Courtenay is an agriculturally rich area on the east coast of Vancouver Island with beautiful views of the mainland's coastal mountains. Settled in the Comox Valley in the 19th century, Courtenay attracted coal miners from neighbouring Nanaimo who had heard of the area's fertile soil. With the first settlers relying on the local natives for knowledge and labour, a town was soon born.
In addition to fertile soil, Courtenay was surrounded by natural resources like lumber, fish and coal, which became the base of the economy. Though today's economy is still tied to natural resources, the city of 24,000 also relies on the military, transportation, retail, and tourism sectors. Courtenay and the Comox Valley feature many attractions throughout the year, including the annual Island Music Fest, the North Island Festival of Performing Arts, Fiddlefest and the Comox Valley Highland Games.
Other draws include the Courtenay Riverway Heritage Walk, Sid Williams Theatre, Comox Air Force Museum and Heritage Airpark, and the Courtenay and District Museum and Paleontology Centre, which offers tours of local rivers where bones and fossils of prehistoric sea life have been found.