Originally known as Oyster Harbour, Ladysmith is on the 49th parallel in the stunning Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island.
Ladysmith offers world-class outdoor recreational opportunities; a renowned trail system through picturesque forests; first-class shopping and dining in the historic downtown and fun-filled waterfront activities at pristine Transfer Beach.
With a local economy based on forestry, tourism and agriculture, explore this picturesque community with a fascinating heritage walking tour. The past comes alive in the many life-size heritage artifacts lining First Avenue and displayed in the Ladysmith Museum. The historic downtown is easily accessible by car, bicycle or foot to explore the artifacts while visiting one-of-a-kind businesses and cafes. On your way to Transfer Beach Park, stop at the Waterfront Art Gallery to admire and collect the work of local artists or visit the Railway District.
At the Maritime Museum & Heritage Boats, experience the sights and sounds of past waterfront industry and beautifully restored wooden boats, even harbour tours.
This picturesque community is blessed with numerous artists and artisans, and is known for its abundance of community spirit – share in the excitement at any one of the legendary annual celebrations, such as the Festival of Lights, a star of the holiday season.
One of the biggest draws to Ladysmith are the historic buildings lining its streets. Besides being charming, they do offer some unique shopping experiences – use a map to take a heritage route to all the best shops. One day, however, might not be enough so why not stay in one of the Ladysmith’s excellent lodgings or B&Bs?
- Holland Creek Trail System offers approximately 4 kilometres for hiking on both sides of Holland Creek, travelling through the centre of Ladysmith. You can also hike up to Heart Lake, 6.4km from Holland Creek Trail Bridge.
- If you like swimming in warm salt water, Transfer Beach, widely known as the jewel of the city, is located in the centre of the town. Transfer is also the hub for more local activities, from picnics to music venues on Sunday nights. Here you’ll also find the biggest open-air amphitheater on Vancouver Island, holding more than 1,000 people.
- Oyster Harbour Seafood, at 5035 Palton Rd., has been an active part of the community since the mid-1940s. Family-owned and operated, OHS provides the freshest oysters & clams that one can get from BC’s finest shores.
- Discover nearby shoreline launches from Ladysmith Harbour. Start your journey at the municipal boat launch; travel to Dunsmuir and Woods Island on the north side of the harbour. Explore the 8km harbour by boat, kayak or canoe. It hosts some amazing views!
- The Vancouver Island Paddlefest and Kayak Conference in June are just some events that Ladysmith hosts. Christmas is the time when Ladysmith truly comes alive & vibrant. The annual Christmas Light-Up & the Christmas Light Harbour Cruise transform the city into an escapade of bright lights.
In Ladysmith, the summers are warm, comfortable and dry. The winters are damp and mostly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 0°C to 25°C.
Destination BC is developing a new campaign to promote hyper-local travel where residents are “tourists-in-their own hometown,” while practising the COVID-19 safety protocols as recommended by the B.C. Provincial Health Officer. Many B.C. parks are now open, and national parks were to open as of June 1.
(Check this website for current details on travel.)
Driving: Travel time from Victoria north to Ladysmith is about 90 minutes; from Nanaimo, drive about 15 minutes south on Highway 1. Ferry service is available between Vancouver (Tsawwassen) and Duke Point, in south Nanaimo.
For more information, visit westcoasttraveller.com.