Vancouver Island holds a special place in the hearts of many residents of Berwick on the Park. Whether they spent part of their life living or working there or travelled there for summer vacations with family, there are many fond memories of the island. When the opportunity arose to attend the Berwick all Sites Picnic in Parksville, BC on July 11th, there was excitement in the air!
Leaving Berwick on the Park, in Kamloops, BC, at precisely 9:30 AM on July 10th, the bus was loaded with anticipation and luggage for the 3-day adventure. Enjoying the scenery and conversations with fellow travelers on past road trips and life on the island, it felt like a quick trip to their first stop, Hunter Creek, located just outside of Hope, BC. Dick S. told stories of his working days in the early 90’s, where the company he worked for was involved in the construction of the Duke Ferry Terminal and a lot of the island highway from Parksville to Comox. Thanks to the Berwick on the Park chefs, a delicious picnic lunch was enjoyed along with a short walk to stretch their legs, then it was onward to their next stop to board the BC ferries. Despite the breeze it was a beautiful day to enjoy the views from the outside deck and breathe in the incredible ocean air! Residents shared that “The bus trip to Parksville was a special day which we found exciting, interesting and safe” and that is was “a fantastic trip to the Island and Back” with “the best driver Jackie, no holds on the highway and on time ferries!
After a 10-hour day of travel, spirits remained high and the travelers enjoyed a west coast dinner at the Beach Club Resort, where they stayed for their Island visit. “To top things off our off-site accommodations were lovely and the weather even cooperated,” Laverne R. Staying right on the beach was a perfect choice for this Okanagan crew as they woke up each morning and enjoyed a walk on the beach, then finished the day with a breathtaking sunset right outside their door.
After a fun day of travel on day one, it was on to the main event, the Berwick all Sites Picnic. This event brings all eight Berwick communities together to celebrate summer, friendship and what it means to be a part of the Berwick family. This year’s theme was Western and even after the travel, Berwick on the Park went all in with plaid, jeans, bandanas, and cowboy hats. “The hospitality we received upon arrival at the picnic hosted by Parksville made me feel like a very special guest! We had an afternoon of fun, food, and lots of laughter” said Marg H.
Located at the new Parksville Outdoor Theatre, which was completed with the help of Berwick Parksville’s Sponsorship, there were 180 people in attendance. The weather was perfect, and the BBQ style lunch was one for the books. On the menu was House Smoked Brisket, Maple BBQ Chicken, Prawn Skewers, House made Molasses Bacon & Beans, Buttered Corn on the Cob, Tex Mex Potato Salad, Cowboy Caviar and more! There was live music, line dancing, lawn games, a photobooth and many, many laughs. Helen M. describes the day with delight saying that “The park where the activities were held was beautiful, with everything well organized. And the food was delicious.”
A highlight for everyone from Berwick on the Park was visiting and connecting with their Berwick family from the island. The Island folk were thrilled to see them, commenting on their arrival “all the way” from Kamloops and thanked them for making the trip out. There was talk of returning the visit to Kamloops in the future. Gene Y. says “Everyone was in great spirits – happy, friendly, and up-beat. I was very glad that I made the decision to go!”
After the picnic came to an end it was time for the next adventure. Those of you who know the Oceanside area know that you can’t visit without taking a trip to see the goats on the roof at Coombs Country Market. With no room for ice cream after the BBQ lunch, they still managed to get some shopping in with a selection of goodies to take home to neighbors, family, and friends.
The final stop on day two was a tour and dinner at the new state of the art Berwick Parksville. They took in the panoramic views from the 6th floor, top-side lounge, as well as enjoyed the gallery space displaying series of work by Canadian artist Grant Lier, and finished with a delicious dinner in the Knight & Castle Pub. After this full day of exploring and visiting it was back to the hotel for one final sunset before the trip home.
It was smooth sailing back to Kamloops with another beautiful ferry ride, and this time discussion turned to memories made over the past few days and talks of places to consider for their next overnight adventure. When asked about the trip Wendy W. said “It was wonderful! The picnic was amazing! Fabulous people to travel with and new people to meet!”
The wonder of travel is even better when we share it with friends. This was a trip to remember for these Berwick on the Park residents, who now have an even stronger connection having shared these new experiences together. Berwick on the Park General Manager Bev Graham says “Jacqueline (the Active Living Manager) and I could not have asked for a better group of residents to travel to the island with. They were up for any adventure we brought their way! We learned a lot about each other, played a lot of silly travel games and truly enjoyed everyone’s company!” We look froward to sharing more Berwick travel adventures sometime soon!