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Community Profile: Ladysmith

Ladysmith is that kind of small town where people walking down the street will not only make eye contact with you, they’ll actually smile and say hello as well! It’s a place where a fellow motorist might wave you through a four-way stop, even if it’s their turn to go. Where the cashiers in the shops ask you how your day is going, and then actually listen to your answer.

It’s just a laid-back, easy-going, West Coast kind of town, nestled between the ocean and the hills. The downtown features heritage buildings with modern goods and services, and there are some interesting little restaurants to fit any taste.

Here’s a few statistics to paint the picture:

Population: a little over 8,500

Location: about an hour North of Victoria, or a half-hour South of Nanaimo

The traditional colour palette of Ladysmith weather – green and grey

Transportation: 5 minute drive to the Cassidy (Nanaimo) airport, 15 minutes to the Duke Point BC Ferry terminal.

Main Economic Drivers: Forestry, Tourism, and Agriculture.

Weather: well, it’s the West Coast, isn’t it? The colour palette is green on the bottom and grey on the top for most of the year, with a lovely interlude of blue skies from June to September when temperatures are in the high 20’s (Celsius). Most winters will see a few snow days, when this hilly town pretty much shuts down so everyone can get out their toboggans. The snow rarely lasts, however, as the average January temperature is 6 degrees above freezing. And in the springtime, well, there simply is no better place to be than Vancouver Island!

A Japanese Cherry Tree in full bloom

Media: The Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle newspaper is delivered weekly; Take 5 magazine comes out once a month

Schools: Ladysmith Primary School (Kindergarten to grade 3), Ladysmith Intermediate School (grades 4-7), École North Oyster Elementary (K-7), and Ladysmith Secondary School (grades 8-12). École North Oyster Elementary is a dual-track school, having both French immersion and English programs.

Notable People: World-famous blonde bombshell and animal rights activist Pamela Anderson grew up in Ladysmith. Stef Lang, a Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer also known as DYLN, grew up and attended Ladysmith Secondary School. Another LSS graduate is actress Michelle Mylett, who currently stars in the hit series “Letterkenny”.

Dining: For a small town, Ladysmith certainly has a wide variety of cuisine on offer in local eateries. There are well-established family restaurants, coffee shops and pubs, an Indian restaurant and a Tapas bar, plus a few sushi and teriyaki options to round out your available choices over and above the regular fast-food chains. There’s even a vegan restaurant AND a gluten-free café!

The Patio at Plantitude Vegan restaurant in Ladysmith

Festivals and Celebrations: Ladysmith residents enjoy doing things outdoors, all year round. Family-fun celebrations in the summertime include Ladysmith Days, Logger Sports, the Maritime Festival and Arts on the Avenue – and of course the annual “Brits on the Beach” and “Ladysmith Show and Shine” automobile love-ins. But the undisputed champion of Ladysmith events has to be the Festival of Lights, when the charming downtown shops and streets are illuminated with a blaze of holiday brilliance all through December and January. And it all kicks off with the Light-Up Parade on the last Thursday in November, where – for one evening – the population of Ladysmith nearly doubles, as people come from far and wide to watch Santa flip the switch and kick off the holiday season.

Community Living: Ladysmith keeps its community spirit alight all year round with a wealth of volunteers doing just about anything and everything you could imagine – read my blog, “Ladysmith, Queen of Clubs, Part 1. Ladysmith has a nearly endless supply of clubs, organizations, and associations – with a veritable army of volunteers who all spend their time building the best community they can.

Recreation: Snuggling itself against the hills rising from the Pacific as it does, Ladysmith offers all kinds of outdoor pursuits. In addition to the always-popular seaside activities at Transfer Beach, local recreational favourites include gardening (of course), hiking and biking along the Holland Creek Trail, or making the climb up the hills to Heart Lake.

Ladysmith Parks, Recreation and Culture operates out of the Frank Jameson Community Centre, a facility that includes a pool, a weight room, a gym, and a fitness studio where you can sweat to your heart’s content at any number of cardio, spin, yoga, or other exercise classes that are held on a regular basis.

