Comox Valley is a collection of smaller communities that interact with one another through recreational facilities, festivals, and community events. The neighbourhood is a family-friendly place, with plenty of amenities such as schools, restaurants, entertainment options, and outdoor space. Nearby provincial parks provide spectacular views and opportunities for recreation and relaxation close to home. Communities in the neighbourhood are linked through major highways and regional public transportation.
Situated on the east coast of Vancouver Island, Comox Valley includes the communities of Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland, Merville, Black Creek, Denman Island, Hornby Island, Union Bay, Fanny Bay, and Royston. Each smaller community in the neighbourhood has a distinct feel, but the various communities often rely on each other for access to amenities and community events. The neighbourhood overall has a small-town feel.
The Sid Williams Theatre is located in Courtenay and has been around since the 1920s. Originally a movie theatre, the venue served various purposes before becoming an important performing arts theatre for the Comox Valley area. Events held at the theatre include musical performances, film festivals, comedy acts, and theatre shows. The Rialto Theatre is also located in Courtenay and shows a variety of blockbuster films throughout the week. The theatre has several regular screens, as well as 3D ones (with limited show times). History buffs will enjoy the Cumberland Museum and Archives, located in Cumberland. The museum provides information, exhibits, and artifacts related to the history and culture of Cumberland. The venue also hosts walking tours, community suppers, seasonal events, and heritage events throughout the year.
Most of the restaurant options found in Comox Valley are located on main streets in the larger communities such as Comox, Courtenay, and Cumberland. Toscano’s Mediterranean Grill in Comox features Italian fare such as salads, pastas, and meat dishes, as well as rich desserts and specialty coffees served in the venue’s comfortable space. The restaurant sources as many local ingredients as possible, and offers a selection of local and Italian wines. Plates Eatery and Catering, located in Courtenay, specializes in breakfast and lunch dishes like omelettes, breakfast sandwiches, waffles, pancakes, burgers, soups, and salads. The restaurant has a funky feel, and one of its points of interest is the collection of old licence plates from various places that line the walls. In Cumberland, Biblio Taco serves up Mexican food like tacos, burritos, and quesadillas made with local ingredients and sauces whipped up in-house. The simple, modern interior design spills onto the beautiful patio area outdoors.
Single-family homes are most common in Comox Valley, but there are also apartments, semi-detached houses, and row houses in the neighbourhood. The average price for a single-family home is $426,600, which is similar to the average price for residential real estate on Vancouver Island overall ($444,500). The population of Comox Valley is 63,538, and this has increased slightly over the past 10 years. Families make up 35% of the population here, 39% are couples, and 26% are single. The average annual income is $66,052, which is slightly lower than the average annual income in the province as a whole, and 55% of residents are university or college educated.
Air quality in the neighbourhood can be affected by traffic and local industry, as well as the occasional wildfire. Noise can be an issue in busier areas of the neighbourhood, particularly along major roadways.
Comox Valley tends to have a slightly higher crime rate than some other communities in the province, with an even mix of violent and non-violent crimes committed annually.
Schools in the Comox Valley neighbourhood include Beachcombers Community School, Denman Island Community School, Cumberland Community School, Cumberland Elementary, Hornby Island Community School, Valley View Elementary School, Saltwater School, Highland Secondary, Queneesh Elementary School, G. P. Vanier Secondary, Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School, École Au coeur de l'île, Aspen Park Elementary School, Courtenay Elementary, Brooklyn Elementary School, Arden Elementary, Miracle Beach Elementary School, and Lake Trail Middle School.
Post-secondary options in the neighbourhood include North Island College, Excel Career College, and Discovery Community College.
BC Transit operates a number of bus routes in the Comox Valley area, including routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12, 34, and 99. These routes connect the various smaller communities within Comox Valley, as well as providing transportation to other areas outside of the neighbourhood.
Miracle Beach Provincial Park is located in the northern section of the neighbourhood along the Strait of Georgia and offers a sandy beach, individual and group campsites, a playground, washroom and shower facilities, a picnic area, and walking trails. It is a popular spot for canoeing, hiking, cycling, fishing, swimming, and wildlife viewing. Comox Lake Bluffs Ecological Reserve, located on Comox Lake in the eastern section of the neighbourhood, is an ecologically sensitive area with rare species of flora and fauna. Activities in the reserve are limited to swimming, canoeing, and hiking, to limit the disturbance of plants and animals living in the area. Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is located in the southeastern section of the neighbourhood and is used for cycling, fishing, hiking, swimming, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. The forested area includes picnic sites, trails, and restrooms. The creek is a spawning area for coho salmon.
The Comox Valley Sports Centre in Courtenay provides two ice rinks, a pool, a sauna, a whirlpool, a fitness centre with weight room, a track, a sports field, and meeting/multipurpose rooms. Skating lessons and drop-in and registered programs such as hockey, swimming, and fitness are available at the centre, and the facilities can be booked for private events and workshops. The Lewis Centre in Courtenay has two gymnasiums, a wellness centre, activity rooms, four squash courts, an outdoor swimming pool, an outdoor water park, and an outdoor skate park. A variety of programs and workshops are available for people of all ages. Comox Valley has two public library branches – one in Courtenay and one in Comox. The libraries offer access to computers, printers, photocopiers, Wi-Fi, study areas, and various programs for children and adults.