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The village of Sooke, on the shore of Juan de Fuca Strait, about a 45-minute drive west of Victoria, has two claims to fame: it's home to Sooke Harbour House, one of Canada's best-known country inns, and it's the last stop for gas and supplies before heading out to the beaches and hiking trails of the island's wild and scenic southwest coast.From Sooke, the narrow and winding
Highway 14 runs 48 miles through birch and fir woods, with occasional sea views, to the fishing village of Port Renfrew. En route it passes Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, where trailheads lead to a series of forest-backed, driftwood-strewn beaches. The area around Sooke is home to some excellent restaurants and high-end B&Bs, but as you head west, other services are few.
The Cowichan people were onto something when they called this fertile valley north of Victoria "the Warm Land." The region, roughly from Mill...