The Essential Vancouver Island Outdoor Recreation Guide.


384 pages
Contains Photos, Maps, Index
ISBN 978-1-55285-920-9
DDC 796.509711'2





Reviewed by Ann Turner

Ann Turner is Financial and Budget Manager at the University of British
Columbia Library.


John Kimantas is well known to recreational boaters and paddlers for his Wild Coast series of three excellent guides for exploring the B.C. coastline. In this new guide he goes ashore to explore the range of outdoor recreational opportunities on Vancouver Island. Camping, walking and hiking, cycling, swimming, horseback riding, fishing, birdwatching, spelunking and rock climbing, plus fresh water boating and paddling are all there to be enjoyed. The guide is divided into chapters for six regions: Greater Victoria; the South Island (up to Yellow Point); the Central Island (Nanaimo to Comox, and the Alberni Valley); Clayoquot Sound; Nootka-Strathcona (including the Campbell River area); and the North Island. Each chapter begins with a regional map with points of interest numbered, as well as a general introduction to the area. The detailed guides to the numbered points of interest highlight available activities with icons at the head of the section as well as within the text where the activities are described. Beautiful colour photographs illustrate views along the way. The pages for each region are colour-coded for quick consultation, and the index to the guide as a whole makes it easy to locate specific trails and points of interest. This guide has two innovative features for trip planning and safety. To help overcome a universal problem with guidebooks—that they start going out of date even before the print hits the page—the author has established a website,, with links to the many individual websites cited in the book, an easy way for users to keep up to date with the latest information. To help overcome a general problem with guides to off-road and back country activities, the lack of directional and distance signage, he provides a list of 340 GPS waypoints for key sites linked to the text by symbols and page numbers. The convenient layout, clear descriptive writing, and attention to detail that characterized the three coastal guides are equally evident in this new venture on land. A must-have for outdoor enthusiasts.


Kimantas, John., “The Essential Vancouver Island Outdoor Recreation Guide.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,