But wait, there is more.
Only about an hour from Nanaimo is the small community of Coombs where you will find the Old Country Markets. Coombs is synonymously known as “Goats on the Roof”.
On my recent trip to Nanaimo, we stopped in to the country markets and I couldn’t believe how cool it was. Not only are the goats pretty neat, this quirky shopping and eating experience, is nothing like anything I had ever seen before. It sure made me smile. But, it is not just quirky; it is seriously good quality with very unusual merchandise, displayed with a buzzing imagination.
The Old Country Market started as a roadside fruit stand in 1973, providing fresh produce to travellers heading to the west coast of Vancouver Island. Over the years it has evolved into a landmark of Coombs, with a mixture of shops and eateries for locals and visitors alike.
The original market was created by a family who emigrated to Vancouver Island from Norway in the 1950’s. Inspired by the many Norwegian homes and farm structures that are built directly into the hillside, they decided to design the market with a sod roof. When the grass grew too tall they put goats on the roof to “mow” the grass which then became an attraction. And so, this market with goats on the roof is now a popular draw card for the area.
As if having goats on the roof isn’t enough, this incredible market has lots to offer inside. A butcher, deli, fruit and vegetables, pastries and a coffee shop; we saw fancy chopsticks and beautiful rice bowls, masks, garden statues, a wide assortment of twinkly lights, home wares, toys, a wonderful offering of gifts, fancy condiments from almost every continent and, of course, souvenir t-shirts, magnets and mugs. “Off the Wall” neat stuff to browse through all the way to the check out which could take hours if you have the time to spend looking at the incredible range of products available.
The deli has a huge offering as well as the varieties in the meat and fish sections. There are cheeses galore with a vast variety and lots of different food items from around the world.
It has a general store feel to it that is welcoming and cozy with a very hippy vibe about the entire complex and of course….goats on the roof .
Afterwards, we made our way over to the ice cream shop for a delicious gelato.
This place is a must stop if you are in the area. There is something for everyone.