There are some places that seem to defy description and logic. I think we found one of them.
It started as a logging community and became a stop between major towns early on in the Western development of Vancouver Island. Now it just seems to be known for the eclectic mix of “stuff”.
My recollections, from the mid 70’s, was of a primitive wooden building with goats on the roof. I dimly recall ice cream and a tiny town on a backroad surrounded by trees.
Today Coombs has morphed into something, hm, quite unique. It still has the original house/store front. It is sadly vacant and appears a bit run down.
There are also a handful of other old buildings in this small settlement; two of them still in use. Grace United Church and the General Store.
Neither of these buildings are why people flock to Coombs. And trust me they flock on the Sunday of a long weekend. The old county market is what draws tourists in.
Locals, like my sister, only go early mid week morning. The grocery story and open air market is chock full of interesting items and great produce for good value. The buildings meander along and almost seem to be part of the landscape.
Except for when you realize there are goats on the roof. Apparently they aren’t there all the time but will always be out on long weekends. I don’t recall what the original story about them is all about but they are a tourist draw.
It was interesting to note the second the goats realized tourists were around with food they zipped to that part of the roof and quite grazing on the grass. They were looking for a handout for sure.
There were lineups everywhere. The pizzeria serves great food and is always booming apparently. It was hard to tell what the building originally was, or indeed if it was old or new, as I was fixated on this plant! The flowers were so gorgeous.
The opposite side of the old market lane has had a transformation and it’s a bit jarring. Gone are the old wood buildings and in its place is a new Italian Renaissance style long building. It houses the ice cream and involves a lot of glass and a huge deck. I did not take a picture of it because it didn’t fit the backwoods vibes of the place. Instead I took a photo from the patio, as we enjoyed our ice creams, of the original ice cream shack. Which now houses the donut shop but they had run out and were closed, much to the dismay of many tourists. I also skipped the photo of all the totally weird statues in the next little market area. The inside of that building, a 80’s era log structure, was full of teak carvings and a food stand. Outside it there were giraffes, elephants, Buddha’s of all shapes and sizes and dozens more “climbing” statues of an Asian theme. It seemed rather incongruous along side the old house beside it that displayed Rastafarian flags. It was randomly weird.
We went back to the more old original area and found the fairgrounds. I’ve heard about the local Coombs fair for a couple of decades as my sister had been very involved so we checked it out. Then we proceeded to see if the town, or perhaps it’s a village, had any houses and what vintage they would be. There was a steamboat (?) along the creek, which was way too tiny to have been the way this vessel was moved. There was no signs of the original railway tracks but we found a few houses on the side streets. The businesses alongside the highway have come and gone throughout the years but the market itself is still going strong.
Maybe, just because, it defies description.