Trans Canada Highway

Onwards south to Victoria today after a wonderful breakfast of lemon waffles with mixed berries and warm maple syrup and freshly ground coffee. If you do get to Canada it is well worth seeking out the B&Bs to stay in rather than hotels or motels as in my experience they provide a great place to stay with some wonderful hosts and extremely inventive breakfasts – much more interesting than the “full English”. Actually one of the best places we have stayed in was a tiny B&B in Toronto  with a brilliant chef where I first experienced the Canada blend of sweet and savoury for breakfast – omelette with a slice of watermelon on the side!

We awoke to grey skies but fortunately it was still dry. We had considered crossing over from Crofton to Vesuvius on Salt Spring Island and driving down to Fulford for the ferry over to Swartz Bay. The island is unique in the Gulf Island chain with diverse and fascinating artists’ studios, bakeries – Salt Spring Bread and Laughing Daughters Bakery – cheese factories, a lavender farm, a vineyard, textiles, potters, jewellery makers, glass art, wood turners and many, many artists.

But given that most places appear to be open by appointment only and some close from the end of September, we decided to drive straight down the Trans Canada Highway 1 through the Cowichan Valley from where it becomes Malahat Drive named after the Malahat First Nation.

The Malahat Drive is one of the most beautiful roadways in the world with viewpoints providing scenic vistas of the Saanich Inlet, the Saanich Peninsula, Salt Spring Island and the Gulf Islands in the distance. It begins just south of Mill Bay and takes a 25 km winding and steep route over the 365m Malahat Summit to end in the Goldstream Provincial Park which is very busy during November’s salmon spawning run. The park has several hiking trails and is best between April and June when the wildflowers are in evidence.

We drove all the way without stopping so there are no photos from this stage of the journey, but in August 2005 we diverted off the highway onto the 1A to Chemainus, a small town snuggled in between a mountain range and the Stuart Channel. Mining, fishing and forestry were the original industries that gave work to many Chinese who worked in “bull gangs”. Later they were joined by Japanese, Scots and Germans looking for riches in the mines and staying to work the forests and on fishing boats. And the Cowichan Valley has been home to The Original First Nations peoples and their ancestors for generations. When the lands’ natural resources started to dwindle and Chemainus was in danger of becoming a ghost town it found a new lease by inviting artists from around the world to paint huge murals on the sides of buildings. Thus becoming a famous tourist-attraction. Although quite kitsch, there is a kind of wonderment that makes you want to see more. And many of the murals have very interesting tales to accompany them.

Click on a photo to see the slide show and more information about each mural.

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I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

23 thoughts on “Trans Canada Highway”

        1. We(e) were there in October, albeit the beginning and had mostly good weather, which was amazing for the west coast. If I had 2/3 weeks then I’d split my time between the island and Vancouver. You can also go over to Seattle for a few days if so inclined as that is not far away. In fact we nearly did return to the airport via Seattle (passenger clipper ferry across from Victoria then coach up to Vancouver airport) only we thought we would be rushing it a bit. Even the pacific west coast can be extremely photogenic in the stormy weather. I wouldn’t spend all that time just in Vancouver, though you could drive a loop up to Whistler, along the Ice Parkway, Jasper, Banff and then back to Vancouver which would be interesting – that was my second choice, but I thought October might be too miserable and we wouldn’t get the views.

        2. I’m doing dog sits so would be tied to one place. Just missed out on a San Francisco one which was perfect but was too scared to mention it to Mr C until too late.
          We are attempting to celebrate a wedding anniversary in the US of A and I’m trying to extend me enjoyment 🙂

        3. That sounds like a great idea – I would have never thought of doing that overseas! In that case probably Vancouver as there is more to do if the weather is grim and loads to do if it is not. You can always get a float plane across to Victoria for a few hours if you want to celebrate in style 🙂

        4. as a starter the site is `trusted house’ and when you sign up you get house sits 24 hours in advance of the ones you will see when you look now.
          There do seem to be a lot from B.C.
          I’m cross with my self for the one i missed in SF.
          Victoria does look beautiful.

  1. Amazing murals Jude! I have been to Vancouver and loved it, but would love to explore more of Canada. I really felt like I was there reading this and the breakfast sounds yummy…lemon waffles, mmmmmm 🙂

    1. I liked Vancouver too, but found the island even better – so many diverse areas. There’s not a lot we haven’t uncovered on the mainland, but there are loads of smaller islands that are calling out to me!

      Thanks for stopping by Sherri – hope it has stopped raining in your part of the country 🙂

      1. Must be beautiful. Been raining all day today, easing off now. Think we are in for warmer weather again towards the end of the week, hope for you too 🙂

        1. Sunshine and showers (some quite heavy) but still warm and at least the rain means I don’t have to lug the watering-can out every evening 😉

  2. Love the murals, and have commented on them. I am tasting those waffles as I type! (Not literally, unfortunately) Fabulous continuation of some great posts about that holiday. I have really enjoyed them. Regards from Norfolk, as always, Pete. x

    1. I love lemon pancakes, but haven’t done them with the berries – don’t know why, except I’m not really a breakfast person unless someone makes it for me! Still got Victoria to come Pete, then I’ll add a few about going to the north of the island.

  3. Wow, Jude, these murals are wonderful. I would have gone out of my way to see these without hesitation. I especially love that one with the Japanese ladies.

    1. Wow! I am impressed you found this post! Canada is lovely and Vancouver Island my favourite place in the world.

      1. I’m also impressed with your Canada travel page. Such a great idea to put all your trips as a list, so people can find them easily. We lived in Vancouver for three years and went for one day to visit the island – no photos left from that time ( ~ 1996…). Other than that, my husband and I enjoyed mainly the Atlantic Canada (we travel…). I still have a lot of post to make…

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