Not only does Vancouver Island offer glorious beaches, awe-striking forests, and endless outdoor activities for all to enjoy, but it’s also home to many charming and unique attractions.
Welcome to Goats on the Roof at Coombs Market
Introducing the famous (over 1 Million visitors/year!) Goats on the Roof at Coombs Market, some of the Island’s most sure-footed and amusing residents, and a day out that you’ll definitely remember.
Yes, we agree with Vacay.ca – it’s a bit ridiculous! Goats. On a Roof. And they draw this much attention!
But perhaps the real draw at Coombs Old Country Market is browsing an eclectic mix of charming shops and eateries, enjoying international foods and a whole range of souvenirs, toys, and more at quite a reasonable price.
I mean, I almost bought a Ukulele, if that tells you anything. (Ok. We just spent an amazing few nights at Sooke River Campground jamming with some talented folks around a campfire. Picturing myself doing the same thing was leading the dream, here. Totally in reach, right?)
The Old Country Market is a popular stop for tourists traveling to Tofino or Ucluelet. While there is a parking lot that is accessible to all visitors, it can get very busy, and so we highly recommend that you get there before noon, or you may have to leave your car along the road and walk to the market. Which, we did.
The History of Goats on the Roof at Coombs Market
Built in the 1950s, the Coombs Old Country Market is rich in history. It was originally built by Kristian Graaten, a Norwegian man who wanted to bring some of his roots to Canada. Because of this, the market was built with a sod roof, something that was inspired by Norwegian homes built into hillsides.
The story claims that the grass on the roof because much higher than what the owners wanted it to be, and so on the Coombs Country Fair weekend, they decided to borrow some goats to “mow” the grass. The sight of the goats on the roof thoroughly entertained the passing cars. And so, forty years later, the goats are now permanent fixtures of the Market, and welcome over a million visitors every year!
The Goats on the Roof
You may be feeling a bit concerned about the safety of the goats but fear not! The goats on the roof at Coombs Market are pygmy goats, meaning that they are experts at climbing and balancing. Many goats actually climb mountains, rocks, and sometimes even trees, so the goats at the Old Country Market are completely at home on the roof.
The Coombs Old Country Market
The goats on the roof aren’t the only attraction at the Coombs Old Country Market, however. The Market is a treasure trove of quaint shops and delightful eateries, and the original fruit market is even still present for you to browse through.
International foods and trinkets are available throughout the market with something to please every palette. Everything is reasonably priced, but even if you don’t plan on spending any money, it’s still enjoyable to walk around and peruse all the cool, (and maybe a little strange) trinkets.
Back to the cool stuff…
It was very hard for me to walk out of there without taking home one of these glorious rugs.
But you can bet I snagged a little sniff of the West Coast with these soaps:
Beyond the Coombs Old Country Market building, you will find other shops in the Coombs Market Emporium.
One of the busiest spots was a delicious donut shop named Billy G’s Donut Shops, which sells Billy Gruff Bombers.
The market also has a creamery that serves over 60 different flavors of ice cream, which we highly recommend if you visit in one of the summer months!
I could have totally spent the whole day here just for this:
Caution for Little Ones at Coombs Market:
There are many carvings to see on-site and some might be not suitable for younger viewers. For those of us of age, totally wander through the gallery in this building. You’ll see some truly beautiful works of art, and some that might make you blush and pick your jaw up off the ground.
While you may struggle to spend a whole day at the Coombs Old Country Market, it’s definitely worth a visit for an hour or two if you want to take in a unique shopping experience that you don’t find in typical hometowns.
And if anything, you’ll get a giggle at the goats on the roof and everyone (like us!) trying to get a photo of them!
Discover some of the Best Ever Vancouver Island Experiences:
Vancouver Island Beaches:
- Mystic Beach
- Sombrio Beach
- French Beach
- Sandcut Beach
- Chesterman Beach
- Long Beach
- Rathtrevor Provincial Park
- Botanical Beach
Vancouver Island Waterfalls:
Tofino Camping Spots:
- Crystal Cove Beach Resort
- Bella Pacifica Campground
- Mackenzie Beach Campground
- Surf Grove Campground
- Green Point Campground
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