Our recent adventure up island participating in the “Parksville Qualicum Beach QR Code Road Rally 2013” is one we won’t soon forget. Even though we’ve lived here for many years there seems to be a limitless supply of great new things to visit and explore. Today’s post takes a look at one such facility, hidden mid-island just outside the tiny town of Bowser on Vancouver Island in BC, Canada. Join us as we visit the “Deep Bay Marine Field Station“, a facility operated by Vancouver Island University for the purposes of education, research and conservation. And as a bonus, its design is host to one of the neatest bits of architecture we’ve seen in quite some time.
After prying ourselves away from the seashore in Qualicum Beach shortly after the rally had started, we headed north based on the clue from our last QR Code. A quick peek at Google and we knew what we were looking for, we just didn’t really know where. And so, the continuing adventures of “The Toads At The Rally” carries on to uncover a spot we had no clue existed, and are sure happy to have found!
After quite the drive with spots of self-doubt peppered with periods of confidence, we finally found our way to the center. A long and winding driveway paved in crushed oyster shells leads down to the facility from a side road just off the main highway route, taking you down a gentle winding path that culminates in you finding one of the most interesting facilities. Nestled in the thick forest right by the ocean, this facility is home to all sorts of research and studies, helping to further our understanding of the area and its history, as well as a deeper understanding of the creatures that live here and call it home.
Can you imagine having a view like this at your place of work? Even though the people who work and run this facility are focused on very serious subjects that matter to us all, it’s hard not to notice the raw beauty of the island’s coastline and our rolling mountains in the distance. This place was designed from the ground-up to be as green as possible, fitting in perfectly with its surroundings and leaving a small footprint in terms of resource use.
Winner of the 2011 SAB Award for design excellence, the shell shaped roof collects all the ambient rainwater for use in the facility and leverages the environment using advanced technologies to use the least amount of electricity possible. The Canada Green Building Council has given it the first designation of LEED Platinum rating, making it a very special place indeed. But, this is where the story really starts. From here, we head on in where we discover an entire world that lives under the surface of the waters that encircle our island.
The center is open to the public, offering all sorts of interesting things to check out including the main gathering room and some terrific interactive displays. The rugged Vancouver Island coastline serves as a great natural piece of living art for the visitor to take in as you stroll around the facility taking in the huge wooden beams and modern architectural features intended to seamlessly merge the building into its natural setting. Let’s head downstairs now to meet some of the new friends we made on our visit, ones we hope to see again sometime soon.
These shots were all taken with our Android phone during the event, and these were the ones we posted on our social media feeds as the rally was unfolding. We thought you might like to see some of the really incredible creatures we met during our visit, and we can clearly see the lovely Mrs. Toad jumping right in to touch and handle some of our sea-faring friends!
There’s something to learn and discover here at the Deep Bay Marine Field Station for folks of all walks of life, no matter what your age or interest may be. Vancouver Island is a diverse and dynamic place, teaming with life that has roots going back thousands and thousands of years. The ability to directly interact with the creatures in the interactive displays was a real highlight that we are sure will be enjoyed by everyone who visits themselves. If you’re in the area, we can think of no better way to spend some time.
The Deep Bay Marina Field Station blog with regular updates
Deep Bay Marine Field Station page on Visit Parksville/Qualicum Beach
Thank you so much for visiting and following along on the big event with us here, we really appreciate it! We always love to hear from all our visitors, so please feel free to leave us any comments or thoughts you might have.