In the early 1900s, Royston was the major port for the Comox Valley logging industry. Logs were shipped here by rail, boomed in the harbour, then towed across to the BC Mainland to be made into lumber. This port was also used for transportation of coal mined in Cumberland.
William Roy and his family settled here in 1890, collaborating with a real estate promoter named Frederick Warren to lay out a townsite that they named Royston. The settlement could have been named as "Roy's Town", but could also have been named after Warren's home town of Royston in Hertfordshire - or both.
Royston is a small hamlet which is part of the greater Comox Valley region, 100 km (62 mi) northwest of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. It is situated across the harbour from Comox and just southeast of the municipal boundary of Courtenay.
Surrounded by mountains and fed by a glacier, Comox Lake has good freshwater fishing for trout and char year-round. A popular area to visit there are hiking and biking trails, a sandy beach, rock climbing areas, and boating.
The Comox Archives & Museum celebrates the rich maritime, pioneer and natural history of the coastal community. Come explore the stories, people and events that have made Comox unique.
The Comox Air Force Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the history and heritage of the Canadian Air Force on the West Coast, specifically RCAF Station/CFB/19 Wing Comox. The Museum begins with the earliest days of flight in British Columbia. As you proceed through the main gallery, the collection highlights some of the most important events and most significant figures in West Coast military aviation through the First World War and into the inter-war period. World War II is heavily chronicled within the next section of the museum, as emphasis is placed on important local events, starting with the building of RCAF Station Comox, in 1942. The museum's main gallery includes displays on current squadrons with local affiliations. 431 Squadron Snowbirds, who "migrate" each spring to Comox for over water training, are discussed with an eye to their role as public relations figures for the Air Force. Also, the museum celebrates 442 Squadron's role as a search and rescue squadron, as well as their historic significance as a fighter squadron during the war and the reserve "City of Vancouver" squadron afterwards. Finally, 407 MP squadron is chronicled, beginning with their time as an anti-submarine and shipping unit until today, when they serve in a very similar role.
Visit Filberg Heritage Lodge & Park, described as "a Jewel in the Comox Crown". This 1929 seaside resort was once the home of Bob Filberg, former president of the largest logging concern on coastal British Columbia. It has now become a popular venue for weddings, art shows and special events. The Lodge's warm interior complements the outside appearance with extensive handmade woodwork and stonework. The Gardens are a myriad of exotic and local trees and flowers - a wonderful place for a peaceful stroll or an afternoon picnic.
Comox is home to four marinas which hold over 500 pleasure boats and a commercial fishing fleet. The marinas are protected by a rock breakwater which is in turn protected by the Goose Spit which extends out into Comox harbour, providing one of the safest year-round harbours on Vancouver Island. Comox Harbour is a great launching spot for some of the best salmon fishing in the World. The Comox (municipal) Marina offers a boat launch and is located right next to Marina park with plenty of parking, washroom facilities and a play area for children. A two minute walk is all that is required to reach the shopping, pubs, and restaurants of downtown Comox.
During the winter, come here for alpine and nordic skiing. During the summer, there's mountain biking, hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, mini-golf, and camping. There are also special events every month.
Strathcona Provincial Park, designated in 1911, is the oldest provincial park in British Columbia. Located almost in the centre of Vancouver Island, Strathcona park is a rugged mountain wilderness comprising more than 250,000 hectares. Mountain peaks - some perpetually mantled with snow - dominate the park. Lakes and alpine tarns dot a landscape laced with rivers, creeks and streams. Summer in Strathcona is usually pleasantly warm, while winters are fairly mild except for the higher levels, where heavy snowfalls are the norm. Buttle Lake and vicinity and Forbidden Plateau - offer a variety of visitor-oriented developments. The rest of the park is largely undeveloped.
Some of the best saltwater fishing on the island, particularly for salmon, can be found in the waters of the Strait of Georgia north of the Puntledge River Estuary between Courtenay and Comox, and off Cape Lazo, King Coho, and Bates Beach, south of Black Creek. Because of its sheltered location and an absence of dangerous currents, the shoreline around Comox is well suited for rod fishing in a small boat. Shore angling for salmon is popular in Comox Bay from August to November. The closer you get to Campbell River, the better the salmon fishing becomes. Tidal flows in Discovery Passage churn up clouds of nutrients that sustain a complex food chain, which includes, near the top, tasty salmon.
