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Must-See Attractions

Maybe you want to play tourist in your own town or show your visiting relatives the sights. Maybe you want to learn something new or keep the kids occupied on a rainy day. There are lots of reasons to check out the following attractions on the Island.

Victoria

The Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is engaging, challenging and inspiring. Re-opened in May, AGGV will offer free admission to all visitors until July 5. Social distancing measures will still be in place in the galleries. This year’s 33rd TD Art Gallery Paint-In has been cancelled, but the organizers are looking at alternative options to share local artists’ work with the public and will provide updates at aggv.ca.

IMAX Theatre in the Royal BC Museum is temporarily closed but is still offering online video content thanks to Giant Screen Films. Some of the latest releases include: Dinosaurs of Antartctica, Hidden Pacific; Cuba: Journeys to the Heart of the Caribbean; Oceans 3D; Aircraft Carrier: City at Sea; Incredible Predators; and Mysteries of China. To view the film catalogue online, visit gsfilms.com. For ongoing updates on Royal BC Museum’s IMAX Theatre operations, visit imaxvictoria.com.

Mattick’s Farm Mini Golf is temporarily closed, but the market remains open. Stop by for an ice cream cone from Adrienne’s Ice Cream and choose from a rainbow of flavours. Social distancing indoor and outdoor seating along with take out and curbside pick up available. Or grab picnic ingredients from Red Barn Market and cycle the nearby Lochside Trail to a shady spot for a picturesque lunch break. Visit matticksfarm.com.

Miniature World, located within the Empress Hotel, is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am-4pm. The Greatest Little Show On Earth features over 85 miniature scenes. See the world’s smallest operational sawmill, marvel at two of the world’s largest doll houses, experience one of the world’s largest model railroads, visit the wonderful world of the circus, take a spaceship to the stars, travel through the Enchanted Valley of Castles and more. 649 Humboldt Street. For more details, visit miniatureworld.com.

Royal BC Museum is taking a phased approach to re-opening the galleries. Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the second floor Natural History gallery are now open. The First Peoples gallery will open August 1. The Becoming BC gallery will open September 7 and will complete the full re-opening of the museum galleries. The revised hours of operation are: Saturday to Tuesday and Thursday from 10am-6pm and Friday 10am-8pm. Closed to the public on Wednesday. Entrance is through the main doors facing Belleville Street (across from the Fairmont Empress Hotel). royalbcmuseum.bc.ca

Now in its 12th year, Theatre SKAM’S annual outdoor festival SKAMpede is fun for the whole family. A series of short 10-minute shows are presented along the Galloping Goose Trail starting at the Hub at 11 Esquimalt Road. Audiences travel from show to show either on cycling or walking tours. Theatre SKAM’s goal is to create a safe 2020 festival while still providing free entertainment to the community of Victoria. This year, all audience members must pre-book tour spot at skam.ca/skampede2020.

Peninsula

Butchart Gardens is open daily from 11am to 3pm, following protocols to allow for physical distancing, capacity monitoring and sanitary precautions. The 2020 summer fireworks displays have been cancelled. Check the website for further information on both present and future happenings. www.butchartgardens.com or 250-652-5256.

Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea in Sidney is a state-of-the-art aquarium and marine education centre focused on the amazing ecosystem of the Salish Sea. ‘Normal’ might not look very normal these days. However, perhaps the little things like a visit to see your favourite Salish Sea critter might make your day feel a little less strange. As the Centre gradually re-opens to the public, it is important to work together to keep the Centre a safe space for yourself, other visitors, staff and volunteers. The Centre, located on the waterfront off Beacon Avenue at 9811 Seaport Place, is open Friday through Sunday from 10am-4:30pm. www.salishseacentre.org

Westshore

Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site has limited access to visitor facilities and services. Visits are self-guided only. What’s open: parking lot, public washrooms in the parking lot, Upper Battery, Lower Battery, Belmont Battery, the beach, the nature trail (one way only), red chairs and picnic tables (bring a table cloth). Picnic on the grass or at the beach and watch the ships and wildlife while you eat. What’s closed: the Welcome Centre, all historic buildings, the causeway to Fisgard Lighthouse, Fisgard Lighthouse, oTENTiks, and all camping reservations until further notice, the historic field—closed due to invasive species management, the Garry Oak Learning Meadow, all washrooms onsite, with the exception of the parking lot public washrooms. All special events and interpretive activities are cancelled until further notice. 10am-5pm daily. For information, visit www.pc.gc.ca/en/lhn-nhs/bc/fortroddhill.

