In 1862, a miner by the name of Billy Barker struck it rich during the gold rush in the foothills of the Cariboo mountains of what is now British Columbia. The town that sprang up around his strike was named after him and can be visited today, looking much as it did, then: Barkerville Historic Town.
Posts Tagged ‘British Columbia Bed & Breakfast’
Haida Gwaii (“Islands of the People”), formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia. Consisting of two main islands, Graham Island in the north, and Moresby Island in the south, along with approximately 150 smaller islands, Haida Gwaii is quickly becoming known across the world as one of the most spectacular and astonishing places to visit. And with it in our own province, why would we not want to make a trip to see what its all about.
Being the most westerly part of Canada, Haida Gwaii is known for its breathtaking scenery, quaint villages, white sand beaches, and also being part of the Canadian $20 bill. Depicting a Haida Chief, the art work known as the ‘Spirit of Haida Gwaii’ is featured on the reverse side of the Canadian $20 bill. Although the Spirit of the Haida Gwaii is the most popular piece of art coming from the island communities, Haida art is also frequently seen on large monumental sized cedar totem poles and dugout canoes, hand-crafted gold and silver jewellery, and even as cartoons in the form of Haida Manga.
So I know you’re asking yourself; what exactly do I do while visiting this gorgeous location in the Pacific? Well, where shall I begin? Haida Gwaii is a great destination for adventurers, sports enthusiasts, or individuals, couples, and families who merely want to vacation in a relaxing environment and soak up culture. Some great activities to take part in while visiting include, but are not limited to, biking, surfing, fishing, beach combing, birdwatching, as well as trip to Gwaii Haanas. Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site protects an archipelago of 138 islands, the largest being Moresby Island and the southernmost being Kunghit Island. While visiting this marvellous part of Haida Gwaii you will be witness to ancient cedars, hemlocks and Sitka spruce which tower over an undergrowth of salal, shrubs, ferns and moss, patterning the forest with many shades of green.
Being a fairly small part of the province of British Columbia, Haida Gwaii does not offer as much of an abundance of accommodations to its visitors as other parts of the province. But Smillies Bed & Breakfast is a great place to call home while visiting. On the shore of Masset Inlet, Smillies B&B offers three rooms set in a seaside cottage style. Breakfast is delivered to your room which also has a kitchenette and barbecue. It is the perfect spot for a quaint and private trip to British Columbia’s most spectacular region.
When most people think of Vancouver Island they think of cities like Victoria, Parksville, Tofino, and possibly Campbell River. But these folks are missing out on the most spectacular part of the largest Pacific island east of New Zealand. The Northern Vancouver Island region is a place of pristine natural splendour. It’s the last frontier, where massive expanses of lush wilderness beckon to outdoor adventurers, explorers, nature lovers, and wildlife watchers. With destinations such as Woss, Telegraph Cove, Sayward, and Port Hardy, to name a few, the Northern Region of Vancouver Island offers many amazing places to visit.
More coastline and more waterways than any other area within the Vancouver Island region makes Vancouver Island North a premium destination for marine adventures. Which is why fishing, scuba diving, whale watching and kayaking are some of the most popular activities to take part in. World famous and noted for brilliant soft corals, countless marine species, 100-foot-plus visibility and unique opportunities such as seeing Pacific white-sided dolphins, wolf eels and exploring shipwrecks, Northen Vancouver Island is consistently ranked as one of the top 10 places to scuba dive each year.
The number of activities and outdoor adventure possibilities is too long to list, but in addition to scuba diving, another MUST DO is a guided grizzly bear tour. With a number of companies offering guided tours, taking a day to search the region for one of these spectacular animals will not leave you disappointed. These tours take place at the appropriately named ‘Great Bear Rainforest’. One of the world’s great wildlife areas, the Great Bear Rainforest still hosts healthy populations of the same wildlife species present when Captain Vancouver sailed up the BC coast in 1793. The Coastal Mountain range has isolated many wildlife populations from their conspecifics in the rest of North America. As a result, the Great Bear Rainforest is home to many subspecies and genetically unique populations such as the Grizzly Bear and the coastal grey wolves.
Although Vancouver Island Bed and Breakfasts may not be abundant in the Northern Region of the Island, making your home base in Courtenay or Campbell River will allow you the opportunity to make daily excursions up island. And when you are looking to explore the wilderness and vast expanses of this untouched region, what better way than with road trips from your comfortable and relaxing British Columbia Bed and Breakfast.
Every year we sit around the television to watch the annual movie, music, television, and broadway awards being handed out to the stars we all admire. And being Canadian, we are always so proud to see one of our own up on stage giving a thank you speech. Well, this is true for the hospitality and tourism world as well. Even though we may not get to dress up in $1,000 gowns and tuxedos, it is still an honor to be recognized for all the hard work and determination that is put into providing a magical experience. And in the 2012 Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice Awards, the BC Innkeepers Guild is proud to say that 9 members have been recognized in the top 25 B&Bs and Inns in Canada. We would like to congratulate and thank everyone for their passion and devotion in making British Columbia one of the World’s most desired destinations, and would like to devote this blog post to those who ranked in Canada’s top 25.
