Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Story Ideas from Tourism British Columbia, Sept. 2012

Here is a captivating collection of Fresh Story Ideas from Tourism British Columbia.

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Gibsons: Seaside TV Town Takes It Beyond the Small Screen: In the hearts of most British Columbians, the town of Gibsons will forever remain the setting for The Beachcombers, one of Canadian television's biggest success stories (the weekly "dramedy" aired from 1972 until 1990). But given the quaint community's proximity to the ocean, perched on the hillside overlooking the harbour and islands of Howe Sound, there's little wonder these days why Gibsons is best defined by its scenery, artists and fishing boats. Want to see the small-screen wonder yourself? A quick hop, skip and a ferry ride from West Vancouver will deliver you to this sunny community that has long been a haven for creative souls.

Do: Two floors of exhibits at the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives tell the story of the region's history, beginning with its original inhabitants, the First Nations people of the area, right through to popular culture. Here, you'll also discover a wealth of memorabilia from The Beachcombers TV show, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Stroll through the village and peruse its quirky shops: from women's clothing boutiques to children's stops and bookstores, visitors are sure to unearth treasures and, perhaps, engage one of the colourful locals in some friendly banter along the way.

Take a Purple Banner Tour to explore the working spaces of the area's talented artists. From pottery to photography, crafters to painters, not to mention textiles and local First Nations artwork, the galleries and studios on the tour prove the perfect place to source your seaside memorabilia.

Fun in Gibsons is often free: down at the harbour, look seaward for ‘Flower Lady's Floating Home' — you'll know it when you see it — and be sure to stroll the waterfront path along the entire length of Gibsons Landing, from Armour's Beach to the marina. And if you're visiting in summer, follow your ears: a free concert series put on in the iconic harbour gazebo or at Winegarden Park is a harmonious touch to any visit.

Eat: There is perhaps no place as iconic to Gibsons as Molly's Reach, and yes, once again Gibsons has The Beachcombers to thank. The charming restaurant made almost episode-ly appearances in the program, but has also been featured in movies, such as Charlie St. Cloud, which starred Zac Efron. But it's not just cinephiles that love Molly's Reach; locals love it for the fresh BC seafood and Alberta beef on the menu, and Molly's uses local food suppliers as much as possible, with desserts baked daily in its own kitchen.

Smitty's Oyster House is the sister restaurant to Vancouver's long-standing Rodney's Oyster House, and Smitty's food reflects the same fantastic quality as its urban sibling. Located in a former marine repair shop, Smitty's is nestled beside one of Canada's few remaining working wharfs — and seafood straight off the boat is the happy result. A highlight? Watch the halibut and crab trawlers unload their catches as you dig into local oysters complemented by beautiful BC wines.

With a focus on local Sunshine Coast or BC-sourced ingredients, Chaster's Restaurant is the quaint community's fine dining choice. Here, it's the small touches that count, like house-crafted salad dressings that boast organic flax, olive and sesame oils blended with apple cider vinegar and fresh herbs.

At Waterfront Restaurant, every dining experience starts with a view of the harbour and Keats Island. From there it's your call: seafood, delicious steaks, a pasta bar and champion burgers are all on the menu.

Sleep: There's no better way to round out a holiday than good sleeps, which start in Gibsons at Bonniebrook Lodge. Private cabins and oceanfront rooms have amenities for every kind of traveller, and feather beds with Egyptian cotton linens may just keep you indoors. For a welcoming spot to rest your head, The Cedars Inn Hotel & Convention Centre has cosy rooms and is in close proximity to every seaside attraction.

At St. Andrews Retreat, suites ideal for couples are located in the Carriage House, which is set a comfortable distance from the Main House so you have your peace and privacy. To experience the sea by your side, try Captain J's Seaside Suite. A spacious room with sprawling deck, this is the place to bring the seafood you bought at the harbour, and chef up a storm in the full kitchen or on the gas barbecue. Don't feel like cooking? It's also an easy walk to Molly's Reach and many other local restaurants. After all, you may just want to visit a few Beachcombers haunts one last time before your ferry ride home.

For more information, or to find out what other adventures await on the Sunshine Coast, visit: www.sunshinecoastcanada.com.

To read more story ideas from the Vancouver, Coast & Mountains region, visit www.hellobc.com/vcmbcmedia.

