Comox Valley just might be the Greatest Place in Canada

After previously writing in this spot about the modernized Seven Wonders of the World, I am intrigued by an invitation from the Planning Institute of B.C.

Nominations, including Ryan Road in Courtenay, are already coming in to help decide Canada’s Greatest Place.

Besides Ryan Road, the PCBC cites Nanaimo’s Commercial Street, Pacific Rim National Park, Cathedral Grove, Sydney by the Sea, Ladysmith, Chemainus, Beacon Hill Park, Victoria’s Inner Harbour and Gabriola Island as early nominees.

I’m not sure Ryan Road is the greatest place in the Comox Valley, let alone the country, but that is a sweet view of our valley and the magnificent glacier as you descend from the Comox peninsula.

Greatest places? The Comox Valley is full of them.

Filberg Lodge and Park. Mount Washington Alpine Resort. The Kingfisher. Strathcona Provincial Park (Paradise Meadows has been nominated). Stotan Falls (currently and regrettably off-limits to the public). Kye Bay. Goose Spit. Fifth Street in downtown Courtenay. Village Square in Cumberland. Hornby Island. Denman Island (nominated). Comox marina. The K’ómoks Big House.

The list goes on. How do you pick one?

Entries are categorized into public places, neighbourhoods and streets. You can search by province to quicken your inventory of existing nominees. 

As a neighbourhood, somebody nominated the entire Comox Valley, which should be something we could all get behind.

The contest is being run by the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) as a way to recognize the work of professional planners, and to join with all Canadians in a celebration of our country.

The contest is open to anyone. To participate, go to www.GreatPlacesInCanada.com, where you can nominate, write about, and post images of the place that inspires you the most.

By making a nomination, you qualify for prizes. You can also vote for places already nominated.
Votes will be tallied in real time so it will be easy to track the leading locations. Nominating and voting will close March 25.

A judging panel of planning experts will then select the finalists in late April, and the winners will be announced in May. Each winning location will receive a plaque, presented to the local mayor, and winning nominators will also be awarded.
If you’re looking for inspiration, pick up a copy of the 2010 Welcome to the Comox Valley guide from the Visitor Centre on Cliffe Avenue or the Record office at 765 McPhee Ave. in Courtenay.

Then there’s the Vancouver Island Book of Musts. Subtitled the 101 places every Islander must see, it comes in a tidy little package that you could carry around with you as you explore the most beautiful part of Canada.

The Comox Valley is improbably listed in the Southeast Vancouver Island chapter, although — considering Campbell River is halfway up the Island, southeast is better than saying we’re part of the North Island.

On the list of 101 musts are the Comox Valley itself (good call), Ford’s Cove on Hornby, the K’ómoks First Nation, Cumberland and Forbidden Plateau.

Compiled by Peter Grant, the Vancouver Island Book of Musts was produced by MacIntyre Purcell Publishing. For more information, visit www.bookofeverything.com.

P.S. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite Greatest Place in Canada.

In a way, expert marketing consultant Sandra Hamilton already has – with her feet. After deciding to move their family from isolated Pender Island, Hamilton and her husband considered all of Canada before relocating to Comox.

Those of us already choosing to live here cannot be surprised.


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