While sailing high above Vancouver Island in their ultralight planes, instructors Gary O'Brien and Steve Morley put into practice their shared mission to help students become safe and confident pilots. The Transport Canada–certified flight instructors work with students as they log hours and learn essential skills such as taking off and landing, climbing and descending, or side-slipping and turning. Their Genesis aircraft provides room for one pilot and one passenger, allowing the instructors to guide students safely without being distracted by chatty seagulls in the backseat.
Dev and Joanne McIntyre first began to experiment with winemaking after moving to the Mt. Lehman area in 1984. They tended to their small backyard vineyard and carefully tracked how different grapes grew and developed in the region's distinctive climate. After sharing these data and collaborating with fellow viticulturalists, Dev and Jo narrowed the list of possibilities down to a few specific varietals, which they felt could ripen evenly along the relatively cool and precipitation-prone coastline.
When they purchased Salt Spring Vineyards in 2008, they set about growing some of these grapes, also opting to fashion pleasantly sweet wines from organic apples and locally grown blackberries. Although their very first experiments occasionally had to be recycled as wine vinegars, grape jellies, or aperitifs for pampered houseplants, they continued to hone their craft with each and every harvest. Currently, the selection boasts a range of styles, including a crisp, dry pinot gris and an unctuous cabernet libre that balances its dark fruit flavours with firm tannins. As a demonstration of their commitment to the environment, Dev and Jo also adhere to sustainable growing practices and avoid using any herbicides or pesticides in their fields.
The pilots of Island Express Air ply the skies above the West Coast, armed with years of training and the latest XM satellite GPS technology. They nimbly manoeuvre compact aircraft to Abbotsford, Victoria, Tofino, Nanaimo, and Vancouver South, flying low to provide incredibly scenic views. They lend their services for chartered flights and also run regular routes for the frequent business traveller.
A careworn blue tractor rests near the tree line, its rusted exhaust puffing out from under the hood. The faint imprint of tire marks leads off into the lone opening in an otherwise solid wall of corn. At approximately 7 acres, McNab's Corn Maze covers a swathe of land where families wend through twists and turns, or shout helpful tips from the two-storey watchtower overlooking the labyrinth. Elsewhere, hayrides transport groups around the farm, where they can glimpse crops such as squash, gourds, and pumpkins, as well as genuine farming equipment such as plows, tractors, and the robotic horse that drives tractors. At the petting zoo, kids can caper about with adorable farmyard friends such as goats, piglets, and an emu.
With the waves of Victoria Harbour’s Selkirk Waters lapping just below their headquarters, Switch Bridge Tours’ staff leads bicycle and kayak tours of Victoria and Vancouver Island’s waterways. The business’s proximity to the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails facilitates tours on frequently tuned-up bikes that venture into the Cowichan Valley or along the Saanich Peninsula. Kayaks cease their giant kazoo impressions long enough to cut through the Tod Inlet and the Inner Harbour on beginner or advanced tours. Each experienced guide is certified in First Aid and CPR.