Island Treasures: An Insider's Guide to Victoria, Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands


190 pages
Contains Illustrations, Index
ISBN 0-920080-79-0





Reviewed by Frank McGee

Frank McGee was a Toronto-based freelance writer.


Island Treasures is a guidebook that provides an alternative to the usual tourist traps and introduces the traveler to sites off the beaten track.

Jill Stewart is a restaurant columnist for Key To Victoria and Carolyn Thomas a free-lance broadcaster who provides regular travel features for Victoria’s CHEK-TV. The research was thorough and personal. The authors visited every town and village on Vancouver Island and discovered at least one stop of interest in each. A lot of the information came from tips they collected as guests on local phone-in shows.

The information can be found under sections like “where to eat” or “what to see and do.” The style is chatty but not always successful. The writing tends to ramble; making it difficult to use the book as the quick reference guide it is set up to be. The contrived friendliness of the commentary is a little patronizing. One phone-in show listener is described as having drunk her breakfast. The authors write, “Our source may have been a dipso, but she certainly knew her onions.”

One fun feature is a listing of pronunciations for some of the Native Canadian place names on the Island. The graphics are disappointing. They are bland and predictable and not in line with the alternative theme of the book.

This guidebook could have been a treasure.


Thomas, Carolyn, and Jill Stewart, “Island Treasures: An Insider's Guide to Victoria, Vancouver Island, and the Gulf Islands,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed September 30, 2023,