Twelve picks for royal-worthy hotspots on the island

By Hannah Chubb
February 18, 2020 04:40 PM
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It’s no secret that Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have recently made themselves right at home on the West Coast of Canada, settling into a $14 million mansion on scenic Vancouver Island with baby Archie and their two pups. 

Insiders have reported that the parents have been enjoying their newfound freedom from royal duties, and that British Columbia — one of Canada’s 10 provinces — is the perfect respite for the pair

Vancouver Island is home to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, as well as many of the provinces’ most popular cities, like Tofino, Nanaimo and Sooke.

Locals and transplants alike have plenty to explore across the island, with an abundance of natural beauty, a thriving arts scene, a temperate climate, great food, plenty of provincial and national parks and so much more. 

RELATED: Canada-Bound? Where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle May End Up if They Move to North America

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After staying on the island over the Christmas holiday, the family of three has been enjoying the ability to fly under the radar on Vancouver Island. It’s a peaceful, relaxing area of the world where they can jog, hike, eat and do more activities without being in the spotlight. That’s why it makes perfect sense that they would choose it as their temporary home after stepping away from their duties in the U.K. 

With that in mind, here’s a Meghan and Harry-inspired guide to Vancouver Island — with 12 picks for royal-worthy hotspots on the island! 

1. Strathcona Provincial Park

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Located in the center of the island, Strathcona Provincial Park is the oldest provincial park in the province of British Columbia. Look up and you’ll find snow-topped mountains; look down and you’re met with alpine tarns. We think Meghan and Harry would love to hike in this scenic spot (they’ve already been spotted hiking on the island!), taking in the natural wonders and escaping into the pure peace and quiet. The entire park is more than 250,000 hectares — no crowds here!

2. Modo Yoga Nanaimo

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Meghan is a known fan of Modo Yoga, having gone to locations in Toronto and New York City, so we’re sure she would love to hit up the chain’s Nanaimo location for a little stretch and flow. Dr. Kristen Butler, the owner of the Nanaimo studio, tells PEOPLE that they provide a real community for their clients. 

“People come here to escape and to connect to themselves and their community,” Butler says. “We know that healthy yoga practice leads to healthy choices overall. We cultivate harmony with on and off the mat.”

Butler adds that life on Vancouver Island is “beautiful.”

“People are always outside being active,” she says. “It doesn’t take along for you to slip out and have that sense of connection to nature.”

3. The Flying Pig 

Meghan is a self-proclaimed foodie, and the Flying Pig is a popular spot to satisfy even the most royal cravings. The West Coast Canadian restaurant, with a location in Victoria, is all about sustainability. They focus on bringing local ingredients to the table and making the dining experience feel like home, which is right up the couple’s alley. We also noticed they have a few healthy and hearty pasta dishes on the menu — Meghan’s favorite!

4. Mount Washington

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Not far from Nanaimo is Mount Washington, one of the most popular resorts on the island. Here, Harry and Meghan could take advantage of all the winter sports Canada is known for, from snowshoeing and snow tubing to skiing and snowboarding. And Archie, who recently “saw snow for the first time” in Canada could attend lessons at their snow school! 

5. Good Life Juice 

This Nanaimo-based juicery serves up cold-pressed juices, salads and other health-conscious foods to customers across the island. Meghan is a known juice fan, and has shared how she loves to recreate her favorite juices and smoothies on her former lifestyle blog, The Tig, in the past. She would certainly be able to get her fix at this local shop — perhaps before heading out for a hike or walking the dogs. 

6. Drip Coffee 

Located sea-side, this Nanaimo-based coffee shop is a favorite among locals. We can see Meghan and Harry stopping by here to snag a morning brew. They have a beautiful patio overlooking Departure Bay Beach where patrons can sit and chat in the sun — and dogs are always welcome!

RELATED VIDEO: All About Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s Fresh Start Away from Royal Life

7. Mothering Touch 

This family-run spot in Victoria has everything a new mom might need. Not only do they sell a variety of baby and maternity products, they also offer many classes and meet-up groups for new moms and their little ones. Meghan was spotted bringing Archie to playgroups back in the U.K., so we wouldn’t be surprised if she dropped in here for a motherhood circle or even baby yoga class. 

8. Unsworth Vineyards

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Meghan knows the value of a good glass of red wine. She even named The Tig after Tignanello red wine! That said, the new mom is going to need a good place to grab a glass in her new locale, and this tasting room has award-winning bottles ready to pour. 

9. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

This gorgeous nature reserve is one of Canada’s National Parks, residing on Nuu-chah-nulth indigenous land that’s thousands of years old. Described on their website as a “gateway to the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island,” the protected land is the perfect place to take part in a variety of different outdoor activities, from surfing to kayaking to hiking and everything in between. We might have found your summer getaway, Harry and Meghan!

10. Jump Into Music 

With locations both on the island and in Vancouver proper, Jump Into Music is a music and movement studio with classes designed for kids ages 6 months to 4 years old. Maybe Archie has a penchant for the arts just like Meghan! 

11. House of Kiyo 

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Meghan has been known to treat herself to a spa treatment or two every now and then, and as a new mom, she definitely deserves it. This salon and day spa, with locations on the island in both Parksville and Nanaimo, would be the perfect retreat for the mother-of-one when she needs a little break, offering facials, massages, hair and nail appointments and more. 

12. Moka House Coffee

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Known for having one of the best patios in the city, Moka House Coffee, located in Victoria’s Cook Street Village is for the dogs… as in, they treat them as good as the people! Harry and Meghan could bring their two rescue dogs here and chat with locals while the pups chow on the treats from the barista. It’s also a quick trip away from Scafe Hill, which has a great off-leash dog hike with incredible views. 

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