Leif Bogwald left an 11-year career in accounting to start up a Vancouver Island tour company promoting the West Coast and all it has to offer.

Custom-designed to see the Island’s wonders

Operator has a 12-person bus and does tours ranging from a half day to six days

For Vancouver Islanders, one of the greatest enjoyments can be showing visitors around the place we’re lucky enough to call home.

For Leif Bogwald, that’s a full-time job. And he loves it.

Bogwald, who was born and raised in Ladysmith, is the face behind Vancouver Island Expeditions, a new tourism company that aims to connect tourists (and often locals) with the best of the West Coast.

“A lot of people come to Vancouver Island and only see Butchart Gardens and Cathedral Grove and while those are great places I just don’t think it’s a true representation of our culture here on Vancouver Island,” he said. “There are just some things here that are so very Vancouver Island.”

Bogwald explains Vancouver Island Expeditions offers everything from local food and wine tours to half and full-day adventures like hiking, caving and kayaking. Some are pre-planned packages, while others can be custom-designed to fit personal interests.

“I’ve traveled a lot around the world and the more I traveled the more I realized how much Vancouver Island has to offer,” he said, noting the idea to start his own company came after a particularly inspirational trip abroad.

“In 2010 we (my wife and I) went to Belize and did a five-day tour through a company that’s similar to what I’m doing now,” he said. “It incorporated things like kayaking but instead of just going from point A to point B it was more about learning about the ecosystem around you and underneath you; when you went for a hike we learned about the culture and then of course there was amazing food.”

During that tour, Bogwald thought “Wow someone should do this on Vancouver Island.”

He said “Belize is obviously a lot warmer but we have very similar things — we have caving, hiking, kayaking, awesome food — we have a rich culture here.”

So after a few years of entertaining the idea, Bogwald decided to go all in.

He left an 11 year career at an accounting firm and became a professional travel curator — and he hasn’t looked back since.

“It just felt right,” he said of the decision to leave what he described as a “stable, secure job.”

For homework, Bogwald now travels around Vancouver Island sampling different fragments of Island culture from small scale organic farms to deep, dark caves in Horne Lake.

One of his favourite places to take visitors, he admits is a quaint tea farm in the Cowichan Valley.

“It’s in this old farm house that’s been converted into a tea shop,” Bogwald explained enthusiastically. “The owner really makes the experience, he’s like an encyclopedia of tea and his partner makes beautiful, handcrafted pottery.”

Additionally, he loves Ampersand Distilling Company, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks and Horne Lake Caves.

Upcoming spring tours include A Taste Of The Cowichan Valley, Tofino West Coast Day Trip and Ancient Civilizations and West Coast Wilderness.

Bogwald has a 12-person tour bus and will accommodate trips from a half-day to six-days-plus.

He’s passionate about Vancouver Island’s natural beauty and wants to share the gift of travel with tourists and locals alike.

For more information visit www.vancouverislandexpeditions.com or contact 250-739-9659.

Just Posted

Search is on for parties to build $10.7M Bowser sewage project

Further investigation of land disposal option rejected by RDN board

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

Qualicum Beach doles out Community Awards

Jacobson is Citizen of the Year; new mayor Wiese named top newsmaker

Finalists announced for annual Business Achievement Awards

Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce honours individuals, businesses

Parksville artist aims to produce zero waste with creations, business

Margie Preninger even dabbled with dryer lint years ago

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

Regulator’s report unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline expansion battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

Peter Tork, Monkees’ lovable bass-guitar player, dies at 77

Tork, Micky Dolenz, David Jones and Michael Nesmith formed the made-for-television rock band

Most Read