Thursday, November 13, 2008

Tigh Na Mara Resort and Spa

We had the opportunity to celebrate a special occasion with a night at the Tigh Na Mara resort and spa. This jewel of a resort is perched on a bluff overlooking the beautiful Georgia Strait just south of Rathtrevor Park and the town of Parksville.

The resort gives the impression of a well-established local landmark. It's sited on almost 22 acres of well-groomed rainforest landscape, with quaint log cabins, some newer well-thought out constructions and a couple of oceanfront 3 story buildings, one of which housed our room.

The room was clean and quaint, with rich wood panelling and tasteful furniture. The view was spectacular, looking out over the beach and the ocean. On a blustery October day it was just enough to lay in bed and imagine how spectacular it might be on a sunny July afternoon.

We enjoyed the Grotto spa (an unflattering name in my opinion) with its large public mineral bath and outlandish d├ęcor, after which we snacked at the Treetop Tapas & Grill. Dining in our bathrobes did not seem too extravagant or silly, but dining in a room with a dozen others, mostly middle aged women, kinda did. My wife booked a manicure and facial and reported her satisfaction on the treatment and service.

The rest of the night was spent enjoying the gas fireplace and luxurious bedding in our room. Were we lucky enough to enjoy better weather we might have checked out the beach, the tennis court, the poolhouse or just strolled through the grounds. As it was we hunkered down in comfort and watched the tide come in from the comfort of our bed.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Fairwinds Community, Nanoose Bay, BC

The Fairwinds Community at Nanoose Bay, BC is an innovative 1,350 acre development designed in harmony with the beauty of its surroundings.

Conveniently located between Nanaimo and Parksville, warmed by the ocean and sheltered by mountains, Fairwinds is blessed with Canada's mildest climate - a master-planned waterfront community offering breath-taking location and world-class amenities. Golf, sail, kayak, hike, walk - it's all here. As they say at Fairwinds, it's a lifestyle that allows you to Live Here and Live More.

Community and lifestyle identify people living at Fairwinds. They talk continually about the fun of daily activities, be it on the water, golf course, at the Fairwinds Centre, walking on the miles of meandering paths or just indulging in quiet time.
It is a vibrant and active community passionate about the surrounding environment and many groups are involved in water conservation, stream clean-up and other sustainability issues.

The Fairwinds Golf Club has established itself as one of Vancouver Island's finest courses. Designed by renowned architect, Les Ferber, it was voted 1999 Facility of the Year and continually receives accolades in prominent golf publications. Towering fir and rare Garry oak trees along with the spectacular ocean views and abundant wildlife provide the backdrop for lush, manicured fairways, natural lakes and challenging bunkers. Facilities, programs and events are extensive and due to the mild climate, available year-round. When the International Association of Golf Tour Operators selected BC as the "2004 Undiscovered Golf Destination in the World", they probably had Fairwinds in mind.

Nestled on the water's edge on the Nanoose peninsula, Schooner Cove Marina offers visitors and residents a 360 slip, full service marina for vessels up to 150 feet.
In addition, there is a pub, coffee shop, liquor store, power, water, gas/diesel pumps and laundry/shower facilities. No room for golf clubs on the boat? The nearby Fairwinds Golf Club offers free rental clubs to overnight marina guests with the purchase of a full rate green fee.

At the heart of the community is the Fairwinds Centre - a stunning example of west coast architecture featuring high ceilings, wood beams and warm colors. The facility is a popular meeting place for area residents looking to improve fitness, socialize or relax. Amenities include a 20 metre indoor saltwater pool, hot tub and sauna, fully equipped exercise room, gymnasium, tennis court, billiards and card room and library with fireplace. The location is perfect for community events such as the annual Christmas Craft Fair, Water Conservation Fair, and local art exhibits.

Fairwinds of the future is an exciting on-going development. The community has the opportunity to become one of the finest oceanfront residential areas on the island - or anywhere, for that matter. The future vision is a community centered around a village that unites the area's forested uplands with the ocean. A community with golf, trails and an endless array of recreational opportunities. The new Schooner Cove Village will see a new seaside village with public access to the waterfront and a vibrant mix of community-oriented retail shops, services and food & beverage establishments along with residential apartment homes. The goal is to build on the Official Community Plan to deliver sustainability and a high quality of life for residents. Whether you are looking for a new state-of-the-art patio home within walking distance to amenities, an exclusive waterfront residence or a large estate property, the Fairwinds community has what you are looking for. As they say, Living - it's what Fairwinds is all about.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Acme Food Company Review, and Last Day of Westjet's Seat Sale

Today's the last day of Westjet's big fall seat sale, save up to 40% flying into or out of Comox or Victoria, or lots of other destinations for that matter. EXTRA LOW airfares to Canada and the U.S. today only. Only at
Cheap Flights at!

