Vancouver Island Visitor Centre

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, Cumberland: Hours, Address, Vancouver Island Visitor Centre Reviews: 5/5

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre

Vancouver Island Visitor Centre
5
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Tuesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
About
Whether you are in the planning stages of your vacation or have arrived in the area and don't know where to begin, the Comox Valley's Vancouver Island Visitor Centre is your first stop to create an unforgettable vacation! The Centre also offers a fun and interactive introduction to Vancouver Island from ocean to alpine! Touch a live oyster, identify local trees or explore the region through a touch table of Vancouver Island images. Take a few fun photos of your own and enjoy free WI-Fi so you can catch up on the news at home. There are outdoor picnic tables, pet walking area and a children's play structure. There is even an e-vehicle charge point.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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5.0
57 reviews
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10
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JJawandering
Lethbridge, Canada314 contributions
Very helpful
Sep. 2021 • Solo
The person at the desk was very helpful with local knowledge and maps. He assisted me in making an accommodation booking for one night in the area. The centre has a lot of good information about this area. Worth a visit.
Written September 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

chc9533
Hong Kong, China804 contributions
Herring Spawn 2020
Mar. 2020
My wife and I were fortunate to have been many places in Canada and visited many visitor centers. They are literally all good. But we found VIVC-CV to be the best of the very best. We came here seeking info about the herring spawn. There wasn’t too much public info out there and the help, guidance and support given by Glen and Kazumi were simply unbelievable, well above and beyond our expectations!

The herring spawn was truly a nature’s spectacle. We want to share our experiences but TA doesn’t provide a good spot for posting this type of reviews which are not tied to one particular destination. As such, we decided to post it here. Hopefully people coming for herring spawn in future will also visit this site.

We stayed in Comox for 14-nights, Feb 29 – Mar 14. The very first thing we did upon arrival was visiting Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, Comox Valley. We collected tons of helpful info and great advice. Highly recommend that you make VIVC to be your first stop! We also read DFO’s Fishery Notice religiously. They gave updates at least daily and upto 2-3 times/day at the peak period, giving us good pointers on where to go.

Saw our first ever herring spawn on Mar 4. We were so glad to have arrived 4 days early and had the opportunity of exploring the potential spawning sites, getting ourselves familiar with the area, and doing some sight-seeing. Make sure you pick up a leaflet “Comox Valley Nature Viewing Guide”. We visited 14 of the 17 sites listed in the leaflet. Many of these later turned out to be spawning grounds and we had the benefits of knowing time needed to get there, where to park and the access trail to the beach, etc. We visited Denman Island on Mar 2 and leisurely checked out hotspots like Morning Beach, Fillongley and Boyle Point. Not only we enjoyed the discovery, such knowledge became invaluable assets afterwards.

Between Mar 4-14, we viewed spawning from the following sites. It seemed to move in a North to South direction (see our map).
- Kitty Coleman Beach
- Seal Bay
- Kye Bay
- Point Holmes/Cape Lazo
- Longbeak Point (Denman Island)
- Morning Beach (Denman Island)
- Fillongley (Denman Island)
- Fanny Bay
- Bowser
- Qualicum Bay
- Qualicum Beach
- French Creek
- Parksville Beach

Most of our viewing was done on land, but we also chartered a boat with Adam of All in Sportfishing as viewings from a boat was different. There were also places only accessible by boat. We went out 4 times from Comox marina:
- Mar 4: circumnavigated Denman Island, then returned north to Kitty Coleman and saw our first ever herring spawn ☺.
- Mar 8: spent most of our time in upper Lambert Channel along Komas Bluff.
- Mar 12: sailed south down Baynes Sound to Bowser.
- Mar 13: sailed along the east coast of Hornby to Flora Isle, then checked out Bowser before returning to Comox.

