Vancouver Island Leisure & Shopping Guide
Vancouver Island has much to offer for those coming to the Island for vacation, business or to live. Our guide has a selection of businesses and general information to assist you.
Vancouver Island and the nearby Gulf Islands are consistently voted one of the top Island destinations in the world. The population of Vancouver Island was 864,864 as of 2021. Nearly half of that population (400,000) live in the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria and stretches southeast to northwest along the western coast of British Columbia. Vancouver Island is easily reached by BC Ferries.
The rugged west coast is cut deeply by fjords lined between high mountains with many communities located along the shores of protected bays. The eastern plain is rich with timber, farmlands, fishing streams, villages, and modern cities and long sandy beaches in many areas.
Vancouver Island has a large selection of acccommodation choices such as hotels, motels, resorts, lodges, inns, bed & breakfast homes, vacation rental homes and suites, cabins, cottages. Activities include adventure tours, salmon fishing, kayaking adventure, ATV tours, RV camping, and more.
The good news is that there is a lot of beautiful scenery and great stops along the way for people who love the great outdoors.
As you drive north from Victoria you will be able to visit a wide variety of communities with great amenities, arts and entertainment. About an hour north of Victoria you will go through the town of Duncan where the city centre shopping area offers a wide array of products and services including top notch dining of all kinds.
The sister towns of Chemainus and Ladysmith will be encountered next and the arts community thrives in both places and features some very impressive wall art of First Nations history in Chemainus.
Vancouver Island’s second largest city, Nanaimo will take you about a third of the way up the island and features full ferry service to many locations and impressive university facilities and great shopping. Nanaimo boasts a population of around 140,000.
The gorgeous ocean views of Parksville are next on the list and then you will arrive in Courtney/Comox which has a military and blue collar connection in a beautiful setting. Now you are around half way through your journey and may want to take advantage of the restaurants and hotels in these towns.
The forestry and fishing centre of Campbell River is about an hour away and has transformed itself into a tourist destination with sport fishing and whale and bear watching readily available.
You are on the home stretch and the fishing and logging towns of Sayward and Port McNeill will be the next on your list of stops before you finally reach the pretty town of Port Hardy which is also a transportation hub for the ferry system.
The northern shore of Vancouver Island is at Cape Scott Provincial Park.
You have completed the whole 500 plus kilometre journey. Congratulations.