7) Bostrom’s B&B on Little Beach Bay: Located in Ucluelet, Bostrom’s B&B boasts amazing ocean views from all rooms, hot tub, and decks. 3 levels of decks have barbeques and a teak dining suites. Luxury meets fun in the games room with snooker, darts, and so much more. Join fellow travelers for delicious gourmet breakfasts or dine in the privacy of your room.
8) Bee & Thistle Guest House: The Bee & Thistle is a perfect base for exploring the gorgeous city of Vancouver. Whether you are there for a vacation, visiting relatives or on business, you will love the warmth of this lovely heritage Bed & Breakfast, only minutes by car from the heart of the shopping & business district.
12) ThistleDown House: Located in North Vancouver, ThistleDown House’ internationally acclaimed heritage, style, comfort and fine hospitality make it a gem in the middle of a beautiful city. With six exquisite en-suite rooms to choose from, Afternoon Tea and deliciously creative multi-course breakfasts, you will love every minute of your stay.
16) West End Guest House: Located in Vancouver and built in 1906, this gracious lady has been transformed into a modern Bed & Breakfast with special emphasis on the amenities to make your stay smooth and comfortable. The inn itself is filled with antiques and a photo collection from the early days of Vancouver. Parking, Wi-Fi, and bikes to borrow are all included.
18) A View of the Lake Bed & Breakfast is located in West Kelowna, British Columbia. Enjoy a unique experience with the resident Chef as he creates your three course breakfast from his demonstration kitchen using the freshest of local ingredients. The contemporary home offers an expansive lounge and patio area for all guests and is close to the Westside Wineries and only minutes from Kelowna.
20) Apple Blossom Bed & Breakfast: If you enjoy a view and gardens, you’ll love this West Kelowna Bed and Breakfast. All Bed and Breakfast rooms have a view of the lake and gardens. Wake up to the sound of local song birds after a good night’s rest on comfortable beds before enjoying your 3 course full country-style breakfast.
21) Albion Manor Bed & Breakfast: Welcome to Victoria’s Victorian Jewel just a 5 minute walk from the ferries, downtown and major attractions. Situated in a beautiful garden, Albion Manor features delightful architectural details. Enjoy gourmet breakfasts in a tastefully decorated ambiance with antique furnishings and art.
25) Long Lake Waterfront B&B: Located in Nanaimo, the Long Lake Waterfront Bed & Breakfast provides a romantic private lakeside lifestyle with reflections on the water in your canoe/kayaks. Hot tub, King size beds, wifi, float plane accessible. Your day trip center for Vancouver Island. Warm hospitality and hot breakfasts.
So what are you waiting for? Get out and book your next vacation at one of Canada’s top Bed & Breakfasts and Inns!
Are you looking to escape the dreary weather of your home town, but still bogged down with the dreaded post Christmas debt? Then what better way to get refreshed than with an amazing deal to a British Columbia Bed and Breakfast for a weekend. There are many BC Innkeepers Guild Members who are offering specials and packages to entice the travelling spirits.
Set on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, Sooke is a wonderful spot to re-energize your battery and start the new year off on a positive note. Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, lush green forests, and with plenty of trails and nature to explore, it is one of B.C.’s best kept secrets. And the Ocean Wilderness Inn is a fantastic spot to take it all in. Located along the beach of the Pacific Ocean, and just 15 minutes north of Sooke, the Ocean Wilderness Inn provides its guests with a quiet, relaxing vacation spot where your only neighbours will be eagles, deer, and the rest of the wildlife. If you book your BC getaway from now until April, you will receive 20% off your stay.
Right across the Straight of Georgia, discover your dream vacation at the Mainstay Oasis Bed & Breakfast. Nestled in the coastal town of Port Moody, and conveniently located on the stunning waterfront, Mainstay Oasis B&B provides its guests with a luxurious vacation spot year round. With each room offering a spacious ensuite, luxury linens, and an expansive view, it is no wonder it is one of the lower mainland’s top bed and breakfasts. And better yet, book your romantic vacation today and you will get 2 nights for only $200.
Other great Bed & Breakfasts which are currently offering winter packages include Reef Point Oceanfront in Ucluelet, Courthouse Inn in Revelstoke, Villa Marco Polo in Victoria, and the Chemanius Tudor Inn Bed & Breakfast in Chemanius.
So don’t sit around waiting for summer to arrive, book your vacation today and visit one of the many fascinating British Columbia Bed and Breakfasts.