Our best viewings were:
- Mar 4 at Kitty Coleman: we viewed from the boat in the morning and went back again to the beach in the afternoon. Fishery was not yet opened. Seabirds and marine mammals were in their full strength. It was an unbelievable sight and truly a nature’s spectacle. Viewings from the boat and from the beach were very different and we were so glad doing both on this day!
- Mar 6 at Morning Beach: Fishery opened today. Over a hundred fishing boats were dotting the upper Lambert Channel. The spawning was more spread out, the feeding frenzy continued just not as concentrated as Mar 4 when the sky of Kitty Coleman was literally covered by birds.
- Mar 7 at Longbeak Point: Spent the whole afternoon here watching the bald eagles went fishing. We lost count but there must be over a hundred eagles. Unlike catching salmon when one fish can feed the family, herrings were much smaller and the eagles had to work harder. They seemed like bombers launched wave after wave. A couple of river otters were also there fishing and playing. We had a wonderful afternoon and so did the eagles!
- Mar 8 at Komas Bluff: There seemed to be less fish today and we didn’t see too many eagles around. Nonetheless, sea lions seemed to be working harder and we had some amazing photos taken from our boat which allowed us getting closer to the action.
- Mar 11 & 14 at Qualicum Bay and Parksville Beach: While we continued seeing the spawn zone in the water, there seemed to be less fish in our inexperienced eyes. The gulls were mostly working on the roe at the beach. Sighting of numerous species of seabirds was highlights of these 2 days.

According to DFO, seine fishery opened at 6:30am on Mar 6 and closed 26.5 hours later at 9am on Mar 7 after reaching a validated catch of 2,019 against the 2,025 ton quota. However, gillnet fishery took a much longer time. Gillnetters’ accumulated catches against their 7,215 ton quota were as follows:
- Mar 6: 850t (est.)
- Mar 7: 1,300t (est.)
- Mar 8: 3,500t (est.)
- Mar 9: 6,000t (est.)
- Mar 10: 6,800t (est.)
- Mar 11: 6,800t (est.)
- Mar 12: 6,800t (est.)
- Mar 13: 7,090t (est.)
- Mar 14: 7,090t (est.)
- Mar 15: 7,067t (validated)
- Mar 16: 7,067t (validated)
- Mar 17: 7,067t (validated, fishery closed)

We are no experts, our thoughts from a layman’s perspective:
- Gillnetters had the ability of catching more than 2,000t/day as seen on Mar 8 and 9.
- Yet they seemed to struggle since Mar 10 and their catches almost stagnated. When fishery closed on Mar 17, they didn’t even hit their quota. Maybe there were good technical reasons behind, otherwise we were tempted to think the herrings en mass weren’t there?!
- This almost coincided with our own observations. Since Mar 10, we have travelled up and down the coastline and found wildlife activities not as intense as before. Could it be that the predators were already full after days of feeding? We don’t know but it begs the questions on where were the herrings and more importantly, will they be coming back?
- Please forgive us for our ignorance. We were merely a one-time observer and lack the insights of the locals. But from people we met, including the good ladies at our motel, many dog walkers on the beaches, the passionate photographers, and the friendly islanders at Denman/Hornby were all telling us the spawning seemed to be getting smaller by year. Hope DFO will do the right thing to protect the well being of the herrings, a small but such an important species in our ecology.

The wildlife drawn by the herring spawn was spectacular. We are not birders, but we can still name the following birds: bald eagle, surf scoter, common goldeneye, great blue heron, bufflehead, long-tailed duck, mallard, greater scaup, common loon, red-necked grebe, brant goose, double-crested cormorant, brandt’s cormorant, dunlin, black oystercatcher, American wigeon, northern pintail, common merganser, hooded merganser, killdeer, snow goose, greater white-fronted geese, mew gull, glaucous-winged gull – thanks to the ebird app! There were birds that we couldn’t ID and surely we must have missed some others.

When we finally returned to Vancouver, the world has turned into a very different place. We both left YVR on Mar 17. My old friend flew home to Toronto and I departed for Auckland. Without prior knowledge, I took literally the last Air Canada flight that landed in Auckland 14 hours before NZ closed its border!

