids’ Workshops” during Spring Break.

Emily Carr was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1871.  She first studied art in San Francisco and later spent time on further studies in England and France.  She was heavily influenced by landscape and First Nations’ culture in BC and Alaska.  She connected with the famous Group of Seven in the 1920′s and developed a long and valuable association with the Group, who later called her “the Mother of Modern Arts”.  Emily Carr died in 1941 and is interred in the Ross Bay Cemetery, facing the Pacific Ocean in Victoria.  Tours of the cemetery are available year round.

A visit to Victoria to take in the Emily Carr exhibit and perhaps a tour of the Ross Bay Cemetery, as well as the MANY other attractions the city has to offer, would not be complete without an exceptional stay at one of the fabulous Victoria Bed & Breakfasts that belong to the BC B&B Innkeepers Guild. Our promise is “Rest Assured BC” and you will be so well looked after, you’ll want to come back soon!

Vancouver Island Short Film Festival— look quick

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

The Vancouver Island Short Film Festival (VISFF) looks back on five years of local film excellence with a retrospective screening on February 11th and 12th, 2011. This year’s festival will include a screening of award winning films that have been featured at the festival over the last 5 years and a live Pitch Contest where local filmmakers can pitch their short film ideas to the Festival audience with the winner receiving $500 towards the making of their next short film. Tickets for the VISFF cost $15.00 and are available at the Nanaimo Arts Council gallery in Nanaimo North Town Centre, and at House of Indigo and the Nanaimo Art Gallery on the campus of Vancouver Island University.  The festival will take place in Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre with a repeat showing Saturday, February 12 at the same time and location.  

Short films are limited to a running time of just 10 minutes.  There are presently 13 films scheduled, all award winners and people’s choice picks from the past 5 years.  This festival promises to be a lot of fun.

And for a super fun place to stay be sure to book your Nanaimo Bed & Breakfast accommodation at a member of the BC Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers Guild where, rest assured, you’ll sleep better than  your blogger did while sitting through “Out of Africa” which was definitely NOT a short film!

Got the Winter Blues? Visit the “Old Wine in New Bottles” Festival

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Nanaimo, the harbour city, hosts the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra’s very special “Old Wine in New Bottles” festival January 19 to 22.  The festival is certain to be a delightful romp through a myriad of tastes, sights and sounds.  Events include wine competitions, the Wine Makers’ Gala Dinner, concerts and wine tastings.  More than ten BC wineries, including Vancouver Island wineries, are participating so expect something to delight even the fussiest palate. In addition to the variety of events being held, invited artists are creating original art bottles to be auctioned. The bottles will be on display and available for bidding at Gallery 223 from Jan 2 – 19.

Says an excited Pierre Simard, artistic director, “The original thought was of wine as a metaphor for old music made new; the idea has now become a huge happening!”

That happening includes two luscious concerts featuring guest conductor Ivars Taurins of Toronto (Festival Concert I on Friday January 21) and Vancouver Island Symphony conductor and director Pierre Simard (Festival Concert II on Satureday January 22) and opportunities to have questions answered at pre- and post concert talks.  Hurry and visit the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra website for details on the concerts and events.

If you want delicious accommodation in Nanaimo to compliment the fine wine and music, be sure to book at one of the excellent Nanaimo Bed & Breakfasts featured on the BC Bed & Breakfast Innkeepers Guild website

Coldsnap In Prince George?

Friday, December 10th, 2010

Coldsnap” is the Prince George, B.C. winter music festival which is being held January 21-29, 2011.  This festival is known for its wide variety of music as well as excellent workshops. Out of town performers include the Adonis Puentis Band (some fine Cuban roots here),  Juno nominees the Sultans of String, The Good Lovelies and David Wilcox to name just a few.  The line up is really something special, and growing.  Tickets are on sale now, so check the website!

The Coldsnap Music Festival features alternative music and musicians who love what they do, are creative, vibrant and produce rich sounds.  The festival was begun as a tonic for the winter blues that can set in about half way through the season.   It has grown, in just three short years, to a major winter event attracting talent from all over Canada and the rest of North America.  The festival is among the BCAA’s Westworld magazine top ten things to do this winter.

Music venues will be located all around Prince George, especially the downtown core.  You’ll find great accommodation at a BC B&B Innkeepers Guild Bed & Breakfast, where you can ‘Rest Assured BC’.  Be sure to ask your Prince George Bed & Breakfast hosts for all the important details about Coldsnap and Prince George, and enjoy some beautiful music in BC’s north this winter.

Guild Members Featured

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

BC Innkeepers Guild members La Pause Bed and Breakfast and Belle Vue Bed and Breakfast, both located in the Comox Valley, are prominently featured in the October edition of Victoria Tourism Mall’s online magazine Vancouver Island Travel.  In an article about the Comox Valley, authors Ron and Linda Kirstein sampled accommodations, restaurants, explored various recreational opportunities and visited with business owners.  Ron took many fine photos which are posted on the magazine’s blog.  In conjunction with the story, La Pause is offering the following special for those who reference the article:  Stay 2 nights – Save 30 % on the second night – enjoy savings up to $45.  (effective October 1, 2010 to May 15, 2011 – Dec 15 to Jan 7 excluded).  Belle Vue is offering 3 night stays with 50% off the 3rd night or for those staying 4 nights, the 4th night free (valid until March 31, 2011).   For those who don’t already know, the Comox Valley is located about half way up the east coast of Vancouver Island.  It is an ideal base for Mt. Washington skiing and all manner of outdoor recreation.  The Comox Valley has gorgeous scenery, great golf (year round!), superb dining, and is centrally located for day trips to the rest of the Island, being about a 2 1/2 hours drive from Victoria to the south or Port Hardy to the north.