Goats on the Roof

On Vancouver Island, off the coast of British Columbia, there is a unique restaurant/market in the small village of Coombs, near Parksville. The building has a sod roof that never needs mowing because the resident goats take care of that. They have their own goat house for shade or shelter from rainy or cold weather. They even have planks that go from one level to another in one part of the roof. To find out more about The Old Country Market at Coombs, click here.015

The building is built in the old-fashioned post and beam style. The sod roof is supposed to provide good insulation.


Inside the main building, you will find delightful treats to please every palate. Deli items are everywhere. All the groceries have a “special treat” appeal. The mustard is the good kind; the crackers are the exotic kind, sauces and chutneys, and all the specialty items you can imagine fill the shelves. 020

Ice cream, fresh produce, art supplies, carvings, handicrafts, clothing, a nursery (plants, not children), candy, garden supplies, everything you can imagine is for sale here, but with a “funky edge” to it.


People in these photos are no one I know. Just happy market customers.

The deli meats and bakery make a tempting combination. Nearby you can get Starbucks coffee to stay or go. We took advantage of these things and instead of staying to eat on the restaurant patio this time, we drove a short distance to the town of Qualicum, and had our picnic there at a table near the beach. A fine ending to a beautiful day.027


34 thoughts on “Goats on the Roof

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I would love to be able to shop for free in it! I love all the wonderful things in there. Actually there are other shops in the bigger complex for which the original draw is the building with the “Goats on the Roof.” (I hope they’ll give me a discount next time I’m there, for all the free advertising I’m giving them.)

  1. Sonja Forrester

    Coombs Market is one of my favourites places to go! There are so many wonderful things to look at and sample! It is not too far from my house, but I rarely get there anymore. I must go back again very soon and have a lunch or dinner at “Cuckoo’s Restaurant”. The patio is so pretty, nestled into the trees and the sound of the water below, trickling in the creek. This market is a very beautiful place to spend a few hours, just wandering around and enjoying a few treats. Thanks for posting this and reminding me to get there soon!

        1. wordsfromanneli Post author

          I sense a touch of sarcasm, but you’d be surprised how many people come there to see the goats. But the groceries and other items are the closest thing we have to a Trader Joe’s, and people just love that.

  2. Grace

    Oh anneli! You’re causing me to have flash backs! “Love” that building. My children used to delight in the goats that chewed away on the roof. Coombs was also where my grandparents married many, many years ago.

      1. Grace

        I discovered that gem in ancestry when I discovered their marriage certificate. Coombs was our stop for ice cream and of course to wonder at the goats.

  3. bulldog

    Now this I’ve never heard of before… a roof of soil… surely the rain water etc still seeps through? I must assume they have some form of drainage system to stop water leaks… I love the idea, a real novelty…

    1. wordsfromanneli Post author

      I’m not sure if they have a water barrier under the sod, but the grass soaks up most of it, I would think. Sod roofs used to be the thing on many farm houses and outbuildings in pioneer days.

      1. bulldog

        The sods would have to be of a very high clay content to ensure no seepage…. very interesting going to do a bit more research on this, never heard of it before… might just be a solution for my house whose roof is continually needing painting… maybe sods on top of the sink corrugated iron… will have to build a ladder for the goats and then I will have to get the goats… lol

  4. Pingback: Goats on the Roof Again | wordsfromanneli

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