• Ron Kirstein

An Amazing Experience Just West of Parksville

Updated: Mar 10



The World’s Best “Little” Tourist Trap



The Coombs Old Country Market (Goats on the Roof):

I love this place. It is by far the world’s best little tourist trap! I dare you to stop there and not buy anything!



The old country market started as a simple fruitstand! Goats now graze on the roof during the tourist season. It soon became known as “Goats on the Roof!


At one time there was an ice cream bar 40 feet long in the old building. That has now been moved to a new Ice Cream Bar across the road, with a shady patio where you can enjoy your treat. They also have a separate donut bar, bakery bar, meat and cheese bar and a whole lot more. They shop the world for specialty foods and have opened a fresh produce store, a sport clothing store (Wabi Sabi Board Wear, and a second restaurant (Cuckoo Trattoria). So my use of “little” is no longer appropriate except in my memory!



They have the best ice cream shop anywhere. They serve island farms ice cream which is one of the very best! They have about 40 choices and I will bet that on an “ice cream day” one in three people there have an ice cream cone in their hands. A regular size cone will certainly fill you up. Make sure you have Ice Cream…it is part of the experience! The tough part is making your choice. They also have gelato and Sorbet!


The building that the market is in is the one under the sod roof where the goats graze! It has a restaurant with reasonably priced and tasty food. It always seems busy but still the service is good!

The market is located on the gateway to the west coast of Canada, situated approximately 30 mins from Port Alberni and 2½ hrs from Tofino and Ucluelet. The address for your GPS is 2326 Alberni Hwy, Coombs, BC V0R 1M0.



You can buy grocery items, specialty products, fresh meat, fresh baked goods, objects from all over the world and a whole lot more. It is an amazing place. I always take guests there and they always really enjoy it and yes, they always buy something. It is stocked with more things and food than you could imagine! It is a market on steroids! They have something for everyone.

The business premise started with a simple question, what if? It went this way! In 1973, “What if we started a fruit stand beside the highway?” One year later, “What if we sold hamburgers to travelers en route to the west coast?” Two years after that, “What if we built a market?” A market was built and that’s how this story began. Many questions and answers followed and the market evolved in its own inimitable way. Then the big question unfolded,“What if we put goats on the roof?”


Boom! One of the best marketing programs in the world came to be! Who would have known! The Coombs Country Market is now known around the world. It is worth a stop just to see what was developed over those years. Jobs were created for local residents. Businesses sprouted up all around “Goats on a Roof!



Some people have tried to copy the concept or parts of it but none have succeeded.

So, when you are traveling to Port Alberni make sure you take the Alberni Highway 4A and not 4 from near Qualicum Beach. Allow at least 1.5 hours for your stop at the Market. You can thank me later!


I think we have been to this stop on Vancouver Island more than anywhere else. Obviously I am a fan! Perhaps you will become a fan too. In the 25 + years that I have been promoting tourism on Vancouver Island, I have been contacted more about this place than any other. So, make sure you take in this experience. It is on the way to one of my favourite destinations on the Island, Ucluelet, Tofino, and Long Beach.

Even if you are not heading across the Island to the West Coast, once you get to Parksville take the short side trip to “Goats on the Roof” – The Coombs Country Market!



Are you going to "Goats on the Roof?


You have just been introduced to a tourist attraction on Vancouver Island! During the summer it is hard to find parking but don't let that stop you! This is a great break from driving and you will enjoy your stop. There is only one place like this in the world! Nothing else compares. It has been Island grown with a bit of Norwegian ingenuity! Have fun!

Ron