I guess I just really love this town.
For years now, I’ve gone back and forth between wanting to tell the world about it, and wanting to keep it a secret – but I’ve made my decision, so here’s my Love Letter to Ladysmith.
It’s a small town, but it’s close to everything you could ever need. It has quaint shops and eateries, and a great sprawling beach with a spray park and playground. There are hiking and biking trails galore, with little undiscovered gems of nature everywhere you look. The people are friendly, and there are more volunteer organizations than you can shake a stick at. The weather is the mildest in Canada, and there’s something to do every day of the year.
Ladysmith rolls up from the Pacific on undulating hills, offering ocean views on just about every street corner. Hardly a day goes by without seeing an eagle or two soaring in the skies. Nestled amid water, forest and mountain, it’s a nature lover’s paradise. Note to gardeners – things grow here, often of their own accord.
In the Middle of it All
For transportation purposes, Ladysmith is about 10 minutes away from an airport that’ll get you to Vancouver, Calgary and beyond; the Duke Point ferry terminal is just a bit further up the road; and for the adventurous, the float planes arrive and depart from the Nanaimo Harbour, about a half hour’s drive away.
For concerts, movies, and your big-box store / chain restaurant requirements, you’ve got Nanaimo to the North and Duncan to the South, both about a 20 minute drive from Ladysmith. There are farmer’s markets even closer by.
Russell Farm Market & Garden Center, a few minutes down the road
Day trips will take you to up and down the Island and all it has to offer: alpine adventure awaits at Mount Washington, the world-famous Butchart Gardens beckon from the Saanich Peninsula, and the ancient cedars of Cathedral Grove are just a stone’s throw from Coombs Country Market and the goats on its roof.
But closer to home, the enticements of the Ladysmith area itself are as pleasant as they are diverse.
Dining in Ladysmith ranges from a British Pub to a Tapas Bar to a Creperie, as well as Indian and Asian delights. Vegetarian and Gluten-Free eating experiences are available, as well as good old fashioned Fish & Chips. And the Olde Town Bakery’s cinnamon buns are the BEST you’ll find on the Island (full disclosure – I’m strongly biased in that opinion).
Tasty Treats at the Olde Town Bakery in Ladysmith
The local Holland Creek trail system offers a leisurely stroll on the town side, and a more challenging hike on the wild side opposite the creek. It’ll also lead you up to Heart Lake, a quiet, reflective spot to catch your breath after the long climb up the hill.
I could go on.
And I will!
Transfer Beach is a wonderful spot for families to spend the day, with rolling lawns, a giant playground and splash park, and a sand court for beach volleyball enthusiasts. There is also a picturesque amphitheater for community gatherings, concerts, and ‘selfie opportunities’. Kayak rentals are available, and fish are jumpin’.
Splash Park at Transfer Beach in Ladysmith
For the cultured soul, Ladysmith has an Art Gallery, a Museum, and a “Little Theatre”. The High School music and drama programs are also excellent, if you’re fortunate enough to get a ticket to a performance.
Special events in Ladysmith happen with regularity throughout the year. The Summer brings concerts in the park, parades, and fireworks at the beach. There’s a Maritime festival that’s always a hit with families, and for those of a more automotive nature, there’s a “Show and Shine” and a “Brits on the Beach” event every year. And of course, when the weather turns cold, there’s always the Ladysmith Light-Up Festival and Parade to look forward to in late November. Remember the town of “Whoville” in Dr. Seuss’ “The Grinch who Stole Christmas”? Well, that’s pretty much Ladysmith throughout December and January.
The Ladysmith Festival of Lights Parade, during the Fireworks Spectacular
To sum up, life on Vancouver Island is pretty sweet – and life in Ladysmith puts you close to all the Island has to offer. It’s a great place to be!