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Rediscover Comox for the first time    

Once primarily thought of as an idyllic seaside retirement village, the town of Comox is quickly outgrowing its sleepy reputation.

From paddleboarding and sailing to fine dining and even finer shopping, today’s Comox by the Sea offers a full oceanside experience for anyone with the energy to take it on.

My rediscovery of Comox started, like many others, at the ocean itself. Goose Spit is the local go-to for many aquatic pursuits like stand-up paddleboarding (“SUP”ing), kayaking or just plain swimming. On hot summer days, the spit feels almost tropical – hence the locals’ nickname of “Little Mexico” for one of its sandy inner beaches. When the wind picks up, so do the sailboats, kite boarders and windsurfers; with calm water on the inside and chop on the outside, the spit offers a challenge for all skill levels.

Those without the equipment or daring to tackle these activities by themselves can take a sailing or SUP course from Compass Adventure throughout the spring and summer. Situated in the heart of Comox Bay Marina Park, Compass also rents SUPs, kayaks and sailboats. (Insider tip: enrol the kids in a day camp and give yourself some grown-up time to explore the town!)

While at the Marina, I was told I couldn’t miss a visit to Comox’s own Fisherman’s Wharf, where fresh seafood is sold directly from the local fishermen who ply the shimmering waters of the Salish Sea. After all, how often do you get to shake the same hand that hauled your fish? I scored a pirate’s bounty of prawns, but depending on the season you can also purchase shrimp, salmon, tuna and halibut. Find out the catch of the day at www.comoxharbour.com.

Of course, if you feel your gourmet dinner is best handled by a professional chef, Comox has you covered – whether you’re craving seafood or sushi, Indian or Italian, contemporary or just coffee. As an added bonus, many of the Comox eateries feature oceanside patios from which to enjoy the Comox Valley’s locally produced (and often award-winning) food and drink. And since no day by the ocean is complete without an ice-cold treat, you’ll also find some of the best gelato this side of Milan.

After overindulging on all of the above, I hiked off my delicious meal on one of the many trails etched into Comox’s impressive geography. This one wound its way through towering firs; others hug the contours of the sea or weave through the eclectic shops and boutiques of downtown Comox. Stop in at one of those shops for a self-guided walking tour brochure; while you’re at it, stroll along Comox Avenue to see the unique treasures that await the casual seaside shopper.

Plan your visit wisely and you could experience one of the many festivals Comox hosts each summer, celebrating everything from fine art and First Nation culture to local shellfish and seaside shenanigans. On August long weekend alone (“Festival Weekend” in Comox), you can take in as many as four different festivals.

This cozy community perched on the edge of the ocean has a heck of a lot going on. My advice? Make time to experience everything Comox has to offer – now.

Plan your next Comox adventure at www.comoxbythesea.com.

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