Lifestyle & Parenting

Family Fun in the Comox Valley

April 1, 2016

HeliJet in to Vancouver Island’s family-friendly Comox Valley.

Getting there: HeliJet has launched a new port-to-port flight from Vancouver to Nanaimo that takes 18 minutes flat. And did we mention that kids under 10 fly for free? You’ll never wait in a ferry line-up again. 

Helijet, 1.800.665.4354,


Snack and Sip: Grab a wooden school band chair on the patio of the side-by-side Pizzeria Guerrilla and Gladstone Brewing Company. The Sallsiccia pizza has braised local greens and pork fennel sausage and goes down perfectly with a Gladstone lager.

Pizzeria Geurrilla, 244 4th St., Courtenay, 250-331-0287,

Gladstone Brewing Company, 244 4th St., Courtenay, 250-871-1111,

Snack and sip

Buck a Shuck: Watch the fishing boats float by on the deck of the ivy-covered White Whale pub, while enjoying $1 Cortes Island oysters served off an enamelware tray of crushed ice at happy hour.  

White Wale, 975 Comox Rd., Courtenay, 250-338-1468,


Farm to Table: The Courtenay Farmer’s Market has been named the best in B.C. and we can see why: local water buffalo milk from McLintock Farm made into ricotta at Natural Pastures, and Simply Divine honey made from mountain hives during fireweed season. We even found black and pink popcorn kernels which we popped with buffalo butter in our hotel room for movie night. Chic, right?

Courtenay Farmer’s Market, Native Sons Hall, 360 Cliffe Ave., Courtenay. 250-338-1000,

farmers market

Sleep & Eat: The Old House is a boutique Courtenay hotel on the river where the rooms are large and comfortable, and (importantly) have a kitchenette. Still, the main attraction is the restaurant, Locals, where we were tempted to order off the kids menu—poutine with Natural Pastures cheese curds, anyone? Local wines like the excellent 2010 Averill Creek pinot noir pair with the farm-to-table food in this bustling restaurant in a heritage house.

Home Old House Village Hotel & Spa, 1730 Riverside Lane, Courtenay, 250-703-0202,

Old house hotel

Spa: We knew we’d find great food in the Comox Valley, but the biggest surprise was our hotel’s Oh Spa. The massage therapist (a transplant from Vancouver) was excellent and the rooms were luxurious and quiet. Book far in advance as its facials are super-popular with the locals, too.


Play: We had a blast at the local bowling alley where we tried glow-in-the dark Cosmic Bowling. Tip: download a coupon from the website for free shoe rentals.

Codes Country Lanes, 307 6th St., Courtenay, 250-334-4051,


Learn: Little paleontologists will love the local dinosaurs and fossils at the free museum across from The Gladsone brewing.

Courtenay Museum and Paleontology Centre, 207 4th St., Courtenay, 250-334-0686,


Snack: Can’t make it to Island? Look for Grass-fed Orange Blossom and Cardamom yogurt from Tree Island (Thrifty, Whole Foods, Urban Fare) made by a local microbiologist and his wife who had an epiphany in France and are now running a super-successful yogurt business in Courtenay.

Tree Island Yogurt, 3747 Island Hwy South, Courtenay, 250-334-0608,

tree island

— Sarah Bancroft


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