We counted our blessing of seeing what we saw, a special thanks again to Glenn for his guidance, much appreciated!
Written September 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Norm N
1 contribution
Very nice Visitor Centre.
Dec. 2019
The staff were very skilled on the Comox Valley activities, accommodations, museums, theatres, etc. If we have time, we will certainly take our 6 yr old grandaughter visiting from Limoges, ON to this centre, as it is very children friendly. Thank you.
Written December 28, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Norm, Thanks for letting us know how your visit to the Visitor Centre was. It is a very child friendly spot. We hope you bring your grandaughter up for a visit and if you do, please ask the staff for an I-Spy that she can work on while she's here. Kids love running around looking for the clues. Cheers, Glenn
Written February 15, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

SchumacherJack
Timmins, Canada536 contributions
These people are just so helpful
Sep. 2019
Although it took us a while to find this place (very poor signage from the Powell river ferry), once we got here we were very happy we made the effort. These people were just so helpful and helped us plan our entire stay on Vancouver Island. And the static exhibits were very interesting also.
Written November 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you for your review, we are working with the City of Courtenay on getting better signage. Its good to hear that we were able to help you plan your stay on Vancouver Island.
Written December 16, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Canucksontheloose
Victoria, Canada606 contributions
Informative!
Aug. 2019
I've been to many Visitor Centres so I find it ridiculous to be ranking them as an attraction. But this one is worthy of visiting. It has all the information (maps, brochures, etc.) you need for visiting the region plus friendly staff, comfy seating and a great gift shop. The interactive Exhibit Gallery is a separate space that shows off the specialties of some places on the Island, with great 3D displays and interactive screens. It was like being in a museum room, but learning about current regional activities and attractions. Way more memorable than reading a brochure. You had me with the airplane in mid-air in front of the building.
Written September 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Canucksontheloose Thanks for taking the time to let us know how much you enjoyed your visit with us. Our Snowbird (it's a real one too!) is a great draw for visitors...a highly visible symbol of our proud Air Force traditions here in the Comox Valley. Come back and see us the next time you are up in our area. Cheers, Glenn
Written October 27, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

knitter88
Ontario, Canada80 contributions
Interesting Centre
Sep. 2019
We stopped here to get some information on activities in the area. The staff were very nice and very helpful - we ended up following some of their suggestions which helped us round out our visit to the island. Our grandson loved the Discovery Centre!
Written September 22, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Knitter88, We thank you for taking the time to let us know you enjoyed your visit with us and on the island. Kids love our Discovery Centre and we always advise them they can make as much noise as they like in there....always appreciated it seems! We look forward to serving you again. Glenn
Written October 27, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Leslie R
2 contributions
Very knowledgeable about the area!
Aug. 2019
We were helped by two friendly women. They answered all of our questions & made great suggestions as to where we might spend our time. There is also a great gift shop! Definitely stop by...
Written August 27, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Leslie, Many thanks for your kind words. We're glad you found our suggestions helpful. Drop in again soon! Glenn
Written September 1, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Claire
Paris, France1,970 contributions
Great tips
Aug. 2019 • Family
If you staying in the Comox valley you should stop at the visitor center. They have a lot of information and the person on site are giving a lot of recommendation on what to do in the area
Written August 16, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi J9203, Thanks for sharing your experience at our centre. We enjoy passing on our favourite spots in the area for visitors to enjoy. Please drop in again when you are back on the Island. Glenn
Written August 17, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Maxine F
Courtenay, Canada33 contributions
Visitors from Quebec
Aug. 2018 • Family
I took some visitors from Montreal to see the Centre as well as my Grandchildren. We had a great time and the children enjoyed themselves. The adults learned a lot about our community. Great visitors Centre and all that live here should see it.
Written July 29, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hi Maxine, We're so glad to hear your visitors and grandchildren enjoyed their visit with us. Many local folks like yourself bring their out of town guests to the Visitor Centre to help them get oriented to the many attractions in the area. We hope to see you again! Glenn
Written August 4, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Scott L
Courtenay, Canada196 contributions
A great display of Island and Valley attractions
May 2019 • Family
Located near the Inland Island Highway the center has a rich collection of 3D displays of First Nations Art, the wildlife of the Island and the ocean, and it's many attractions. A Snowbird jet is mounted atop a pedestal outside the building and information on the area abounds. A very worthwhile stop.
Written July 1, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hello Scott, Thank you for your kind review and pictures of our centre! We are proud to display the art of Comox Valley Artist Randy Frank and have just entered a partnership with the I-Hos Gallery to showcase much more First Nations art. Drop in and see us again soon. Glenn
Written July 6, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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