Dig into the bounty of the ocean at the annual BC Seafood Festival in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island

Fresh halibut, prawns, shrimp, cod, salmon, tuna and more! Much of our coastal seafood hails from the Comox Valley. Who knew? This small Vancouver Island community offers up a tide-to-table culinary adventure that is heavily influenced by fresh, local and sustainable fixings. So, it should come as no surprise that western Canada’s largest celebration of the ocean’s bounty—the 12th Annual BC Seafood Festival, running June 8th to 17th—happens right there. Seafood lovers, mark your calendars!

Nathan FongVida CreativeFestival producer Nathan Fong, who is a food stylist, chef and television personality, has managed to lure more than 40 award-winning local, national and international chefs to the festival. “I was born and raised in Vancouver," he says. "I'd never been to the Comox Valley until seven years ago when I started getting involved with the festival and I was blown away by not only the natural beauty here, but also the fact that it has an amazing culinary scene. This year, we have some of the world’s best chefs from Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii putting on cooking demonstrations, as well as live music. And new this year, we have a huge interactive zone for kids.”
Here are just a few of the festival's many highlights...

1. Enjoy a gala dinner

Spot prawnsVida CreativeSet amongst the stately trees and gardens of the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park, the annual gala dinner has become a truly signature event, stocked with renowned international and domestic chefs. This year, women rule with an all-female lineup. It promises to be a culinary feast to end all feasts.

2. Farm and hatchery tours

OystersVida CreativeDiscover what our coastal waters provide with fascinating tours, including...

  • Thursday, June 14th: Join Ned Bell, popular and affable Ocean Wise executive chef at the Vancouver Aquarium, for a tour of a working salmon farm.
  • Monday, June 11th to Friday, June 15th: Manatee Holdings hatchery tour takes visitors through a bustling hatchery operation, spying geoduck, sea cucumbers, scallops and oysters.
  • Tuesday, June 12th and Thursday, June 14th: Oyster lovers, listen up! The Fanny Bay Oysters Plant Tour showcases world famous Fanny Bay oysters. Head down to this tiny oceanside community and take a tour of the famed processing plant.

3. Demos and competitions

Chef stageVida CreativeTwo different demo stages provide opportunities to watch celebrity chefs in action and learn the tricks of the trade. Experts include Sabrine Dhaliwal of Vancouver's Uva Wine and Cocktail Bar and Aaron Rail of Courtenay's The White Whale.

If competition is more your thing, the Fanny Bay oyster shucking competition rolls out on Saturday, June 16th. The battle pits the fastest shuckers against one another, including Guinness Book of World Record holder Patrick McMurray (or "Shucker Paddy") and the culinary teams from both the Kingfisher's Aqua Bistro and Bar (last year’s winner of the People’s Choice Award for "Best B.C. Seafood on your Plate") and Ocean7 Restaurant.

4. Relax in style

Kingfisher ResortKingfisher Resort & SpaWhile there are several local hotels and resorts to choose from, the conveniently located Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa offers an exceptional experience. What's not to love about a resort nestled along both a forest and ocean? This locale is the total package. Fine dining? Check. Stunning views? Check. Deluxe accommodations? Check. Award-winning restaurants? Check. Indulge in the inner courtyard, featuring an outdoor pool and hot tub, or enjoy the spa’s signature Pacific Mist Hydropath, which promises to leave you in a Zen-like state.

 

5. Getting there

BC FerriesBC FerriesB.C. Ferries showcases a scenic and picturesque way to adventure over to the Island. Terminals on Vancouver Island are located in Victoria (Swartz Bay) and Nanaimo (Departure Bay or Duke Point) with ferry service to/from the Vancouver area. Comox offers service to/from Powell River on the Sunshine Coast, and Port Hardy boasts service from Prince Rupert via the Inside Passage.