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Notes From the Editor

December 2014

It really has been a wonderful year on the Island. I can’t remember a summer that was more conducive to exploration. 

Over the years it has been our pleasure to promote tourism on Vancouver Island on a volunteer basis, but the times they are a’changin’.

In the new year we will be charging nominal fees for new directory inclusions. Those of you that are currently in the database have a lifetime inclusion at no additional charge other than a nominal fee should you need content (events advertising) or image upgrades.

In an effort to keep the costs to an absolute minimum we will be soliciting National accounts that are committed to the promotion of Vancouver Island tourism.

We will be making some changes to the website to improve the visitor’s experience. We have recently added a text search by destination on the Trip Planner. More changes to come in the new year.

If you have any comments or have a special road trip to share, drop us a line.

We at Elm Hill Car Tours wish you a healthy and prosperous 2015.



July 2014

Our last edition of Elm Hill Car Tours featured many of the marine pubs that pepper our coast. We continue to make a great effort to visit as many pubs as possible and I must say that on every visit we were impressed with the overall service and quality of food.

As there is no chance of buying a boat for this season we wondered what to do. How could we satiate the need for cruising the Island’s coastline? This was the inspiration for Walk-ons and Water Taxis. Here we have a group of businesses that are able and willing to take you wherever you wish to go.

This edition focuses on the Alberni valley and what it has to offer. We were disturbed by an article claiming that Port Alberni was a lousy place to visit. Our experience was quite the opposite. We found the locals to be friendly and informative, an arts community that is vibrant and engaging, restaurants purveying the best seafood anywhere, all located in a city that is steeped in historical importance. What’s not to like?

On a sad note we have written an article on the last voyage of the Kalakala. She was an icon in her day and currently is barely staying afloat. When preserving culture hinges on profitability, our culture suffers.

Anyway, have a safe and happy summer and let us know what you have been up to. If you wish to voice your opinion on this or any other matter contact us

May 2014

Up and down the coast you will find derelict vessels at anchor and many others in various states of decay on our beaches. This is tantamount  to dropping off your old car in your neighbour's front yard and walking away. Not only are these abandoned vessels an environmental hazard but potentially a navigational hazard should they break away from their mooring or float off the beach.

The Squamish Steamkeepers recently pulled 8 derelict boats from a herring spawning channel in January hoping that the spawn in February and March will not be effected.  About this same time a derelict tug sunk leaving a sheen of diesel across the upper Mamquam Blind Channel.

This photo is of a vessel that broke from its mooring and drifted ashore beside the Dinghy Dock Pub. For months it has remained in the water waiting for the next storm to tear it apart on Protection Island’s  rocky shore. It is a mystery that the boat’s owners aren’t located and charged for the cleanup. Perhaps those relatively intact could be towed to an appropriate spot and sunk creating a habitat for fish and a divers destination. Only time will tell. 




February 2014

No sooner had we wondered where our winter went than boom, 3 inches of the white stuff and plunging temperatures! It wasn’t anything like the weather endured by our brothers in central Canada but good heavens, this is lotus land, it's not supposed to happen here! I always wondered where the expression ‘lotus land’ came from.  In Homer’s Odyssey the Ithacan soldiers dined on lotus leaves which sapped their desire to fight. Sounds promising. Then I read an article by Saanich journalist, Bruce Hutchison, where he discussed the year round trials we west coasters must endure. It appears that we don’t live in the favored territory where snow hides the debris  of streets and backyards, uncut lawns, unweeded flower beds and other essential work neglected. No, we are outdoors raking up leaves, pruning fruit trees and thinning out daffodils lest they take over. When we brought this fact to the attention of our eastern friends, they expressed little sympathy for our lot in life. Go figure. Maybe I’ll go out and prune the grape vines. Ahhh, life in lotus land.

Our spring edition will be going to the dogs. That’s right, we will be publishing dog friendly accommodations and an interesting piece on the Coast Salish wool dogs.

On a more contentious issue we are looking into the Harper Government’s green lighting of the Norwegian farm salmon industry. A few days after the ‘green light’,  Marine Harvest (one of the 3 Norwegian operators) was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.  


July 2013

We cruised out of Cowichan Bay on a sunny day and headed south to do some whale watching as we heard that there was a super pod of Orcas gathering around San Juan Island. A super pod is when the 3 resident pods get together and have what can be best described as an Orca jamboree.

Even though prepared we didn’t expect  to see the number of whales (about 70) cavorting around us. Talk about a humbling experience.

Captain Lance of Ocean Ecoventures identified individual whales by name based on their ‘saddle’ patch. It turns out this giant pod is ruled by the oldest known Orca, a 101 year old matriarch known as  ‘Grandmother’. The pod goes where and when she dictates and I’m certain she lets the young ones know what she expects to have on the menu when they get there.  This was a great adventure and a must see.

While gathering information for future articles we ran across some little known facts, maybe only little known to us, but we decided to share some of them on the ‘Did You Know’ page anyway.  

Have a safe and healthy summer and keep letting us know of the special places you find along the way.


March 2013

Where did the winter go? We were going to publish a story on winter driving but to be honest we had maybe a day and a half of winter this year. Although we didn't get snow on the coast, the mountains were buried. What I don’t understand is why people insist on entering the backcountry or going out of bounds when the avalanche warnings are at their highest.   Not only is this behavior hazardous to your health but puts the rescuers in harm’s way as well.  It’s just not fair.

Lately our focus has been on the upcoming spring edition of You must come back and check out our articles on Canada’s first cross-country road trip, wine tours of the Saanich Peninsula and the Cowichan Valley, a circle tour of the Sunshine Coast and a wonderful trip up to Sointula and Alert Bay that was sent to us from E. James of North Vancouver.

As always we welcome your ideas, critiques and anything else that will ensure the Elm Hill experience is a fulfilling one.


January 2013:

We greatly appreciate the ongoing input we have received from the visitors to our website. The majority of suggestions have centered on the site's functionality and speed and then on January 21,  'Blue Monday', known as the most depressing day of the year, we received the following poem which reminded us that there are few places on earth where wilderness is but a short drive away.

Cougars, bears, badgers and wolves
and salmon making their beds;
bats, wildcats and weasels in beige
and seals with glistening heads.
Wilderness being one step away
but shelter is close at hand.
An island removed from the world of today
and loved by all in this land.



Image Courtesy of Vintage Roadside