The birds are singing, the sky is blue, the long-awaited warmth of the sun shines brightly on our faces allowing our cheeks to melt into large, toothy grins that had been previously lost to the cold of autumn and the very necessary activity of shivering.   Winter-weary souls yawn and stretch as they suddenly find themselves drawn toward the light, barbeque forks fully in hand, to greet another installment of everyone’s favourite season, summer.

Here at the Hollow, summer means only one thing….time for a motorcar ride!  Time to grab the camera and the picnic basket and point the car in whatever direction presents the likeliest chance of an exciting new adventure.

So don your shades and floppy hats and exchange those wool socks for flip-flops as we head up island today to a place that simply must be seen to be believed as we start our newest series “A Trip To The Market“.  Nestled far enough off of the main highway to be missed by the unsuspecting tourist sits the tiny town of Coombs, B.C.  A quaint and pastoral farm community filled with wonderful folks with vivid imaginations, this is truly a town unlike any other.  In other words, perfect camera fodder for the Toads!

Coombs, BC - Vancouver Island, Canada

Coombs, BC – Vancouver Island, Canada

Among the many interesting things to do and see in this little town, and perhaps the most popular, is the Coombs Country Market.  Now, you might be thinking that perhaps the Toads have finally run out of strange and unique things to photograph if we are taking you on an “adventure” to a market.  After all, most people would only consider shopping to be an adventure in frustration, but you will just have to trust us on this one…..

Now, you’re probably wondering why the roof on this building is, well, sort of missing.  And you’re probably also wondering why there appears to be a lawn in its place.   It’s not that the good folks who built this place stood on their heads during construction, there is actually a very logical explanation.  But that will have to wait for another blog, coming soon.  In the meanwhile if you happen to know the answer, do be sure to keep it a secret for now as it would ruin the surprise.  And that would, of course, be very b-a-a-a-a-a-d!

Coombs, BC - Vancouver Island, Canada

Coombs, BC – Vancouver Island, Canada

A lot of revitalization has been happening lately, and it’s always a joy to see new businesses popping up.  This pretty walkway, just up from the farmer’s market, leads to a host of unique shops featuring items that cannot be found in the typical department or big-box stores.  Everything from hand-made jewellery to home-made dog biscuits draw in thousands of people every year.

Coombs, BC - Vancouver Island, Canada

Coombs, BC – Vancouver Island, Canada

If we were to measure the most popular shop by the length of the line-up I would have to say this one would be the winner hands-down, which can only mean one thing… ice cream!  It may just be my imagination, but I swear the ice cream seems to taste better here because the shop is just so darn charming.  Cheery music fills the air thanks to the gentleman that sits just outside the shop entertaining passers-by with his songs that really add a party feel to the whole place.

Coombs, BC - Vancouver Island, Canada

Coombs, BC – Vancouver Island, Canada

After a delicious treat, it’s a short stroll across the street to everything you had no idea you couldn’t live without.  Need a washboard?  No problem.  Ever wish you could buy an “I hate Mondays” coffee cup at the same store as a cowboy hat?  Now, you can!  Don’t you just hate it when you have to go to two stores just to get a harmonica and a cheesecake?  Well now you just don’t have to!

Coombs, BC - Vancouver Island, Canada

Coombs, BC – Vancouver Island, Canada

In fact, if it is indeed true that a picture is worth a thousand words, I think I’ll just let this one speak for itself.  Although it may not have occurred to you before that you might want a colourful seahorse, I’m willing to bet you’re thinking about where it could hang in your house right now!  Unique and whimsical local art mingles with imported treasures to create the perfect eclectic toy store for grown-ups and not-so-grown-ups alike.

Coombs, BC - Vancouver Island, Canada

Coombs, BC – Vancouver Island, Canada

No detail has been overlooked in trying to provide the happiest of shopping experiences, including porch-front seating with a view for those tired shopped-out husbands.  Of course, it’s much easier to relax without the bulk of those pesky credit cards in his wallet, so be considerate and take them with you.  It’s just the kind thing to do.

Thanks so much for joining us today, I just cannot think of a better way to celebrate the start of summer than a trip to the Coombs Country Market.  We’ll be sharing much more of this wonderful, quirky place so please do stay tuned!  Now if you’ll kindly excuse me, I just must have that ladybug sweater….

Until next time!

Warmly,

Mrs. Toad




  1. Sounds like the perfect place to spend a summer afternoon, and a few dollars! Wonderful narrative Mrs. Toad which perfectly encapsulates the wonders of Coombs Country Market. Its a shame that more towns do not have such a place, it would make the weekly shop so much more interesting.

  2. avatar Edith Levy says:

    Excellent post Mrs. Toad. I love these country markets and now you’ve inspired me to go out and explore the Ontario countryside. Absolutely beautiful images.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much for your kind comments Edith, just wait until you see the rest of this wonderful place!

  3. Great writeup Mrs. Toad! I just love farmer’s markets! You just can’t find the kind of stuff at the regular stores that you can get at these markets. Looking forward to this new series!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you Michael, I agree with you, I love finding things that you just don’t see anywhere else. And the fruits and veggies are always so much tastier too!

  4. avatar Len Saltiel says:

    Super write-up and images Mr & Mrs Toad. Your images and prose make an everyday trip a great adventure.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks Len, Mr. Toad has a few more images of this quirky place that I’m just popping at the seams to share with everyone, so do stay tuned!

  5. avatar LensScaper says:

    Wonderful writing Mrs Toad. A cornucopia of things you never realized you needed

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thanks so much Andy, we can’t wait to show everyone what’s on the other side…you just won’t believe it!

  6. Looks like a fantastic place to spend a warm spring day.

  7. avatar Perry Bailey says:

    What a charming place! Reminds me of some of the country stores that you’d find along the lesser-traveled roads in WV when I was a kid. Beautiful photos, as always.

  8. avatar Rob says:

    Charming! We all need a bit of happenstance and find new discoveries.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Absolutely true Rob, nothing is better than stumbling upon some great unexpected adventure! Thanks so much for stopping by today.

  9. avatar ehpem says:

    Great post Mrs. Toad, and so well illustrated, Mr. Toad. I have to go back for a visit soon, it is after all on the way to some of my favourite places like Long Beach and Clayoquot Sound.

    Actually, I just love having to go to two different stores for cheesecake and harmonicas -there is little that I hate more than carelessly blowing cheesecake crumbs into a harmonica! Might as well get a new one at that point.

    Hmm, now that I think of it, maybe this Coombs merchant has devised a very clever marketing strategy.

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Thank you so much Ehpem, but now you have me rethinking this whole thing with the harmonica….perhaps the guitar would be a more suitable pairing for cheesecake?

  10. It is a nice place for a wander around and some shopping. I look at that place as an alternative shopping centre. Great write up and beautiful photography make it come to life. Yea for Coombs!

    • avatar Mrs. Toad says:

      Yea for Coombs, indeed Joseph! It is quite a fabulous place, mostly I see it as the landscape just over the top of my ice cream….to each his own, I guess! Thanks so much for your visit today 🙂