BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Bengal Lounge – 721 Government Street (Victoria, at Empress Hotel); 250-384-8111; fairmont.com/empress; tiger skins and ceiling fans.
●Tofino Brewing Company – 681 Industrial Way Unit C&D (Tofino); 250-725-2899; tofinobrewingco.com; in enormous blue warehouse; tastings and tour; long wooden bar.
●Tofino Tea Bar – 381 Main Street (Tofino); 250-725-8833; tofinoteabar.com; serves tea milkshakes; try Hawaiian Cocktail.
●Cape Breton – off Nanaimo; enormous.
HOTELS & RESORTS
●Brentwood Bay Lodge & Spa – 849 Verdier Avenue (Victoria); 250-544-2079 or 888-544-2079; brentwoodbaylodge.com; comfortably spare and elegant marina-side location; connects to Victoria by scenic ferry route.
●Clayoquot Wilderness Resort – P.O. Box 728, Bedwell River (Tofino); 250-726-8235 or 888-333-5405; wildretreat.com; located in Clayoquot Sound World Biosphere; enclave of 20 great white canvas guest and family suite tents, spa tents, and lounge tents all decorated with luxurious bedding, handpicked antiques, and propane stoves; wide variety wilderness activites by land and sea; everything from horseback riding and hiking in old growth river valleys and mountainsides, river and ocean kayaking, wildlife safaris by zodiac on Pacific Ocean to view whales, bears, bird, and marine life, skeet/clay shooting and archery, rock climbing, and fresh water and ocean fishing; gourmet cuisine; spa treatments.
●Fairburn Farm – 3310 Jackson Road (Duncan); 250-746-4637; fairburnfarm.bc.ca; dinner served to overnight guests by reservation.
●Fairmont Empress – 721 Government Street (Victoria); 250-384-8111 or 866-540-4429; fairmont.com; legendary, monumental, and opulent; next to legislative assembly building, 1908 landmark is regal but rooms dated; city views; average food.
●Laurel Point Inn – 680 Montreal Street (Victoria); 250-386-8721 or 800-663-7667; laurelpoint.com.
●Magnolia Hotel & Spa – 623 Courtney Street (Victoria); 250-381-0999; magnoliahotel.com; downtown setting 1 block from Inner Harbor; European-style property; Aveda spa.
●Sooke Harbour House – 1528 Whiffen Spit Road (Sooke); 250-642-3421; sookeharbourhouse.com; harbor views and local artists’ work; breakfast delivered to room; watch otters slide down nearby hillsides.
●Wickaninnish Inn – 500 Osprey Lane (Tofino); 250-725-3100 or 800-333-4604; wickinn.com; built on promontory near Pacific Rim National Park, encircled by old-growth forest and ocean; divine setting; excellent restaurant from which can watch bears; rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows, balconies, and binoculars.
●Hilary’s Cheese Co. – 1282 Cherry Point Road (Cowichan Bay); 250-748-5992; hillaryscheese.com; great imported and local cheeses and wonderful housemade soups.
●Masthead – 1705 Cowichan Bay Road (Cowichan Bay); 250-748-3714; themastheadrestaurant.com; roadhouse turned tackle shop turned restaurant; offers simple local food and excellent chowder.
●Sooke Harbour House – 1528 Whiffen Spit Road (Sooke); 250-642-3421; sookeharbourhouse.com; mothership of island’s “slow food” movement; impressive wine list.
●Midnight Sun – 1027 Pandora Avenue (Victoria); 800-255-5057; midnightsuntravel.com; nature tours.
●Sea Flora – Sooke; 250-642-5328 or 877-713-7464; sea-flora.com; ask for Diane Bernard; nature walks that focus on seaweed; also sells seaweed-based products.
●Tofino Bus Company – 346 Campbell Street; 250-725-2871 or 866-986-3466; tofino-bc.com; bicycle rentals.
●Wild Pacific Trail – wildpacifictrail.com; skirts rocky, rugged shoreline, overlooking sandy coves lined with driftwood, tidepools, and Pacific; base at Ucluelet.
●Hilary’s Cheese Co. – 1282 Cherry Point Road (Cowichan Bay); 250-748-5992; great imported and local cheeses and wonderful housemade soups.
●Knits by Sea – 366 Campbell Street (Tofino); 250-725-3700; knitsbythesea.com; made from hand-dyed, hand-spun, hand-woven yarns from British Columbia.
●Lonsdale Quay Market – 123 Carrie Cates Court (North Vancouver); 604-985-2191; lonsdalequay.com; right next door to Seabus dock; alll sorts of artisanal food products.
●True Grain Bread – 1725 Cowichan Bay Road (Cowichan); 250-746-7664; delicious baked goods.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Butchart Gardens – 800 Benvenuto Avenue (Brentwood Bay); 250-652-7751; butchartgardens.com; 50 acres cultivated since 1904 in abandoned limestone quarry; premier, world floral site.
●Deerholme Farm – Cowichan Valley; ask for Bill Jones); 250-748-7450; magnorth.bc.ca; cooking classes.
●Fairburn Farm – 3310 Jackson Road (Duncan); 250-746-4637; fairburnfarm.bc.ca; cooking classes.
●Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada (Kwisitis Visitor Centre) – east end Arnett Road (Tofino); 250-726-3524; pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/pacificrim/activ/activkwisitis.aspx; overlooking Pacific Ocean; beautifully designed exhibits re Nuu-Chah-Nuith; end with walk around sprawling Wickaninnish Beach.
●Tuff City Mountain Bike Park – 351 Arnett Road (Tofino, across from Tofino Community Hall, 352 Arnett Road); tofinoapp.com/profile.asp?memID=381&catID=201.