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

Oceanside RCMP: ‘Steal from cars, go behind bars’

Man in custody after pair of vehicles broken into in French Creek; officer breaks ankle during arrest

Large ‘problematic’ tree removed from Qualicum Beach golf course

Lombardy Poplar tree taken down by town, member upset

RDN to share cost of Parksville’s goose harvest

City asked regional district to pay one-third of $35K expense

Parksville’s Arrowsmith Lodge and Cokely Manor celebrate 50 years

Week of ‘60s-themed activities starts on April 26

VIDEO: ‘Alarm bells’ raised by footage allegedly from B.C. pig farm, SPCA says

PETA released video Wednesday showing dead and injured piglets next to nursing piglets

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Horgan heckled as gas prices sit at record high, could go up more

Premier John Horgan blames refiners, not taxes

SPCA investigating after newborn kittens found in Vancouver dumpster

The kittens were found suffering from hypothermia and dehydration

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man charged with daughters’ murders

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Most Read