John McKinleyBlack Press
The acclaim may have become routine, but it is never boring.
Not when it involves going to New York City and listening to people from some of the most beautiful places on Earth tell you how great you are.
The readers of Travel and Leisure magazine have once again voted Vancouver Island as Canada’s top island destination, headlining a fistful of honours collected by Island tourism professionals in the prestigious annual World’s Best Awards, honouring the finest tourism destinations in the world. Vancouver Island has finished among the top three in its category every year since 2001.
“Island life in Canada is perhaps a road less traveled: the island destinations that our voters rated are a departure from the aqua-blue water, piña coladas, and white-sand beaches you typically imagine when you daydream about your next island getaway,” writes Travel and Leisure’s Ellie Storck. “What these oases do provide is quite unique: natural Canadian beauty, ample opportunity for adventure, local island charm, and some of the best seafood in North America.
“Equal parts romantic and wild, Vancouver Island has nabbed the number-one spot for two years in a row. As one reader says, ‘from wilderness to the culture of Victoria, the island offers a wide range of activities in a small locale.’ Visitors have the opportunity to see Vancouver Island from many perspectives: approach by seaplane, summit craggy mountains blanketed in dense forests, or take an epic whale watch. For those undeterred by the possibility of storms or persistent fog, Vancouver Island is an incredibly rewarding — and deeply Canadian — destination.”
The World’s Best awards are selected by Travel and Leisure readers, who are asked to rate destinations on a variety of criteria, including natural attractions, beaches, activities, sights, food, friendliness, and overall value.
The data was gathered through single-ballot digital polling through a four-month period that began in November of 2015.
Victoria was named the third-best city in Canada, behind Vancouver and first-placed Quebec. Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn finished third and Langford’’s Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa tenth in the Canadian Resort Hotel rankings, while Victoria’s Magnolia Hotel and Spa was seventh in the Canadian City Hotels category.
Tourism Vancouver Island’s Heather McEachen is off to New York July 20 to accept the top island award on behalf of TVI. While rubbing shoulders with tourism promoters from across the world in a Big Apple gala will be fun in and of itself, she is also looking forward to an opportunity to further spread the word about our great part of the globe.
“There’s a lot of hard-working people on this Island and we’re blessed with such a beautiful area to work with,” she said.
According to McEachen, the recognition translates into a tangible benefit for Vancouver Island. Travel and Leisure has a huge global reach and its World’s Best Awards has an influence on travel choices world-wide.
“We are delighted that the readers of Travel and Leisure magazine have once again selected Vancouver Island as the number-one Island in Canada. This is a reflection of the beautiful destination that Vancouver Island is and the delivery of fantastic hospitality that our tourism operators provide,” TVI CEO Dave Petryk said in a media release.
That same release lauded North America’s largest Pacific island for its “irresistible mix of pristine wilderness and top-ranked food and lodging.”
McEachen said the Island’s tourism industry has seen consistent growth since the dog days of the 2008 recession and this summer looks poised to continue that trend.
“If you look at most of our communities, there’s not a(n empty) hotel room in sight,” she said. “Last year was great, but this year is even better.”