This week we took a break on Vancouver Island and had a chance to tour around outside of Vancouver – BC’s biggest city. We were in Victoria and then went out to Tofino and Ucluelet. That gave us three different places to compare.
You would not usually think of Victoria, our capital city, as a small town, but it feels like that sometimes. This comes from a number of things. Victoria is an accessible city. It is easy to get around. The people are friendly and the atmosphere is relaxed.
We went to Tofino and Ucluelet. These towns are small, though popular destinations for surfers, kayakers and those who want to chill on the beaches. Like other tourists we enjoyed the character of the place and wondered what made this place so popular.
The thing that we noticed was that there were virtually no chain stores in these little towns. Every place had a character of its own, some very odd! There are souvenir shops, selling art ranging from native to naff. But there were no KFC’s or Burger Kings or golden arches.
So, thinking back to Victoria, it was the character of its little shops, restaurants and coffee bars that adds to its small town feel. That too is something we appreciate about our home in Vancouver – the small neighbourhood places that give the place character. We are going to make sure we support them wherever we find them.