In February, while much of North America is still frozen, British Columbia is in bloom. With more than 100 provincial parks and 50 ecological reserves, the idyllic Gulf Islands and 3,400 kilometres of coastline of Vancouver Island (roughly the size of Belgium) is an oasis of beauty, colour and abundance in a wintery world.
The Island’s gentle coastal climate means outdoor activities are in season early, from biking to boating and birding, and its one-of-a-kind laid-back atmosphere means relaxation, inspiration and rejuvenation. It’s no wonder this region boasts more artists per capita than anywhere else in Canada.
The mild sea air, rich soil and temperate climate of Vancouver Island all combine to create ideal conditions for growing some of the most unique wines in the world. While the varieties of grapes are similar to those found in the wine centres of Europe, Vancouver Island’s regional wines are crafted with intense variation. Considered by many to be the “Wine Islands,” here wine connoisseurs are offered an opportunity to taste both familiar and eclectic flavours, layered with the experimentation and eccentricities of the area’s wine producers.
Surrounded by the natural beauty of lush emerald meadows and panoramic ocean views, a trip through the Wine Islands is a warm and welcoming tour, offered by passionate vintners and artisans eager to tempt the discerning palette.
Perfect pinots are best paired with succulent local cuisine and Vancouver Island delivers. From marionberries to melons, free range beef to brussels sprouts, Vancouver Island is a gourmand’s dream. Community farmers’ markets abound from Qualicum Beach to Metchosin, with wharfside restaurants, luxurious dining rooms and cozy local eateries steps in between.
Discovering the heritage and culture of the Vancouver Island region is an exciting journey into the past, rich with fascinating tales that capture imagination and full of insight into our modern society. In British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria, uniquely situated on the island, museums and historic sites present captivating portrayals of the past, while contemporary arts and cultural events celebrate the vibrant creative spirit that thrives in BC.