Ladysmith is a village of about 8 thousand people on the east coast of Vancouver Island about 80 km north of Victoria, the provincial capital. There is a commercial harbor, a marina, and a swimming beach, all within walking distance from the main street. You can rent kayaks or store your own in the same area. Most of the people I met were blow-ins, in love with the place and very friendly. It has a ‘little England’ feel with Union Jacks and portraits of the Queen in full regalia un-selfconsciously on display everywhere. It’s most famous citizen is Pamela Anderson who was born and grew up in Ladysmith. I didn’t see any portraits of Pamela, with or without regalia. (I am reliably informed one graces the local museum.)
My friend Gale and I went on a garden tour, visiting some beautifully done backyards and meeting their proud owners. The weather cooperated with sunshine, adding to the joy of the fresh air outing.
A big convenience for Ladysmith is that Air Canada (and others) flies to nearby Nanaimo Airport. Vancouver Island has a north-south railway, presently without passenger service. However there is a plan to upgrade it to add passenger service for backpackers, cyclists, and foot tourists. The railway serves Victoria, Ladysmith, Nanaimo, and points north all the way up to Port Hardy about 800 km away.
While I was in Ladysmith, Ms Von B and I took several spins around the neighborhood, most notably a day trip to nearby Chemainus and from there to Thetis Island by ferry for lunch of fish tacos at the Marina. The ferry serves as school bus for children living on the smaller islands, some of whom recognized Ms Von B as a Brompton and showed appreciation and interest.
Chemainus has painted murals celebrating its rich past all over the village making it a kind of open air historical diorama.