Arrowsmith Coombs Country is known for being the agricultural region of Vancouver Island. It includes the rural communities of Coombs, Errington, Hilliers, and Whiskey Creek. It is also home to the region’s two waterfall BC Provincial Parks, Englishman River Falls and Little Qualicum River Falls, not to mention unique attractions such as Butterfly World and Gardens, World Parrot Refuge, and the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre.
Coombs has a population of approximately 1,300 people and is best known for its Old Country Market and the family of goats that live on the roof. Strange as it sounds this town quirk has attracted many tourists each year, and it has since as become known as a main attraction in British Columbia.
The Old Country market originated from a modest fruit stand in 1971 and then in 1975 the original building was erected, when the grass roof emerged. After the grass had rooted a family of goats appeared. Legend has it that a “few glasses” of wine inspired the idea of putting the goats up on the roof.
A popular stopping point for tourists on the way to the west coast, the little village of Coombs is dotted with several heritage buildings, small gift and craft shops and antique stores.
Errington is located in the foothills of Arrowsmith Mountain on Errington Road, just south of Parksville and Qualicum Beach on the east coast of central Vancouver Island. The town has a population of approximately 3500 and is predominantly a farming and residential community, with small businesses emerging in the downtown area.
The Errington War Memorial Hall and adjacent park host events such as the seasonal farmers’ market and craft sales, in which local individuals and businesses take part. The farmer’s market offers fresh produce and artisan goods created by local crafters in a woodsy, friendly and neighbourly atmosphere. The market is open every Saturday from 10am to 1pm from May to September each year.
Errington is situated close to the pristine Englishman River Falls Provincial Park, which features two stunning waterfalls cascading along the descending riverbed into a deep canyon. During the summer a crystal clear pool at the base of the lower falls turns into one of the best swimming holes in the area.
The park features campgrounds and several hiking trails that meander through the forest and along the river offering spectacular views, particularly from two bridges that cross the river where it plunges down the narrow rock canyon toward quieter waters below.
Set amid a lush old-growth and second-growth forest of Douglas fir, cedar, hemlock and maple, this picturesque destination is an ideal base from which to explore the incredible diversity and natural beauty of south central Vancouver Island.
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre is located on an 8-acre plot of land in Errington, where injured birds and mammals are nursed back to health. Here you can learn about the magnificent wildlife of Vancouver Island with the chance to see eagles, several species of owls, falcons, hawks, ravens, and black bears. The centre is open daily from 10am-4pm, from April to October.