To say that Nature has blessed Vancouver Island is much more than an understatement. Diverse, beautiful and easily accessible, Vancouver Island quite literally has it all when it comes to appreciating Nature. Travel & Leisure Magazine recently named Vancouver Island as one of the world’s top ten islands in its 2014 World’s Best Awards, and for good reason. The Vancouver Island region is a large, sparsely populated area, encompassing Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, as well as portions of the mainland coast.
Vancouver Island made Travel & Leisure Magazine’s List of Top 10 Islands in 2014
The Island is known for the diversity of its ecosystems which include rainforests, marshes, alpine meadows, beaches, mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes which help provide habitats for multitudes of wildlife species. The Island region is also considered one of the world’s premier locations for whale watching, birding, as well as salmon and trout fishing. Much of the island is protected parkland as it contains numerous pockets of old-growth fir and cedar forests, as well as rare, naturally occurring groves of Garry oak.
Vancouver Island is bisected, north to south, by the Beaufort Mountain Range, which is home to one of Canada’s largest all-natural ski bases. The beauty and tranquility of this region has long been a draw for artists and artisans, and is home to some exceptional native carvers and other First Nations artisans. Art galleries, studios and shops selling unique, locally produced arts and crafts are found throughout the island, especially on Salt Spring and other portions of the Gulf Islands archipelago. British Columbia in general and Vancouver Island in particular is viewed as one of the richest wildlife viewing areas in the country with a vast range of birds and animals (both marine and terrestrial) calling the region home.
Vancouver Island is viewed as one of the richest wildlife viewing areas in Canada
The Island is strategically located along the Pacific flyway – a conduit through which more than a million birds migrate each year. The beautiful Black Brant goose passes through the Island city of Parksville in such numbers their annual passage is celebrated by a yearly festival. Vancouver Island is equally rich with its native animal populations. Black Bear, Cougar, Beaver, Deer and Roosevelt Elk all call the Island home. Native mink and the rare Vancouver Island Marmot can also be spied by the skilled observer.
The wildlife bounty is not restricted to the land and air, twice every year, virtually the entire global population of Pacific Gray Whales migrates along the British Columbia Coast including the west coast of Vancouver Island, providing an exceptional opportunity for whale watchers and the numerous companies that provide that service. Pacific salmon species spawn in the Goldstream, Little Qualicum, Quinsum, Gold River and numerous other Island waterways, offering both a bounty for anglers and a unique opportunity to view firsthand this annual pageant of Nature. Of course Killer Whale watching is a year round event, with companies in place to provide access to the transient and resident Orca populations.
Twice every year, virtually the entire global population of Pacific Gray Whales migrates along the Vancouver Island coast
From whale pods that call the southern waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca home, to those that inhabit the cooler waters of Telegraph and Johnstone Strait in the north, Killer Whale viewing is an exceptional and breathtaking experience.
Vancouver Island is also equally well stocked with expert guides and service supply companies offering wildlife and adventure tours of every size, shape and goal. From classic hunting guides, to the latest trends in non-invasive Eco-Tourism, excursions geared toward every taste, budget, mission and season can be found. Visitors planning an Island adventure are encouraged to do a little online research to help compile a list of service providers or seasonal sights that appeal to their unique tastes.
Of course Van Ventures with its fleet of fully equipped camperized minivans should be your first choice for any Island adventure, self-guided or otherwise. Let the call of the road join with the call of the wild to make your Vancouver Island trip one that generates memories sure to last a lifetime.