Part of a network that includes Chemainus Family Eyecare and Lake Cowichan Eyecare, the five physicians at South Cowichan Eyecare assess and correct sight with a slew of vision-correction services. The ultimate eye exam, for example, spans diagnostics ranging from a digital retinal scan that minimizes the need for dilation to a nerve-fibre analysis that can detect glaucoma up to 10 years earlier than previous technology or psychics. Optometrists can then correct views through LASIK or hand off patients to eyewear technicians who take measurements for prescription glasses, sunglasses, view-masters, or contacts. For added convenience, the clinic offers scheduling through online appointment requests.
Recipient of a 2008 reader’s choice award from Peninsula News Review, Ardmore Golf Course has challenged club-brandishers with its nine holes since course designer E.S. Wise opened the grounds in 1926. Before teeing off against opponents, visitors rehearse their swinging skills at a practice putting green, driving net, and chipping area. Golfers in need of expert tutelage can turn to CPGA professional instructor Steve Middleton, who harnesses more than 30 years of golfing experience to help pupils find their natural swing and reunite with lost balls raised by wolves. In addition to tournament participants, Ardmore Golf Course accommodates overnight players in their golfer’s cottage, a furnished abode with a full kitchen, television, and wireless Internet. After each round guests can scarf down gourmet fare concocted by chef Graham Little, load up on golfing gear at the pro shop, admire the course’s 110-foot tall, 1,100 year-old douglas fir, or search the sky for wild birds and escaped golf clubs flying overhead.
Dr. Lisa Duong of Plum Blossom Acupuncture & Herbology specializes in using traditional Chinese medicine to care for women's health and help faces look their brightest. She performs herbal therapy and practices acupuncture, which is designed to relieve a spectrum of health complaints and results in younger-looking complexions that cause clients to get carded at the movie theatre. When performing cosmetic acupuncture, Dr. Duong inserts the thin, sterile needles into points that encourage chi—or energy—to circulate throughout the face. This also promotes the circulation of blood, which shepherds nutrients and moisture to the skin.
In the verdant Cowichan Valley, Pacific Northwest Raptors cares for a diverse flock of birds of prey—owls twist their heart-shaped heads curiously, and hawks look on with eyes like copper coins. The staff provides them a safe habitat while educating the public about their habits, hunting methods, and favourite brands of feather cosmetics. Eagles and falcons ride warm zephyrs overhead daily, searching for prey high over the canopy when they aren’t perched back at the centre.
Avian experts demo the birds’ skills during walks, which include the opportunity for patrons to have a hawk or owl land on a gloved hand or already impressive jaw line. Intensive workshops and week-long falconry courses let guests settle in with the animals beneath the towering trees, which hush each other liltingly in the wind. Regular family events at the centre facilitate bonding with the regal raptors, many of which are trained in film work and pest control.
VI Fitness—a workout mainstay with a dozen locations peppering Vancouver Island—splits its real estate between coed and women’s only gyms. Coed locations line the floors with a wide variety of strength and stability equipment, free weights, and cardio machines; women’s locations host a similar array of gear but in designs tailored specifically for women. The two gym models are otherwise similar, hosting yoga classes and group exercise courses such as VI Fitness’s signature indoor cycling—which guides stationary bikers over simulated terrains, from rolling hills to the cratered surface of the moon’s intricate highway system.
Alternatively, each gym’s team of personal trainers creates customized regimens for patrons with the help of the Polar BodyAge system that measures individual fitness levels. The sessions also motivate athletes and ensure they use proper technique, significantly reducing the risk of injury, overexertion, or the embarrassment of accidentally bench-pressing a treadmill. The on-site child minding watches over exercisers’ little ones while secure rental lockers keep personal effects locked up.
After a trek down the Panama Canal, visitors stop for a brief sojourn under the Matterhorn before journeying on to the Eiffel Tower. This trip around the world comes courtesy of All Fun Recreation Park's miniature-golf course, whose 18 globally themed greens are littered with water traps and austerely dressed customs officials. Elsewhere, eight cages hurtle baseballs and softballs toward batters at 40–75 mph, and drivers accelerate across a 1,400-foot go-kart track's over and under bridge or hug the turns of a smaller oval track designed for parents and youngsters.
For more racing action, patrons can head over to Western Speedway each Saturday night in May–September for stock-car competitions on an oval track or drag strip. Westshore Motocross rents entry-level dirt bikes to riding and racing novices, and 75 RV and tenting sites give guests opportunities to yodel freely in nature. Guests can then practice licking techniques on the flower-filled patio at Mr. Tubbs Ice Cream Parlour and Family Fun Zone, or explore the Swap & Shop each Sunday, where vendors dispense copious household goods and collectibles.
Under the direction of licensed optician Carolin Roussel, the team of eye-care specialists at Eye Etiquette Optical Boutique outfit customers' eyes in stylish frames. Patrons peruse sunglasses in more than 15 designer brands, including Oakley ($165+), Ray-Ban ($140+), and Nine West ($125+), for use during poker tournaments and dinner dates with the aurora borealis. All of the boutique's shades can provide 100 per cent UV protection with polarized and non-polarized lenses.