As for organized sports, Ladysmith has you covered there as well. Read my blog “Ladysmith, Queen of Clubs, Part 2.

Kayaking is also a popular pastime around these waters:

Ladysmith also has a beautiful Marina featuring moorage and boathouses as well as free parking. And the view is spectacular:

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So if you’re looking to relocate to an incredibly friendly small town that’s abuzz with lots of social activities, great schools and programs for the kids, and also plenty to eat, then Ladysmith may be just the town for you. And if you need more convincing, read my blog, “Ladysmith Love Letter”!

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Ladysmith: Queen of Clubs, pt. 2 – Youth Sports

Sport helps youths to become better contributors to society. Research shows a child’s involvement in sport helps them to improve their social interaction, increase their confidence, and improve their listening skills and health. Competitive sports can be brilliant for building children’s confidence. From team mates telling them they’ve done a great job to accepting new challenges and accomplishing goals, competitive sports can be a real boost to self-esteem.

Ladysmith, the “Queen of Clubs”,  is home to many youth sporting and activity groups – here’s a few to get you started:

Ladysmith Baseball Association

Over the past 52 years the Ladysmith Baseball Association (LBA) has offered sporting opportunities to the youth of Ladysmith and district. Whatever level you play at, baseball can enhance your life, improving fitness, strength and coordination. Whether you are looking to play casually in their recreational league or competitively with one of their traveling teams, you’ll find the LBA to be a great place to learn new skills and meet new friends. LBA is a volunteer based, not for profit society.

Mid-Isle Soccer Club

The Mid-Isle Soccer Club is a not-for-profit, volunteer-operated Club whose mission is to foster a lifelong love of soccer in our youth members, and to promote the benefits that team sports and a healthy lifestyle provide. Their Club is open to any child from the age of 3 to 17 that wishes to play. The season begins in September and runs through March (with a holiday break in late December). Registration opens in March and closes in August.

Ladysmith Minor Football Association

The Ladysmith Minor Football Association (LMFA)  is a full contact co-ed football league for players aged 9 – 14. Quality, safety & coaches for players are their number one goal. They provide the individual growth of our community’s children through the spirit of competition, discipline and fair play, and are  committed to providing a program that maintains the highest standards and guarantees a fun, positive experience for everyone involved.

Rhythm Dance Academy: Ladysmith’s Dance Studio

Rhythm Dance Academy is a bright, spacious and inviting dance studio located right in the beating heart of Ladysmith, BC. Discover the passion for dance and explore the various opportunities in the many disciplines that Rhythm offers. Rhythm Dance Academy provides classes for ages three to adults in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Performing Company.

Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association

Kids in Ladysmith play hockey in the Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association, with their home rink located a few minutes down the road at the Fuller Lake Arena. The Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey Association is committed to providing quality hockey programs for kids aged 5-17. They provide the highest quality amateur hockey programs for children at their appropriate level of play, by encouraging fun, sportsmanship, good citizenship, physical development and a love of the game, that lasts a lifetime.

Fuller Lake Skating Club

The Fuller Lake Skating Club offers figure skating, power skating, and “CanSkate” learn-to-skate programs every year from September through March at the Fuller Lake Arena.

Ladysmith Sportsmen’s Club

The Ladysmith Sportsmen’s Club was established in 1944. It is a non-profit, co-ed volunteer organization involved in the promotion and preservation of outdoor recreational activities and conservation programs. They host learn-to-fish events, watershed debris cleanups, and they operate the Bush Creek Hatchery.

Ladysmith Chemainus Swim Club

The Ladysmith Chemainus Swim Club (LCSC) is a non-profit society that promotes youth health and fitness through swimming. Based out of the Frank Jameson Community Center in Ladysmith, they welcome competitive and non-competitive swimmers of all ages and abilities. The goal of the club is to equip each member with life skills while having a desire to see them succeed in and out of the pool. Swimmers travel for competitions, mainly in the Island, as well as in house events. Registration is ongoing – you can always join the Orcas!

So if you’re looking for a sporting adventure for your children, to offer them all the benefits that sport provides, then Ladysmith has you covered – on the field, in the stream, on the ice and in the pool!