At every turn, Canada’s Way West has myriad spots to explore on both coasts.
Overview: This is a road trip worth planning, due in large part to the old-growth forest, the incredible food stories and the easygoing people.
Agenda: Hop in a car and onto the ferry at Horseshoe Bay, destination Nanaimo, then head north to Comox Valley for wildlife-viewing, wine-tasting, mountain biking and year-round golf. Along your two-hour drive across the island on famed Highway 4, make time for two short walks: one at Little Qualicum Falls and the other at Cathedral Grove, home to the largest Douglas firs and red cedars in Canada. Tofino is the hip home base of the oceanfront community, with an abundance of islands and inlets to wander. Don’t skip the town of Ucluelet, home to Canada’s first catch-and-release aquarium and the Wild Pacific Trail, an eight-kilometre stretch through old-growth coastal rainforest.
Crowd: Expect to run into the “fleecies,” with their walking sticks and granola bars, and the kids with their surfboards. Retirees fill in the blanks.
Essential: Take home some of the best hot-smoked sockeye and chum salmon in the world and Nanaimo bars.
Timing: With one of the warmest climates in Canada, Vancouver Island is entertaining year-round.