GOODS & SERVICES ON VANCOUVER ISLAND B.C.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION (some TOC links may not be complete)
I don't know these businesses personally, but suggest some as standing out from the crowd, and caution you about some.
Information in this list may not be up to date.
For Victoria and vicinity, and for Salt Spring Island, see separate lists.
(This TOC is boilerplate from Victoria's so some sections are not herein.)
- DEPARTMENT STORES
- HARDWARE/BUILDING SUPPLIES
- COMMENT on LAND DEVELOPMENT
Second Page books in Courtenay is worth stopping at IF you have time to find parking and can put up with the "wierd even for a bookstore" categorization. (One section is titled History/Mysticism - but history is supposed to be factual, granted often is not the whole story, whereas mysticism is religion in the broad sense.) The store is clean and neat, and has modest section signage. However it is in downtown Courtenay in an area that lacks parking - I'd try to visit other stores too such as the Tandy leather store across the street and north, and the grocery store at the top of the hill.
The small computer store on the north-south boulevard past downtown Duncan (exit from the highway past Country Grocer then turn south, on the west side by the glass shop), ("Tinkers"?) may be a good source for repair work.
I have not been back to the poorly managed WalMart in Duncan for years. However I'll look for an opportunity to check out the new WalMart being built "any day now" - I hear it is larger with more stock, even fresh groceries.
Somewhere approaching Campbell River is Black Creek speedway, a modest facility that appears to include demolition derby events.
Mount Washington ski facility west of Courtenay is worthwhile.
The Country Grocer affiliate in Lake Cowichan is a nice store, long awaited by its owners whose old store was, well, old and small. Signage is unfortunately to Country Grocer's deficient standard, but the general attitude is OK.
The Country Grocer store in Duncan is awkward to get around in, primarily because they have cluttered the front near the checkouts with a jumble of shelves. But hey!, at least they did not follow the fad of putting stuff on the exit side of the checkstands against the wall, as done by some Country Grocer affiliates and other stores. (Apparently they thought that if WalMart in Saanich could be stupid they'd follow like sheep.)
The Home Hardware store in Duncan is the cleanest I've ever seen. Generally quite good though some staff don't understand the need for even better signage.
Just west of the island freeway on the road to Cumberland a sign points left to a Chinese-Japanese cemetery, from the days of segregation. Many immigrated to work in coal mines and forestry.
The military air base has an excellent little museum, with library. Beside the road south of it is a corroding small collection of airplanes, notable for the Argus submarine patrol aircraft. Looking sort of like a DC4/DC6 with bulges and tail stinger, it was built on the wings, landing gear and control surfaces of the Bristol Brittania turboprop, the fuselage of something else (perhaps that is why the nose looks like a Douglas prop airliner, definitely not a Brittania nose), and the Wright turbo-compound engines of a Douglas DC-7C/Lockheed Super Constellation (very fuel efficient, giving it endurance but not reliability).
And for train history nuts, a store approaching the military air base on the road to it from Courtenay.
In Cumberland you'll find the neatest most spacious collectibles store I've even seen. Primarily glassware and such, plus light furniture, it does not have a huge stock but is a delight to visit. (Called "That 70s Place", but broader vintage than the name, it is north of the main E-W street, in an old church - IIRC a beige coloured building.) There's a more conventional collectibles store on that main street, and a bicycle shop with some of the new crank-forward bicycles I recommend for most people as better on the back (upright handle bars). Not much else in Cumberland that I noticed.
The new bypass freeway sections going "up-island" highway route blast past the clutter, but the old highway closer to the east coast goes through water-scenic areas and towns with arts and antiques and services.
From north of the Malahat mountain road west of Victoria to Duncan is good highway, much of it divided but with a few traffic lights. Duncan is a crawl. Then the highway is good until Duke Point south of Nanaimo where it becomes a freeway with a few traffic lights, except near Nanoose Bay which is highway with many side roads entering, then becomes a freeway with very few traffic lights all the way to Campbell River (beats me why the intersection to Mount Washington is a traffic light not a freeway interchange, given the traffic in skiing season). (If you turn right instead of left at the first turn into Courtenay you'll find a shopping area with a WalMart.)
Comox and Courtenay are to the east of the freeway - first you'll encounter part of Courtenay. After turning left at an appropriate sign you can proceed straight to downtown Courtenay, or cross a bridge to more of Courtenay (left off the bridge), the military air base (left off of the bridge and right at the signs), and Comox town (right off of the bridge). There's some beach access south of the air base, and a rest stop on the way to Comox town.
The freeway now extends to Campbell River. I do not know about the road to Port Hardy, where the northern ferry terminal is. Roads beynd Campbell River to towns to the west and northwest will be gravel.
Back near Duncan, the road to Lake Cowichan is paved, a relatively good highway. Once a ways out of the town on either side of the lake you'll encounter gravel. I do not know the state of the roads from Lake Cowichan into the area of Sooke and west of Sooke - there were closures due to bridge problems.
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