This is not an Oprah Favourite Things List, because everything I could list, like favourite chocolates, shoes, coffee and more, would highlight some of the great shops and boutiques in the valley, but unfortunately not all of them can be mentioned. So, I will focus on my list of favourite things that do not need to be purchased, but are a gift to all of us who call this valley home.

First, I fell for the beautiful views at the Comox Marina. Since July, I must have enjoyed more than fifty cups of excellent coffee, while admiring the grace and presence of the glacier and mountains across the water. My friends back East are probably very tired of the many versions of this splendid vista which I photographed and posted. From fog to sunset, every visit reminded me of how lucky I was to live here.

Then, there was Fairy Lane and I thank the town of Courtenay for creating it in Lerwick Nature Park. How cool is that place! I am not being fanciful when I say that the way the light shimmers through the trees and plays with the many creative little houses, wooden sculptures and gifts left by young and old alike makes one wonder about the traditional Irish stories of the woodland fairies. I may have glimpsed a shimmer or two from the corner of my eye and this would always make me pause and smile.

Next, the amazingly well tended trees, shrubs and flowers along the streets gave me the impression that I was walking in an endless botanical garden. Having lived in Montreal, I have seen one of the most well respected versions in North America, but the Comox Valley also boasts an incredible variety of plants from all over the world. Needless to say, the size of the trees on Vancouver Island can definitely put our own small human stature, both physically and metaphorically, into perspective. These glorious giants are not only the outside lungs which breathe with ours, but they stand in unique family groupings. Not one forest or woodland which I walked through was the same. Each had its own energetic signature, just like our neighbourhoods.

Finally, some of you may take this next thing for granted, but I was astounded at the idea that you can pick fresh blackberries every morning for two to three months no matter where you walked. Of course, I was forewarned not to lean in too much since the thorns can be quite tricky to extrapolate yourself from, but the tasty bounty was always worth it.

As grateful as I am for the natural beauty and abundance of both plant and wildlife in the Comox Valley, the friendliness of the people who live here makes it one of the most special places on this planet. As Oprah would say, “This I know for sure”.


Catherine Hedrich

Editor in Chief, Tide Change