The Comox Valley and Baynes Sound are designated as "Globally Significant" Important Bird Areas by the BC Federation of Naturalists and Bird Studies Canada. The second highest concentration of over-wintering waterfowl in British Columbia is found here due to the availability of protected waters and nearby farmlands which provide habitat and an abundant food supply. The Comox Valley is the winter home to approximately 2000 Trumpeter Swans, a magnificent bird that can be spotted in many fields during the day from October until March. As evening falls flocks of swans can frequently be seen in the Courtenay River estuary, easily viewed from the Courtenay Municipal Air Park Walkway located near the Visitor Info Centre. Numerous bird species that can be spotted here include 10 species of gulls and terns, 16 types of diving ducks, nine dabbling ducks and 13 species of raptors. A comprehensive Bird Checklist for the area can be purchased from the Visitor Info Centre along with a book of Nature Viewing sites produced by the Comox Valley Naturalist Society.
Jacques Cousteau rated the waters near the Comox Valley as the "second best cold water diving destination in the world", and it's easy to see why! The area is one of only a few locations where divers can view the elusive 12-foot long six-gill sharks. Add to this a high level of visibility, very slight fluctuations in seasonal water temperatures, massive boulders, steam ship wrecks (Capilano 1915, Gulfstream 1947) and a wealth of sea life including huge Steller and California Sealions, giant Pacific octopi, cloud sponges, wolf eels, ling cod, rockfish and colourful reefs and you are guaranteed a rewarding dive. Visit one of the local dive shops to rent equipment, takes lessons or guided trips or to get tips on the best diving spots in the area.
The Comox Valley is surrounded by wilderness and there are unlimited hiking opportunities. Great trails, awe-inspiring scenery and plenty of wildlife await. Stroll in the shadows of an ancient, old growth rainforest. Hike through a pristine sub-alpine meadow amidst an explosion of wildflowers and a cacophony of birdsong. Take the chairlift to the top of Mount Washington for a magnificent view of the entire Comox Valley framed by the deep blue of the Georgia Strait and the mainland's Coast Mountain Range. With more than 40 local parks, and countless kilometres of hiking trails through some of the most spectacular island and alpine wilderness anywhere on the planet, the Comox Valley beckons to be explored on foot!
Mount Washington, a 25 km (16 mi) drive west of the Comox Valley, is Vancouver Island's year-round alpine destination. Winter activities include downhill and cross country skiing as well as snowboarding and snow tubing. The resort is famous for its 55 km (34 mi) of cross country trails, and downhill skiers and snowboarders have their choice of numerous chairlifts. Other winter recreation activities include a snowboarding camp, snowmobiling, cross country skiing, and guided back-country skiing. Adventure operators offer heli-skiing trips into more remote areas.
Ocean and river kayaking and canoeing are popular pastimes in the Comox Valley. You can bring your own gear or rent it from one of the local outfitters. Most kayak and canoe rental outlets also offer lessons and eco-paddling tours which explore the Comox Valley's natural and cultural history. Paddlers can view seals and sea lions, ocean birds, lush forests, log booms and tugs and the majestic coast mountain range. The calm waters of Baynes Sound are perfect for beginners or those looking for a relaxed paddle, while faster moving rivers offer a more challenging excursion for experienced paddlers. The waters surrounding Denman and Hornby Island are wonderful paddling destinations and pristine fresh water lakes throughout the region welcome the gentle glide of engine-free explorers. Guided rafting trips are available within a short drive of the Comox Valley. Operators offer professionally guided river rafting tours ranging from the thrills of whitewater rafting to serene scenic river floats and snorkelling with thousands of returning salmon. These trips are suitable for adventurers of all ages.
Discover Comox Valley
Visitor Information Centre
101 - 3607 Small Road
Toll Free: 1-855-400-2882
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia