Comox is a beautiful oceanside community situated on the east coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. With a population just under 15,000, the Town boasts a vibrant downtown core, stunning marina, along with extensive greenways, parks, and beaches. Located in the centre of a rich agricultural and seafood producing region, the moderate climate, unsurpassed recreational & culinary opportunities, and comprehensive community services are just a few of the reasons that Comox is gaining its reputation for not only its quality of life, but as a popular tourism destination. Comox is one of three municipalities in the regional district of the Comox Valley, and is home to CFB 19 Wing Comox and the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ).
First settled by the Salish, the name Comox is derived from the Salish Peoples' word “Koumuckthay”, meaning “Land of Plenty”. The Port of Comox was founded in the mid-1800’s on the slopes of the Comox Peninsula. Overlooking the protected waters of Comox Harbour, it was an important port for the ships of the Royal Navy and transport steamers. To learn more about the history of Comox, visit the Comox Archives & Museum.
K’ómoks First Nation
From K’ómoks First Nation website:
K’ómoks First Nation’s history begins with the arrival of their ancestors to this territory at the end of the last Ice Age. Descent from these First Ancestors tie the K’ómoks and Pentlatch tribes to their respective territories. For thousands of years, KFN ancestors occupied the extent of their territories, and harvested and managed the rich natural resources therein. These lands and waters supported thousands of people who developed a rich and sophisticated culture.
For more information on the rich history of the K’ómoks First Nation and to learn more about their community, visit their website.
Tourism & Leisure
Comox continues to see increased visitation from Provincial, National and International travellers, and thanks to its central location, Comox is ideally situated to act as a home-base to experience the extensive outdoor, marine and culinary activities available in the region.
Surrounded by the ocean and beaches, Comox boasts a wide range of marine-based experiences including whale & marine wildlife watching, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding, fishing charters, sailing excursions, and kitesurfing. A growing list of operators provide experience-based tours and rentals for both water and land-based activities throughout the area including biking and culinary tours.
Marina Park and Comox Harbour are significant attractions in Comox. The park boasts a splash park, playground, gazebos, food trucks (in season), a boardwalk, boat ramp and open green space, plus acts as the launching off point for marine-based experiences & tours. Don't miss buying fresh-caught Halibut, Salmon, Tuna, Crab or Prawns directly from a fishing boat in-season at the Fishermans' Wharf.
Downtown Comox is a vibrant area located within walking distance of the harbour and marina, with boutique shopping, pubs and breweries, restaurants, a grocery store, professional services and much more. There are numerous parks, sports fields and greenways in Comox as well.
In winter residents and visitors can enjoy cross country and downhill skiing roughly a 30-minute drive from Comox, on Mount Washington. While snow covers the surrounding mountains in the winter, year-round, thanks to the temperate climate, the area boasts extensive hiking and biking (road and mountain biking). For those that love to fish, the region offers river, lake and saltwater angling, for the golfer there are half a dozen+ courses open year-round. Families can enjoy camping, canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, mountain biking, splash parks, beaches and much more.
A visit to one of the area's museums can illuminate the regions past. The Comox Archives and Museum Society is located in downtown Comox and every month there is a new display of interest. Learn about mining in Cumberland, the areas prehistoric past in Courtenay or aviation at the CFB Comox Air Force Museum. The Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park is a stunning nine-acre oceanside garden and park that boasts heritage buildings, a gift shop, a seasonal petting zoo and the Summer Kitchen restaurant.
There are numerous ways to get to Comox. Comox is well served by a modern highway (19) south to Nanaimo and Victoria, and north to Campbell River. The older oceanside Island Highway (19A) serves the seaside communities along the east coast of Vancouver Island. There is BC Ferries service from Comox to Powell River on the British Columbia mainland, while the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ), also located in Comox, has several scheduled flights daily to Vancouver (YVR), Edmonton (YEG) and Calgary (YYC) Alberta, with service provided via WestJet, Air Canada and Pacific Coastal. The Comox Harbour boasts direct seasonal floatplane service between downtown Vancouver and Comox harbour via Harbour Air. BC Transit operates local bus service within the various municipalities and regions in the Comox Valley.
To learn more about what makes Comox a unique, year-round destination, visit Discover Comox Valley. To plan your time in Comox, contact the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre (Comox Valley).
Amenities located within the town include a number of marinas for commercial, sports fishing boats, and pleasure craft. There is a modern community recreation centre, a library and a museum, plus 125 hectares of parks including the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park, playing fields, and a pickle-ball court. These are complimented by an array of boutique retail and hospitality services including pubs, restaurants, award-winning breweries, and a winery. There is a well-equipped volunteer fire department and the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) is located in Comox. The area also boasts the North Island Hospital (Comox Valley) that opened in 2017.
There are five public schools in Comox; four elementary schools and one high school, which are in the School District 71 area. Also located within Comox is Phil & Jennie Gaglardi Academy, an independent K-12 Christian school (established in 1979).
Post-secondary education is available in the Comox Valley through North Island College, which provides equivalency, Diploma, and university transfer courses together with a wealth of leisure programs and education streams.
Comox and the surrounding area boasts a myriad of events year-round. Each year on the first weekend in August (BC Day Long Weekend) the Filberg Festival and Comox Nautical Days are held in Comox, showcasing hundreds of artists and performers. To view the regions year-round event calendar, click here.
CFB 19 Wing Comox
CFB 19 Wing Comox is an integral part of the community and the only Canadian Air Force Base on the west coast of Canada. Founded in 1942 as a Royal Air Force base, CFB Comox has played a major role in shaping and fostering the community, as well as supporting the regions economic well-being. The primary responsibilities of 19 Wing Comox are Search and Rescue operations in the busiest region in Canada, maritime patrols and support of naval and air force defences. In addition to these essential roles, 19 Wing Comox is a large supporter of community events routinely supplying volunteers and equipment wherever needed.