When you tell someone, “I’m from the Comox Valley,” what do they think?
Do they assume that you’re a granola-eating tree hugger who loves the ocean, or maybe that you’re over the age of 65? It’s possible they’d ask you if it’s hard to find work here, or if you struggle to get by on a less-than-stellar wage compared to the rest of the B.C.
Maybe they would even ask you, “Hey, isn’t Pam Anderson from there?”
To outsiders, being from the Comox Valley can mean many things, and come with even more stereotypes.
To us, we know it means how lucky we are.
We get to spend our summer days at Comox Lake and spend our summer nights around a fire at the Goose Spit with friends. We get wet and mild winters, beautiful autumns and early (sometimes very early) springs while the rest of the country is still buried in snow.
We get to live in a place that’s great to raise a family and even better to retire in, and the views aren’t bad either.
Like all places, the Valley has its downsides, but they’re definitely outweighed by the upsides, which is why many people continue to move here, and why I decided to move back.
When I was a teenager, I swore that once I got out of the Valley, I’d never move back home. A lot of us felt that way and couldn’t wait to get out of here. Maybe it’s because back then there wasn’t a lot going on here for your typical pre-smartphone-era teenager (especially where I lived; in Comox), but maybe we just didn’t realize how good we had it. It’s safe to say both are probably true.
Now in my 30s, I know the value of the Valley, so my husband and I left behind our high incomes of the oil and gas industry in northeast B.C. to settle down here, where I was born and raised, where my family is and where my friends have returned to start their own families – the next generation of the Comox Valley.
This place has a long past, a rich First Nations culture and a bright future. Everywhere you go has somebody’s memory attached to it, whether it’s the old boat launch at Point Holmes, a stool at the Waverley Hotel or a bench at the Air Park. Everything here has a story, and I can’t wait to share them with you.
Katie Maximick is a freelance columnist for the Comox Valley Record