Westshore Motocross Park has reopened its track. Day riding passes are available for members first, maximum 50 people/day. If rider limits have not been met, additional riders will be accepted at the gate. Phone ahead. No spectators, with the exception of minor riders—parents of minor riders must also pre-register online and sign waivers. Come prepared with your own pen, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, tools, snacks and anything else you may need. Masks encouraged. Open Wednesday 11am-6pm, Thurs/Fri 11am-8pm. 2207 Millstream Road in Langford. www.westshoremx.com

City Centre Park in Langford has opened some facilities. There’s Mini-Golf, now open from 9am-9pm daily, drop-in ice skating at Westhills Arena, snacks at City Centre Grille and bowling at Langford Lanes. Playzone is temporarily closed. eagleridgecentre.com or 250-391-1738.

Duncan & Area

BC Forest Discovery Centre just north of Duncan. Check out the indoor and outdoor exhibits and a bird sanctuary. Ride on the narrow gauge steam train, and tour an old logging camp. Starting June 25, you’ll have access to all historical buildings, limited concession and train rides. Open Thursday to Monday from 10am-4pm. Steam locomotive on weekends. bcforestdiscoverycentre.com

Nanaimo & Area

Nanaimo District Museum is providing two types of opportunities to visit the museum this summer: Self-Guided and Bubble Buddies visits. Self-Guided allows you self-paced exploration of the museum. Bubble Buddies lets you explore the museum with an exclusive guide. The Museum Gallery (entry by timed admission only) and the gift shop are open. The Bastion remains closed, but the cannon firings take place on a modified schedule: Fridays, Saturdays and Stat Holidays at noon. Modified summer hours: Gift Shop, Wednesday to Sunday from 10am-4pm; Museum Gallery, Bubble Buddies Program 10am-noon, self-guided timed entry from 1-4pm. Book time slots ahead of time. Located in the Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 100 Museum Way. nanaimomuseum.ca

Coombs Old Country Market is along Highway 4A, on the way to Port Alberni from Parksville or Nanaimo. Wander the market, unique shops, galleries and studios for gifts, groceries and great food. Enjoy a selection of home-cooked treats and meals, as well as international foods. There’s lots to see. Be sure to look up when you’re outside the market—the goats on the sod roof live there throughout the summer. The Market is open from 9am-7pm, Billy G’s Donut Shop is open from 10am-sell out, and The Creamery for killer ice cream is open from 9am-6pm. oldcountrymarket.com

Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is open but with limited operations. The Cave Park is taking bookings for cave tours which are now being run under the new COVID protocols. Trails are open and cave tours are available by reservation only. Online reservations close 24 hours prior to tour. Face masks mandatory. Make sure you bring warm clothing that can be layered as it’s chillier in the caves than you might expect. You can also enjoy rock climbing, hiking, and more. 3905 Horne Lake Caves Road. Allow 45 minutes from Parksville, north on Highway 19 or 19A. hornelake.com

McLean Mill National Historic Site will be operating under enhanced COVID-19 measures. Open for self-guided tours with maps available outside the administration office. The Mill will also be offering guided tours in limited group sizes. Dates and times to be confirmed. Gift shop and Stem Pot Cafe are open daily, hours to be confirmed. Campground is open, with online booking available. mcleanmill.ca

Courtenay/Comox & Area

Courtenay Museum is closed temporarily. To view the museum’s YouTube Channel to learn more about the museum, about fossil collections and explore with some of the scientists who have been involved with discoveries and exhibits at the Courtenay and District Museum, visit www.courtenaymuseum.ca

Take flight with Mt. Washington’s newest adventure, the Eagle’s Flight ZipTour. Enjoy the rush of freedom as you fly down the face of the mountain reaching speeds up to 100 km/hr. The ZipTour will utilize outdoor spaces and large indoor spaces for safe operations throughout each point of your tour in summer 2020. Guides and guests will maintain 6ft distancing, sanitization, and use of PPE when appropriate. Book in advance online or over the phone to ensure availability. mountwashington.ca

Campbell River Museum. The museum is celebrating parades—online! We might not be able to celebrate Canada Day with a live parade this year, but we can visit Campbell River Museum’s virtual Canada Day Parade along with some others. Lucky for us, local photographers made a point of photographing almost every parade from the years 1948 to 1963. So take in a few of the floats during the first week of July when the Museum celebrates Canada Day. See First Nations history and art, pioneer history, and learn about floathouse living and the salmon industry in person at the Museum. Bring your lunch to enjoy in the picnic area. Open daily during the summer from 10am-5pm. crmuseum.ca

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Oct/Nov 2020

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