The B.C. government has declared the month of August “Staycation Month”.
So, the government has finally caught on to what most British Columbians already know. We live in the most beautiful part of the country.
Let’s face it. You’re not likely to hear someone from High Level, Alberta, say “I don’t need to go anywhere this summer: I already live in paradise.”
I’ve been to High Level on many occasions. Anyone who says that is either blind, lying, or employed by the High Level Tourism Office.
But it’s a common phrase used in B.C. – particularly on Vancouver Island.
I heard it in our office more than once this summer, and I have to admit, I was more than a little jealous as seemingly everyone other than the “new guy” had at least a week or two to simply kick up their feet and soak in the spectacular weather we’ve had here in the past couple of months.
I am sure the cost of getting off the Island has more than a little to do with many families’ decisions to stick around during the holidays.
But the overwhelming opinion here on Vancouver Island is that (to steal an old ad slogan from an American beer) “it just doesn’t get any better than this.”
That mindset has not changed from my introduction to Island life a dozen years ago. For a lot of lifelong Islanders, a trip to Victoria is a major departure.
I have heard, on more than one occasion, someone say “I am looking forward to retirement, so I can travel. I’ve always wanted to visit Tofino.”
All joking aside, it’s tough to argue the “living in paradise” angle. There is so much to see and do here.
As our visiting son said last week: “No matter where you are here, you are 10 minutes away from a lake, a waterfall, a river and an ocean. You can see it all in an afternoon.”
And the greatest part about a “staycation” is that it boosts the local economy.
According to Destination British Columbia (www.destinationbc.ca) the tourism industry in this province generated $13.5 billion in revenue in 2012, and contributed $1.2 billion in taxes.
No wonder the government want us to “staycate.”
Owners and operators of local businesses agree wholeheartedly with the government’s August declaration.
So keep in mind, if you are staying put this summer, to treat your holidays like holidays. Don’t stay put to save money. Spend it. Go do something that you wouldn’t ordinarily do.
When I left the Island and returned to Alberta, I always lamented that I never tried one of those swimming with the salmon snorkel tours. I did not “get around to” try fly-fishing, and the West Coast Trail, which was on my bucket list when I arrived for my first tour of duty in 2002, remained on that list when I left five years later. It’s still on that list.
And I never did get to Tofino. But hey… you have to leave something for retirement, don’t you?
Terry Farrell is the editor of the Comox Valley Record