Quirky Attractions in the Kootenays
Unique, historic, and cultural gems to visit.
Food and drink can offer an enlightening glimpse into a place and its people. Add a keen, local guide to the mix, and your taste of British Columbia may result in a fresh perspective on the province, with delicious results. Here are 10 edible tours that can be done in a day.
There’s no better way to immerse yourself in West Coast life than catching and cooking your own dinner. With Swallow Tail Tours, fine dining on the beach is the perfect dénouement to a three-hour dungeness crab adventure that will have you casting your own traps from a dock, identifying males and females (the ladies go back into the water), and, finally, preparing your catch with an expert.
If fine dining isn’t for you, opt for a taste of BC’s biggest city during the World’s Best Food Truck Tour. This two-hour walking adventure hoofs through downtown Vancouver in search of West Coast street food, including Japadogs (Japanese-style hot dogs), fish tacos, and spicy chocolate desserts. The best part? You’ll skip the lineups, thanks to your VIP status.
This self-guided, one-day exploration of food and farmers will help you better understand Pemberton’s agricultural cycle, while you cycle. Travelling approximately 45 km (28 mi) along Pemberton Meadows Road, you can see and sample as much or as little as you like—be it organic fruits and vegetables, homemade treats, or local crafts. As a bonus, you’ll connect with producers on their home turf. Tip: make sure your bike is outfitted with a big basket for your new-found treasures.
*The event is held on the third Sunday in August; for 2018, you’ll show your pedal power on August 19.
Bowen’s proximity to Vancouver means it’s the quickest way to experience island life—including local flavours. The Savoury & Sweet Bowen tour offers leisurely indulgence with guided seasonal sampling of everything from handmade pies to French bistro fare. Seven or more stops—including island restaurants, a heritage orchard, and the self-proclaimed world’s smallest candy shop—pepper this outing that spotlights the best of Bowen.
Vancouver-based Vine&hops offers an excellent way to explore the Fraser Valley’s burgeoning wine scene without wheels. You’ll stop at four wineries in six hours—just a hop, skip, and a sip from Vancouver’s city lights—sampling pours at establishments like Chaberton Estate Winery, Vista D’oro Farms & Winery, Township 7 Winery, and Backyard Vineyards. You’ll learn about the wine-making process at Chaberton, enjoy snacks throughout, and settle in during a locally infused lunch at Backyard Vineyards, your final stop.
The Cowichan Valley’s warm, fertile landscape is an ideal setting for wineries, cideries, farms, and cheesemakers. All you need is a guide. Enter Vancouver Island Expeditions and their Taste of the Cowichan excursion that features stops at notable wineries and local producers during a day-long countryside cruise. Sip wine and nibble on artisanal cheese. Savour lunch on a pastoral patio and soak up the sun.
For an unlikely pairing of wine and wildlife, sign up for a Wine and Whales Tour in BC’s Cowichan Valley. Brought to you by Cheers Cowichan and Ocean EcoVentures, this day-long outing features a visit to three of the valley’s top wineries before you set sail on a whale-watching vessel from Cowichan Bay to look out for orca, humpback, and minke whales, alongside Steller sea lions, bald eagles, and more in their natural habitat. Cue the sunset.
More people per capita ride their bikes in BC’s capital city than anywhere else in Canada, making cycling in Victoria one of the best ways to enjoy a slice of urban life. Eat Drink Pedal’s rolling feast promises four hours of two-wheeling through pretty neighbourhoods to sample handmade pizza and ice cream, plus a few surprises. If you want to cruise like the cool kids, consider upgrading your ride to an e-bike.
The sunny city of Kelowna is best viewed from a patio—so say the folks at Okanagan Foodie Tours. During their guided three-hour Patio ‘n Pubs outing (one of three food-focused offerings), you’ll explore the city’s Cultural District and make five stops to sample fare that includes authentic Mexican tacos paired with salt-rimmed margaritas, and steamed pork buns served with craft beer. Bonus? Bellies full, you’ll seek out photogenic city landmarks and hear insider intel about the city and its people.
Since the city’s early Gold Rush beginnings, Kamloopsians have done things their way. It’s made for some interesting history—and even better stories—best told by the folks from ACT Adventures. During their downtown excursion, participants hear tales of the city’s rough-and-tumble past; for an additional fee, you can sample reds and whites from local wineries and pulls from select craft breweries, paired with nibbles from favourite local haunts.
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