It had been probably about 2 years since I went to Acme Food Co in Nanaimo, located at 14 Commerical St in Nanaimo. It's in a prime location - situated in the lovely downtown core directly across from the new Vancouver Island Conference Center. We decided to do lunch, expecting it to be less busy. At 1pm the place was rather bustling and the smells made the mouth water. The waitress was prompt and took our drink order right away. She was pleasant, friendly and quick despite how busy it was. We ordered a hot tuna roll as an appetizer, I was determined to make my mother enjoy sushi. It appeared quickly and looked marvelous. It was lightly battered, with chipotle mayo and teriyaki sauce - smothered in sweet chili salsa. It tasted even better! I've been to every sushi place in town and this was tops for sushi rolls. Amazingly enough my mother (an avid sushi hater) enjoyed it too! For our main entree we ordered the 2 for 1 Acme burgers, one with fries and one with caesar salad. The burgers come with cheese bacon and slathered in chipotle mayo (delicious!). The burgers were picturesque and they were perfect for satisfying a burger craving. I noticed they've changed their menu since the last time I was there and they offer lots of new and enticing looking meals that I will definitely have to go test out soon!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Metric Video Footage From the Big Time Out

As promised, here's a little video footage from The Big Time Out in Cumberland, BC. It features Emily Haines and Metric opening the show with the song Dead Disco. I really can't say enough about this great event put on by the people of Cumberland that should serve as an example to all the communities of Vancouver Island. Let the people play, treat them with respect, and everything will work out fine.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Welcome September - What a Vancouver Island Summer!

Fall has arrived and the new year brings a new post for ol' Vingo. After a summer filled with beaches, beaches and more beaches I finally have a moment to write about some of the Vancouver Island fun I've been having. From Cumberland's Big Time Out, to another magical Filberg Festival, to Parksville's Sand Castle competitions, to the Qualicum Beach Triathlon to Victoria's Pride Festival, the summer offered incredible weather for anyone who likes to soak up the Vancouver Island Experience.

One of the highlights of the summer had to be Cumberland's Big Time Out Music Festival. I was so impressed by the achievement of this funky little town that welcomed interesting music and characters to take over the streets for an entire weekend. A respectable amount of public drunkenness was encouraged as was great music including Toronto's wonderful Metric, plus De La Soul, Matisyahu, and You Say Party, We Say Die.. Even the food was great, with many family activities and diversions for all. Way to go Cumberland!

And the beaches. What beaches! The weather was perfect for copious trips to the many perfect swimming spots, lakes and rivers within a close vicinity of my home in Parksville.

I'll be going through my many video-tapes to help jar the old memory banks and share some of the beauty Vancouver Island has to offer.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Kids Eat Bugs - Hockey Team Visits the Bug Zoo

We just had our last trip with the novice hockey team, an Easter weekend tournament down in Victoria. One of the highlights was our trip to the Bug Zoo on Courtenay and Douglas. The kids loved handling the beetles and spiders and various creepy crawlies. The place had knowledgeable tour guides, interesting displays and a gift shop where you can buy chocolate covered ants, cricket lickit lollipops and these scrumptious little larva snacks. What kid can resist a chance to gross out the girls?

Monday, February 18, 2008

New Tofino Pics and Video

Had an enjoyable but quick overnight to Tofino, a spectacular destination on Vancouver Island's wild west coast. There's usually storm watching at this time of year but we were blessed with some fantastic sunny weather. Unfortunately my young city girl traveling companion was neither stoic nor adventurous, nor even appropriately dressed.

I soldiered on and had the best time I could under the circumstances. Though I saw some $49.00 and $58.00 specials posted I opted to spend the extra dollars on comfort. The Weigh West I stayed in had walk-in specials too. Very nice room, it's ocean front and holds the Dockside Pub and restaurant. It was a really fun little pub for dinner and afterwards. The whole town seems to be full of attractive young women which I appreciate, coming from a retirement / young family community such as Parksville.The hotel/resort also offers whale watching, bear watching , fishing excursions and more from their Dockside location. They're just gearing up for their summer hire and expect March to pick up substantially with the annual Pacific Rim Whalefest.

Here is an image gallery and HD West-Coast sunset video taken at one of the most spectacular locations in the world, MacKenzie Beach, Vancouver Island.

Monday, February 4, 2008

First Snowdrop of the Season

February 4th and here's a picture of the first snowdrop of the season. Quite late, if I'm not mistaken, seen here actually poking its head out of the snow at the tail end of one the colder winters I can remember. It's been hovering between -4 and plus 4 celcius for most of January around Parksville on Vancouver Island. The sight of it makes me think of spring and all the outdoor chores I'm looking forward to, pruning fruit trees, planting my hedge and generally crawling out from hibernation. When not at the rink, I prefer to spend my winters in front of the fire.

The sight of it also got me thinking of the summer to come, and in that spirit I finally got around to some footage from last year's vacation at Pacific Playgrounds Campground and RV Park. We had a great time there, hanging by the pool, tubing down Oyster River, strolling on the beach , biking around the campground and enjoying the family fun it offers.

For more Vancouver Island travel and tourism attractions and recommendations, visit