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Courtenay Travel Guide, British Columbia

Not far from Qualicum Beach is the lumber milling town of Courtenay. It is also close to Comox its twin town from across the Courtenay Estuary. The two towns are very similar in the fact that tourism has modified them very little even if they are popular destination for those who love outdoor recreation.

The city began its existence in the 1880s as a little settlement on the shores of the river bearing the same name. It gradually began to develop, but the two fires around the 1910s have somewhat stopped its development destroying part of what has already been done.

Downtown is just as untouristy with plenty of shops worth exploring and lovely streets to stroll. Streets still serve utilitarian purposes, making them far more appealing than if they were prettied up as tourist areas. Downtown is also the place where the busiest streets are, namely the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth streets and here is where you can have fun shopping or pick one of the restaurants that ensure you can dine out every night for a week and still be pleasantly surprised. Budget is never a worry with prices ranging from the fast-food drive thru to world class fine dining.

If you look for historic sights you will find that the only building that lasts from the time of the town’s first days is the Courtenay Hotel. Even if you will find in Courtenay a small-town atmosphere, downtown is a vibrant centre and offers plenty of attractions and entertainment possibilities of both high and low culture. Venues are not hard to find and you can choose according to your budget and preference. Whatever you fancy shopping in Courtenay is something not to be left out. It is a real enjoyment as you will find various shops with products of excellent quality and beautiful setting. From antique shops to hand made chocolate shops they are all worth a peek. Of course the best way to do it is by walking and the centre is quite compact and pedestrian friendly so you can easily visit it in one day.When you visit the Comox Valley, your greatest challenge will be deciding what to do first! Outdoor enthusiasts will find no end to the activities available in the Valley.

Maybe the most appealing thing about Courtenay is that it has a particular unique charm that quickly makes you fall in love with it, and just to make your visit even more pleasant parking is free. Maybe partly these were among the reasons why the town was considered to be the most attractive on Vancouver Island. And indeed year after year people are coming here to enjoy its charm.If you are interested in the history of the place there is the Courtenay District Museum & Paleontology Centre. Located downtown, it focuses on preserving the preserving the natural and cultural heritage of the gorgeous ocean-side Comox Valley. It is a highly appreciated institution which has been awarded the 'Best of British Columbia'.

It has a large number of exhibits including a collection of carvings and masks, but what attracts most visitors is the exhibit of fossils, the most famous being the skeleton of an elasmosaur. Guided tours are offered as well as a trip to a local dig.

Explore the incredible surroundings, paddle down pristine rivers, hike and ski the alpine heights, browse an amazing array of unique shops, take in a live theatre performance or art show, experience the burst of genuine flavor that comes from food fresh from the farm and ocean and you will say that you have had the time of your life!

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