Subject: Re: Vancouver/Victoria -- advice needed!!
Hi Michele;

In addition to the other great ideas offered, I can recommend a couple of places we stayed on Vancouver Island last fall. One is only a 20 min. drive into Victoria, plus a very short distance from the Swartz Bay ferry at Sidney -- Cedarwood Inn. We had the James Island suite with full kitchen/separate bedroom (two queens) and the living room had a pull out couch. The unit was gorgeous -- watching the sunrise with a coffee on an ocean view balcony was such an amazing start to the day. Plus it's within a short drive or walk into Sidney -- with great restaurants or grocery stores should you choose to eat breakfast/ lunch ensuite.

The other property we loved was Tigh-Na-Mara about 30 min. north of Naniamo in Parksville -- a perfect location for driving north to Chemainus/Campbell River etc. or heading across to the Pacific side to Port Alberni/ Tofino etc. Be sure to stop for a walk through the old growth forest and stop at Coombs Country Market to see the goats on the roof. This resort has treetop condos with truly spectacular views as well as log cabins in the forest. It has a fantastic tidal beach as well which your kids will not want to leave. Actually we didn't want to leave here either!

A hint -- I love those insulated cooler bags that fold flat and can be stuffed in an outside pocket of a suitcase, or even used as a carry on. With a kitchen, I freeze bottled water/juices etc for ice packs and tote a picnic with us wherever we go for the day. No need to search for a restaurant -- we had a lot of envious looks (at least that's what I told myself!) as we snacked on smoked salmon, cheese, apples and butter tarts one day on a picnic bench in the Inner Harbour.

I know you'll enjoy your stay in BC -- in my ever so humble but terribly biased opinion, Vancouver Island should be designated one of our national treasures.

Anne Burlington ON