We were on the first cruise ship to ever stop at Campbell River and were greeted as royalty. A big fire on the beach, Wei Wai Kum traditional dancers and city, province and Canadian government officials were there to welcome us. They had buses with guides to shuttle us around town.
One cruiser commented that the town was celebrating "the disembarkation of the dancing wallets!"
Merchants all over town stayed open late and all exhibited greeting signs to welcome us.
Many cruisers opted to do the various excursions, particularly the 5 hour trip to Quadra Island. I'm sure such along excursion kept many people from touring around Campbell River and definitely the merchants did not realize much benefit from such!
I did not hear reviews on the any of the excursions, unfortunately, and can only report on our venture, which was certainly unique.
We opted to ride a shuttle for the length of town, ending at the Museum of Campbell River. My wife wanted to tour the museum, but after having done similar at a previous port of call, we opted to walk along the river for a short distance to Discovery Pier. A resident then suggested that we stop at the Campbell River Maritime Heritage Centre adjacent to the pier.
We found a few other cruisers and their families there.
This museum features the BCP 45 seiner ship that was once featured on back of the Canadian $5 bill. The volunteers there, many of whom worked on the return of the ship to Campbell River and its restoration, conducted a fun tour that definitely showed their pride. The children present seemed to enjoy walking around the boat, climbing down into the engine and crew quarters, etc. There was also a large exhibit of the various engine components, tools and other equipment related to the boat and the industry.
These volunteers were a fun bunch and very helpful with information about things to see and do in Campbell River. If was their enthusiasm and friendliness that made this stop worthwhile, as I am not really "into" ships and such. For someone who is, this would be a treat.
I did tell them that we wanted to find a local off-the-beaten path,
dirt-and-rock type of place for drinks and food was directed to a place called the Quinsam Hotel. We then walked along by other storefronts, talked with a few merchants and told them that we were working our way to the Quinsam. They definitely seemed amused by our goal! Several said that they had been to "Quinny's" the night before, so evidently we were hitting paydirt.
When we embarked on a passing shuttle and told them of our quest, both the bus driver and visitor bureau greeter laughed, no doubt surprised that we would be looking for the place. Quinny's was not on the bus route but the driver took us there anyway.
The Quinsam is one building that consists of a home cooking type of diner and a large bar featuring live music, pool tables and steel darts. Can't recall if the hotel was functioning or not. Some people would call the Quinsam "a dump" and it met our expectations (but it was clean)! We walked into the diner (smelled like good home cooking) but were told they were closing, so we opted for the bar. The bartender Ida (or Ila) was nice, as were the two patrons at the bar, one a dive shop owner who said that the music played there was "redneck" music (country of course). This place is a popular hometown classic, no doubt, judging from the large size of the room. We stayed for a few cold beers and ciders (a large selection) and then caught a taxi back into town for dinner at Riptides which proved to be very good. We told our waitress about our venture to Quinny's and she too laughed and said that she had been there the night before. She couldn't believe we found the place, let alone sought it out. After dinner, it was a short walk from Riptides to the cruise ship.
As we walked the gangway back onto the ship, we ran into suited Campbell River and other officials and told them as well that we had been to Quinnies. They too were amazed and amused, high-fived us and gave us some souvenirs.
I am sure that we were the first and only cruisers who ventured there that night. It would definitely not be to the taste of most of Regent's clientele and was simply a lark for us. But if someone does happen to like such places, and also likes live country music (sometimes pop is played), then this place is evidently a find.
Info for the Quinny on the net is a bit obscure but here is some info from a blog at http://blog.myspace.com/144143164
Unfortunately Campbell River doesn't offer a wide variety of things to do at night. There many great pubs, but only a couple of "bars". By far the best recommendation that we have is the "Quinny" or Quinsam Hotel.
The only place north of Nanaimo that has live music 6 days a week. On Sundays they also offer Karaoke! This is a great place to check out the locals of Campbell River, and you'll probably run into Cody's brother Darcy there. If not him, then definately someone that knows him!
1500 Island Highway, Campbell River, BC V9W 2E5
Rip Tide Pub:
While Cody was still living in Campbell River, he used to frequent this place. It's got an interesting atmosphere, and is right on the water. It's actually located in the Discovery Mall complex. It is located in a group of other restuarants: Moxies and Joeys Only. It's a great place to go for a drink, maybe a game of pool, and then a nice walk along the pathways or Marina.
1-2231 South Island Highway, Campbell River, BC V9W 1C4