BC Ferries offers up to a 15% discount on one way fares when purchased as a Circle Pac ticket. This means you can go from the Lower Mainland to Vancouver Island, across to the Sunshine Coast and back down to Vancouver at a great price! Or go the other way around! The deal applies to autos and passengers, RV’s, and even motorcycles. Check with BC Ferries for the details, but basically you have 30 days to make your trip. Tickets can be purchased at any of the ferry terminals along the circle route: Tsawwassen, Horseshoe Bay, Langdale, Saltery Bay, Powell River, Comox, Swartz Bay, Departure Bay and Duke Point. Then keep the voucher handy for showing at the other terminals along the way.
It couldn’t be easier and you can go in whichever direction you like. A route I’ve enjoyed is from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale and then north along the Sunshine Coast through the communities of Gibsons, Roberts Creek, and Sechelt and via the Saltery Bay ferry on to Powell River on the Upper Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast has fantastic scenery, great fishing, boating and hiking so stay overnight at a Sunshine Coast Bed & Breakfast to have enough time to get a real taste of this region.
From Powell River take the ferry across to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and an endless variety of both indoor and outdoor Vancouver Island attractions await you. You can visit rugged Cape Scott at the very north-western end of the Island, go whale watching in Telegraph Cove or on the west side in Tofino, play golf at any number of great Vancouver Island golf courses, visit museums or superb gardens. British Columbia is an outdoor person’s paradise, but it caters to couch potatoes too. Those who like driving trips can’t miss— much of the highway system is along the sea shore or through rolling hills and low mountains. Vistas are spectacular and you really don’t have to get out of the car to enjoy them, but you’ll want to, to experience the forests and seashore first hand. The ferries themselves are very comfortable and afford incredible views. You may even see whales from the ferry! I have. Everywhere along the way you will find British Columbia Bed & Breakfasts offering great hospitality and lots of local lore and information to enhance your journey even more.
Be sure to take in some of the many museums you’ll pass along the way. Not just those in the big cities where world class art, history and theatre are on display, but also those in smaller towns and cities where local history and aboriginal art and culture come together along with exhibits about BC logging and BC mining. There is a lot of fascinating information to be enjoyed.
Frankly, the only drawback I can think of around doing a BC Ferries circle tour of the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island is that 30 days just scratches the surface. Be warned, this territory is addictive! I’m hooked and I’ll bet you will be too. Have a terrific time, and then come back to explore your favorite areas in more detail on your next trip to BC!
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!
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.
Local Bed & Breakfasts here in the Comox Valley had a get acquainted tour yesterday and it was fun and informative. Your blogger saw the newest members’ homes for the first time and got his memory refreshed about the others. The thing about Bed & Breakfasts that is both a plus and a minus is that each is unique. Being unique is a plus because each Bed & Breakfast is an adventure offering a different design, different style and furnishings, different ownership and all that goes along with it. That uniqueness is perhaps a minus for those who like to know exactly what they’re getting and are afraid of being disappointed.
I want to tell you that you won’t be disappointed. Bed & Breakfast hosts are proud of their homes and want to please you. Bed & Breakfast innkeepers go the extra mile in the kitchen because they want to show off and hear “oohs and aahs” coming from the breakfast table. And not only do they go the extra mile in the kitchen, but in every other aspect of their Bed & Breakfast with great attention to detail. Getting acquainted with my colleagues made it crystal clear that each of us has cleanliness, comfort, dining, amenity and hospitality standards a hotel is unlikely to match. The reason is simple — employees don’t love the place the way an owner does, nor does an employee have the same kind of investment.
Recent studies by the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) and TripAdvisor have shown that the main reason, far beyond not being sure of what to expect, travelers don’t stay at a Bed & Breakfast is because they just don’t think “B&B” when thinking about accommodations. Hotels and motel chains seem to be best known around the world and have the most visibility. So dear readers, what can we do to get more people to think “B&B” in the first place?
Since you are reading this blog, you are likely already a Bed & Breakfast aficionado. PAII has launched the Better Way to Stay campaign to increase the profile of Bed & Breakfasts in North America. But it would be great to get your comments about what made you first choose a British Columbia Bed & Breakfast Inn. We BC Innkeepers Guild members value your comments and suggestions and very much encourage you to share your thoughts with us.
“Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day is an annual commemoration held on February 14, celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was removed from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul IV, but its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.”
What Wikipedia doesn’t say is that the man who forgets about Valentine’s Day will be sleeping in the garage! It also doesn’t say that cards alone just don’t cut it. Gentlemen, get packing! Plan a romantic getaway– a couple of nights of pampering at one of the “Rest Assured BC” members of the BC B&B Innkeepers Guild will put a smile on your face and make your significant other feel loved, appreciated and prized. Many of our BC Bed and Breakfast Guild members have specials for Valentine’s Day that will leave your wallet feeling fuller too. Happy Valentine’s Day to lovers everywhere!