Nestled in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island, sits the urban centre of Courtenay. Only 6 kilometers away from its sister community (the seaside town of Comox), Courtenay's population of 26 thousand make their homes on some of the most picturesque rural countryside on the island. And with a large and steadily-growing population, Courtenay has become a thriving centre with numerous shops and restaurants as well as many parks and attractions.
Courtenay is an amateur paleontologist's dream come true. When dinosaur fossils showed up in the area around the Trent and Puntledge Rivers, Courtenay was designated as the first step of the Great Canadian Fossil Trail. Tourists can visit the million-year-old Puntledge River Seabed and dig for fossils of their own! And if you come up dry, get your fix at the The Courtenay Museum which plays host to countless specimens as well as the fossil of an elasmosaur, the largest marine reptile fossil in the entire province. But living marine life is just as enthralling as ancient oceanic fossils - something you'll discover at the Puntledge Fish Hatchery where you can watch from the underwater viewing area as various breeds of salmon are farmed.
Fiend for fresh air? Ramble through the beautiful Kitty Coleman Woodland Gardens which consist of two dozen acres of cedar-bark pathways that wind through over 35 hundred different species of plants. Of course, the ultimate fresh air experience is to be found just 25 kilometers west on Mt. Washington. Vancouver Island's alpine destination, this resort comes only behind Whistler in popularity and no surprise with its 60 runs, high-speed quad chair, fixed-grip quad, 2 triples, a double, a platter, a rope-tow and a vertical drop of over 500 meters. Mt. Washington has as much to offer mountain bikers and hikers in the summer as it does skiers and snowboarders in the winter. From heart-in-your-throat descending trails to scenic chairlifts and glorious hiking trails - even horseback trails, this amazing mountain with its panoramic views of Comox Glacier, Mount Albert Edward, the Strait of Georgia, Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland and Campbell River, is amazing 12 months a year.
Even those without the alpine itch can find amazing beauty in Courtenay's satellite communities. From the quaint ambience of Merryville and the heady summer bouquet of Black Creek's fruit orchards, to the salty charm of Comox' rustic seaside wharfs, this is one valley worth visiting.
Courtenay's waiting. Come say hi!
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