Our 2014 tour of Vancouver Island was precipitated by the
SPAADS (Sabre Pilots of the Air Division Squadrons) reunion
in Victoria 11-14 September 2014. In order to make better use
of our flight to Victoria, we decided to spend some time touring
the island before the reunion.|
We flew on Aeroplan points, at a cost of $627.41, including $327.85 for the 9671 points that I lacked for the trip for the two of us. If I had had the 50,000 points necessary, it would have cost us only $299.56 for airport taxes, fees and surcharges.
The only Aeroplan-eligible flight available to Victoria for the time frame we had decided on left Toronto at 8:05 PM Tuesday 2 September to arrive at the Victoria airport in Sidney at 10:18 PM, which decided us to stay overnight in Sidney the first night. There was no available return flight the afternoon of the Sunday that the reunion ended, so we spent another night in Sidney before arising at 4 AM for our 6:40 AM Monday departure to Toronto.
The weather on Vancouver Island the whole time we were there was sunny and warm, temperature in the low twenties, with just a few drops of rain early one morning. We noticed that all the lawns were burned brown, and a lady who lives there told us that that is normal in summer, but they'll green up when the rains arrive in the fall.
Road transportation is interesting. There is one major highway near the east side of the island from Victoria in the south to Port Hardy in the north (500 km). From Victoria to Nanaimo (110 km) it is Hwy 1, the Trans Canada. At Nanaimo the Trans Canada route goes by ferry to Vancouver, and thence to Saint-Johns, Newfoundland, 7800 km east. From Nanaimo north to Port Hardy (390 km) the route is Hwy 19, with the more scenic Hwy 19A along the coast from Parkesville to Campbell River (120 km).
From Victoria to Campbell River (265 km) the road is mostly 4 lane, except through the Malahat Trail just north of Victoria, where it is two lanes with a third passing lane where needed. From Campbell River north to Port Hardy it is two lanes.
The speed limit is much more logically defined than elsewhere that we have travelled. In built-up areas it is 80 km/h, increasing to 90 as the habitation thins and to 100 out in the country. Between Nanaimo and Campbell River, where there is no habitation, the speed limit is 120 km/h. On the two lane road from Campbell River to Port Hardy the limit starts at 80 and increases to 90 then to 100 km/h in unihabited areas.
There are no interchanges. All cross roads are controlled by traffic lights, with the speed limit reducing from 100 or 120 to 90 as one approaches a traffic light. Since the traffic is generally light, this does not cause bottlenecks (except for construction delays).
There are only a few roads toward the west coast of the island and most of them end well short of the Pacific Ocean. Sort of gives the impression that the Pacific Ocean is either inaccessible or looked upon as an enemy.
Hwy 14 along the south coast from Victoria to Port Renfrew.
Hwy 18 from Duncan to Lake Cowichan (and thence to Port Renfrew by secondary road, tarred gravel surface).
Hwy 4 from Parkesville to Ucluelet and Tofino on the Pacific Rim (even there it is not easy to see the Pacific Ocean).
Hwy 28 from Campbell River to Gold River (still a long way from the Pacific).
Roads to Port Alice and to Coal Harbour (both a long way from the Pacific), from Hwy 19 between Port McNeill and Port Hardy.
The photos on the following pages are not intended to be scenic, but rather to act as a memory album for the Island we visited. The small photos can be viewed in larger size by clicking on the photo. Then click Back to return to where you were.
Ucluelet and Tofino|
Southwest Coast Circuit
SPAADS 2014 Victoria