What makes it a top Vancouver Island community
Think of Comox and you might picture a sleepy seaside community known for its small-town feel and spectacular views. But ask anyone who lives, works and plays here, and they’ll tell you it’s so much more than beaches and boutiques. In fact, it may just be one of the best places to live on the Island.
What’s so great about Comox? Glad you asked.
Key Comox statistics
Located on a peninsula in the Strait of Georgia on the east coast of Vancouver Island, the town of Comox has an area of almost 17 km (about 6.5 mi). The 2021 Stats Can census had the population at 14,806 with an average age of 52 years. Like many central and southern Island communities, the winters are wet and relatively mild, and summers are dry and sunny. Comox’s annual precipitation averages 1,179 mm (46.4 in), with 80 percent of it falling between October and March, mainly as rain.
No doubt it was the temperate weather, fertile soil and profuse sea life that drew the K’ómoks First Nations to the area thousands of years ago. Non-Indigenous settlers were also attracted by the area’s rich resources in the mid-19th century. Finally, the Canadian Forces saw the peninsula’s strategic benefits when they built 19 Wing Comox back in 1942. And the area and its offerings have been enticing people ever since. Aside from its flora, fauna and geography, these days most people like it for the views, the sunshine, the recreation, the marinas, the restaurants and festivals…
On the water
If you’re one of those people who needs to be on the water, you’ve got it made here. Comox is home to three marinas: Comox Municipal Marina, Comox Valley Marina and the Comox Valley Harbour Authority (Fisherman’s Wharf). Depending on which way the currents are taking you, it’s a convenient stop before heading north to Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands or down to the Gulf Islands. Amenities that are within walking distance of the marinas include grocery, liquor, banks, retail and restaurant services.
Of course, if your main reason for visiting marinas is to get something for dinner, you can buy direct from the local fishermen. Common species sold include salmon, tuna, shrimp, cod, halibut, lingcod and prawns. Nothing quite like wild seafood fresh off the boat!
Up in the air
Sharing the waters around the marinas is Harbour Air, offering speedy trips to and from Vancouver as well as long haul trips elsewhere. Plus, just on the edge of the town limits lies the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ), serviced by Air Canada, Pacific Coastal Airlines and WestJet. Daily nonstop flights from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, as well as seasonal offerings to Mexico and Toronto have helped expand tourism and business opportunities in the town and make getting away a breeze.
Recreational pursuits on the peninsula
But really, why would you ever want to leave this area, with its year-round recreational opportunities? Enjoy peaceful walks, bird watching, disc golf, tennis, cycling and golf any time of the year. Summertime showcases the community’s best recreational offerings, with breezy days enticing sailboats and kiteboarders to the water to savour Goose Spit, Balmoral and Point Holmes. When the weather is warm and the wind is calm, paddleboarders, kayakers, joggers and families flock to the shores to make the most of the beaches. Looking for something more organized or with instruction? Comox Recreation provides a wide range of programs for all ages. And those who are lucky enough to be over 55 can check out the offerings at Comox’s D’Esterre Senior Centre Association!
Festivals and family fun
As is the case with other parts of the Comox Valley, Comox boasts a thriving artistic community. After all, how could one’s creativity not be ignited by the region’s stunning natural surroundings? Comox provides ample opportunities to celebrate and showcase the area’s culture, ranging from larger festivals like the internationally acclaimed Filberg Festival to smaller local markets and galleries. Participants and spectators alike can satisfy their artistic appetites.
Families particularly enjoy a visit to Comox Marina Park, especially during the August Long Weekend when the Nautical Days Festival takes place. This lively, free family festival features exciting activities such as the Bullhead Derby for kids and the “Build, Bail & Sail” challenge for aspiring mariners.
Out for a bite
Feeling peckish? No problem. Well, maybe it’s a bit of a problem, because navigating the dining scene in Comox is both a joy and a challenge, given the array of exceptional establishments. In the spirit of making your decision-making slightly easier, here are a few of my personal favorites. The Black Fin Pub offers a breathtaking view paired with sumptuous cuisine from a West Coast menu. For special occasions, Martine’s Bistro stands out as one of the Island’s premier dining experiences. Their "locally provisioned, internationally inspired" menu promises a culinary journey. If pizza pie is more your style, both Boonies Pizza and Church Street Bakery have mouth-watering options that are baked to perfection. Enjoy!
Comox real estate options
With its welcoming ambiance, scenic vistas and convenient accessibility, the Town of Comox is highly appealing to both families and retirees. The housing market features a nice mix of classic and contemporary homes, with lot sizes generally aligning with urban standards. For those seeking retirement options, patio homes, townhouses and apartment condominiums are available, many strategically situated within walking distance of downtown Comox.
Discover Comox, the place where leaving is the last thing on your mind! From breathtaking mountain views to playful seals at the marina and kite-flying on the beaches, this town has it all. Whether you’re into recreational fun, artsy vibes or cultural events, this town caters to everyone. Come, stay and enjoy the best of Comox!