Valley of Plenty - Living Life in the Comox Valley, BC
The Comox Valley is made up of the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) within whose boundaries lie the Municipality of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, the Village of Cumberland and the electoral (rural) areas (between the municipal boundaries.) Each area offers a distinct climate in weather, culture and amenities. Collectively, they make the Comox Valley an incomparable gift to its inhabitants and visitors alike. To say the Comox Valley is an amazing place to live is an understatement at best.
Sure, you can go fishing, golfing and skiing all in one day - heck, some can do this in an afternoon, but we call those people recreational overachievers. Or tourists. (That was a bit of tongue in cheek.) When you live here full time, or even seasonally, you can pick and choose the day's activities at a more relaxed pace.
In winter, Mt Washington Alpine Resort is less than thirty minutes from front door to first run – and that’s from Comox! Whether you’re a ski bunny, bad*ss boarder, snow shoe aficionado, cross country queen (or king) or just looking for a hot beverage in a cool atmosphere, you’ve got it all right here in your backyard!
In spring and summer, you might golf a whole day, for instance, say at the famous Crown Isle Golf Course, or one of several other golf courses in the Comox Valley. Check out some the 'I had no idea the Comox Valley had places like this' beaches like Air Force Beach and adjacent Kye Bay Beach where sand spreads out before you for a Hallmark mile; Goose Spit where when the winds are right kite boarders glide across a backdrop of the Comox Bay, Beaufort Mountain Range and the world renown Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa (try the hydropath, no really, everyone must do this at least once in their lives.) Kayak alongside seals on the various river waterways, even pull up for lunch at Monte Cristo on the River (I recommend the hot roast beef Madagascar - Yum!) You might go hiking or trail riding at Stotem Falls, Mt. Washington Alpine Resort, Nymph Falls, Seal Bay or Goose Spit regional parks, or a myriad of other trails near Comox Lake.
And speaking of Comox Lake (which I must interject brings back memories as a kid; the smell of trout on a campfire always reminds me of camping there back in the day I'd run straight into the water, not a care in the world. Note: the water is cold until July/August and then some hence the great fishing!) Right, back on track... On your way out to the lake, stop by historic Cumberland, it's quaint and quirky atmosphere as much a draw as the infamous Auchtelony Bakery or my favourite, Dark Side Chocolates (made right here in the Comox Valley - who knew?), or wind down with some eclectic sounds at The Waverly Hotel & Pub (great mix of ages from 20s to 50s+), and if you're around for the annual outdoor music festival The Big Time Out enjoy upcoming bands alongside those who have already made it big. Keep in mind, Cumberland is on an inland weather band which often means lush spring lawns and white, fluffy Hanukkahs.
Along with the medley of tunes in Cumberland, you can stomp out at the Annual Music Festival in Courtenay, which has drawn the likes of David Crosby, Holly Cole, Jeff McBride and many others.
“Vancouver Island MusicFest has been bringing great roots and world music to the Comox Valley and Vancouver Island since 1995. Produced by the Comox Valley Folk Society, MusicFest is a not-for-profit, volunteer driven event with over 1100 volunteers and 300 community sponsors who join forces to bring it to life each summer!”
There's a tangible air of arts and culture in the Comox Valley, complete with the annual Filberg Festival in downtown Comox which draws artists of every variety from all over the world. Several theatrical production companies showcase talent throughout the year, and though, yes the winters can be somewhat overcast that casts the shadow relished by literary talents like Alice Munro, who once called Comox home. If you don't have a hand for the arts, there's still much to be appreciated from the many here that do. And let's be real, maybe you'll take up photography. Given the splendour of this natural setting, you'll have plenty of inspiration. (I'm pretty sure photography is the second most common hobby/profession in the Comox Valley - right after real estate!) (Joke.) (There's some truth in every joke.) The southfacing setting of Comox sees more sunny days than the rest of the Comox Valley and sometimes you'll even see snow clouds in the distance toward Cumberland beyond the blue skies of the Comox Harbour.
Downtown Courtenay is the place to be for shopping, lunching, people watching and breezy stroll along 5th Street where colourful flower baskets hang in summer and Christmas music plays in winter, you'll find everything you need, want, and didn't know you desired. Most of the storefronts are original architecture and many shops have been family owned and operated for generations giving that small town, community minded, 'howdy neighbour' feel. If you're not up for shopping, wander down to the Courtenay River Walkway, where you can walk, run, roller blade, or bike from the Courtenay River (and beyond into Puntledge trails) or meander the 30+ city blocks past the Courtenay Airpark and Marina and along the oceanfront to one of many Comox Valley estuaries. The weather in Courtenay rests between that of Comox and Cumberland and as such offers a mixed bag.
In between the official communities lies the Regional District of Comox Strathcona, which includes Mt. Washington and the lesser known Forbidden Plateau Meadows, but also an abundance of agriculture land.Maybe better to say: The Comox Valley Regional District also includes Forbidden Plateau meadows, Mt. Washington, with its world-leading ski snowpack and its gorgeous alpine Paradise Meadows, and an abundance of agricultural land -- the Comox Valley boasts over 400 working farms! Check out the Farmer's Market Saturday's 9am-noon located across from Vanier School on Headquarters Road in spring, summer, and early fall; or follow it indoors to the Native Son's Hall in downtown Courtenay in winter months. Not only will you get the freshest, best tasting produce and many humane and environmentally friendly meats and poultry (among much more), you can feel like you've contributed to sustainable social and economical diversity. (Of course, you might just want to show up for the tamale lady, like I do!) And right next to the Farmer's Market is the Comox Valley Tack Shop. What's a farm without horses? The Comox Valley offers ample amenities and trails for the equestrian suited! Since the Comox Valley Regional District encompasses vast lands between and surrounding the three urban communities, the weather will range widely depending on the area. Typically, inland and higher grounds lend to higher precipitation while closer to the ocean provides for milder climates.
There are so many other things I love about the Comox Valley, far too many to list here - we haven't even touched on economic features like the International Airport, 19 Wing Comox Military Base (thank you for our stable economy), St. Joseph's Hospital, North Island College, Costco and more. But the one thing I want to leave you with is perhaps the most important; the people. The Comox Valley is a diverse community where whatever walk of life you're in, you'll fit in. From newly-weds to nearly, well, closer to the other end... from families to singles; from white collar to blue collar to pink collar; from pet friendly to travel savvy; from conservative to Liberace - the Comox Valley has 'em all. And in my books, that's fine by me.
Welcome to the Comox Valley... don't forget to tip your REALTOR®, er waiter ;)
To view our Comox Valley photo gallery click here!