Imagine driving along the highway passing quaint homes and markets and all of a sudden there are live goats eating and playing along a grass covered roof of a market place. You are bound to stop, pull over and watch because have you ever seen something like this before? We certainly haven’t! Well this is the world famous Coombs Old Country Market or better known as the home to Goats on the Roof.
If you a headed towards Tofino, Qualicum Beach or to the eastern side of the island make sure to drive along the Alberni Highway for a sight you wont soon forget – Goats on the Roof! Located in the small town of Combs about 40 minutes from Nanimo, 2 hours from Victoria and 2 and a half hours from Tofino. Situated along the Alberni Highway you will find the Coombs Country Market with plenty of parking in both the parking lot and along the side of the road.
History of Coombs Country Market & Goats on the Roof
The original market was built in the 1950’s by Kris Graaten and his family who had emigrated to Vancouver Island from Norway. The Graaten family was inspired by their small community of Lillehammer to include a sod roof in his design of the market he was building. These sod roofs are very common in Norwegian homes and farm structures as they are built into the side of a hill with a sod roof becoming an extension of the hillside. No one is exactly certain how the goats got on the roof its more a town legend that the grass was getting rather long on the sod roof of the Coombs Country Market and someone suggested they borrow some goats to mow the grass and maybe add some entertainment to the passing cars coming into town. After that the goats became permanent tenants and have been there ever since. Each spring to fall the goats make the Coombs Country Market their home giving entertainment to both locals and visitors from around the world.