The Vancouver Island region is a large, sparsely populated area, encompassing Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, as well as a portion of the mainland.
It has one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems with Rain forests, marshes, meadows, beaches, mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes creating habitats for multitudes of wildlife species. In fact, the region is one of the world’s premier locations for whale watching, birding and fishing for salmon or trout.
Much of the island is protected parkland. It contains many 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 biggest, all-natural ski bases.
The beauty and tranquillity of this region has long been a draw for artists and artisans. The Gulf Islands abound in art galleries, studios and shops selling unique, locally produced, arts and crafts.
Long before James Cook landed on the west coast of Vancouver Island in 1778, the First Nation people have inhabited the area and its history lives on in numerous travel experiences.
The Coast Salish,
Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwakawa’wakw have lived in permanent settlements on the shores and valleys of the island, creating elaborate art forms for centuries.
Visitors exploring Vancouver Island’s First Nation culture can expect to taste traditional foods, take an interpretive tour, see totem poles, view art galleries and museums, witness ceremonies and hike or canoe historical routes that have been used for thousands of years by the island’s first residents.
So rich is their culture here that it was chosen as the location for the 2008 North American Indigenous Games. The games hosted over 4,500 Canadian and US athletes and more than 3,000 cultural performers. Vancouver
Island is perhaps the most accessible area for indigenous experiences and visitors are never far from First Nations’ culture