Vancouver Island: Rest & Relaxation at Vancouver Island Coast Visitor Centre: As the bucolic Comox Valley takes its place among BC's most recognized artisanal culinary communities, Vancouver Island's new Coast Visitor Centre settles into the folds of the land as the region's premier information hub. Here, the $3.7 million centre boasts a shellfish touch tank, a climb-up tree, a Vancouver Island Marmot den and a playground to keep the kids entertained while parents make use of the in-depth, on-site info, sales and booking services and multi-media exhibition gallery that highlights the sights and sounds of the entire region. As a bonus for the environmentally-friendly traveller, green machines can be plugged in at the electric car-charging station, and all drivers can use the amenities at this well-appointed rest station. Open daily to the public. www.discovercomoxvalley.com

To read more story ideas from the Vancouver Island region, visit www.hellobc.com/vancouverislandmedia.

Thompson Okanagan: Wine, Women and 3 Mile Estate: At 3 Mile Estate Winery, near Penticton, you might say that a woman's work is never done — that is, if you're referring to the distinctive premium wines, produced in small batches, by winemaker Kelly Symonds. Indeed, Symonds leads her team in the production of pours that represent the balance of the small-lot vineyard's terroir alongside the team's fruit-to-bottle skill. The result? Gewürztraminer with bold lychee and grapefruit notes, a rich blackberry Cabernet Merlot and the citrus sweetness of the Late Harvest Viognier, each sips to savour in the estate's comfy guest rooms, which showcase soaker tubs and private balconies with vineyard and lake views. Art collectors take note: the winery is also home to local artist Janis Blyth's Okanagan Gallery. Whimsical and rich in colour, Blyth's paintings celebrate the playfulness of the vintage experience, with a focus on women in the world of wine — a happy tie-in with 3 Mile Estate Winery, which is, coincidentally, co-owned by sisters Colleen Gunther and Gayle Rahn. www.3milewinery.com

To read more story ideas from the Thompson Okanagan region, visit www.hellobc.com/totamedia.

Kootenay Rockies: Do It All, or Nothing at All, at Wing Creek Resort: To escape the hustle and bustle, sometimes you need a time out. Outside, that is. One such sanctuary: Wing Creek Resort, set near Kaslo amid the breathtaking beauty of the Purcell Mountains and Kootenay Lake, boasts 152 metres (500 feet) of lakefront, a cascading mountain stream and eight expansive hectares (20 acres). An ideal playground sure to play you out, sending you off to the resort's timber-accented cottages, surrounded by orchard and forest, for a well-earned evening's rest. (Bonus: each cottage has a private deck with lake views and a hand-laid stone fireplace, ideal for a romantic evening.) From the onsite hot-stone massages and reflexology at the Falling Water Spa to artist and yoga retreats, phenomenal hiking, mountain biking, boating, golfing and, in winter, skiing, in an environment this idyllic you can truly do it all ... or nothing at all. www.wingcreekresort.com

To read more story ideas from the Kootenay Rockies region, visit www.hellobc.com/krbcmedia.

Northern BC: You Know the von Trapps. Time to Meet the Hobsons: Intriguing families, like the von Trapps and the Swiss Family Robinson, have long captured our imaginations, and in Northern BC, the adventurous Hobson clan proves no less enchanting. At the aptly named Hobson History Museum in Vanderhoof, visitors can immerse themselves in an engaging story of a family whose patriarch, Rear Admiral Richmond P. Hobson, was a Spanish American War Hero turned Congressman with ties to American presidents, royalty, government officials, military leaders, explorers and inventors. In the 1930s Hobson's son, Rich Jr., moved to the region and established one of the world's largest cattle ranches, turning his adventures in the Canadian wilderness into three best-selling, non-fiction cowboy books. (Each tale was edited by Canadian literary giant Pierre Berton and Hobson's Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy even made its debut on the small screen.) And we can't forget Hobson's mother, Grizelda "Peachie" Hobson, a woman who blazed her own trail, and even counted Mark Twain among her family's distinguished circle of friends. How best to "meet" the Hobsons? Peruse the impressive collection of family heirlooms (including Peachie's family silver), stroll through the photo gallery that depicts cowboys and cattle drives, settle in for big-screen views at the 60-seat theatre or pull up a chair for hearty fare and, perhaps, some pie at Peachie's Café. www.hobsonhistorymuseum.com

To read more story ideas from the Northern British Columbia region, visit www.hellobc.com/northernbcmedia.

Fiona Tso
Tourism British Columbia
12th Floor, 510 Burrard Street Vancouver, BC V6C 3A8
Tel: 604-660-3679

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