Gulf Islands and Discovery Island Communities
Located of the West Coast of Canada a quite, semi isolated, picturesque Gulf Island landscapes, accessible only by water, ferry or sea plane the Gulf Islands bask in a mild West Coast (sub-Mediterranean-type) climate. Perfect year round vacations, golfing, and other outdoors activities such as hiking, scuba diving, cycling and nature watching. A choice of Southern or Northern Gulf islands, all with easy access by ferry from Vancouver Island or the mainland.
SOUTHERN GULF ISLANDS
Bowen Island is a boater’s paradise, nestled in the northern Gulf Islands amongst the Coast Mountain Range. Mt. Gardner stands proudly against Bowen’s skyline at 762 meters. Like most Gulf Islanders, Bowen Island residents are proud of their home and enjoy their rugged wilderness home. There are about 3,000 full time residents living on Bowen Island, however, another 1,500 people call Bowen their summer home. From artists to retirees, Bowen’s 52 square kilometres is home to a great variety of people. There are even residents who commute daily to Vancouver.
Access to Gabriola Island is by ferry located on the Nanaimo BC waterfront. Surrounded by rural forested parks, quiet beaches and ocean views. The mild a mild temperate climate creates a relaxed lifestyle. The island is known for its variety of artisans, with a thriving cottage industry and arts and crafts. Visit the Gabriola Museum to get a sense of the Island history that tells the story of this Strait of Georgia island. There are over 50 petroglyphs carved by aboriginal inhabitants discovered at Jack Point, Lock Bay and Weldwood. Outdoor activities include golfing, wild life viewing, hiking, cycling, sea kayaking, fishing and beach combings.
Access to Galiano Island is by BC Ferries from Swartz. Galiano offers a variety of accommodations, including resorts, inn, cottages, bed & breakfasts, and a Provincial Park campsite. There is a choice of places to eat including a grocery store for your basic needs. Galiano Island supports many artists and where their works can be bought in the local island galleries and craft shops. There are seven parks plus a variety of sandy, white shell and pebble beaches. The 141-acre park at Dionisio Point Provincial Park is accessible only by water, it includes spectacular mature forests, rocky points, sandy beaches and a tidal lagoon. Mt. Galiano and Mt. Sutil and Bodega Ridge with their popular hiking trails have been set aside as ecological reserves. Bluff and Bellhouse parks are beautiful locations easily accessible by automobile. Another popular location is Montague Harbour used as both a marine park and camp site. The marina has a store, anchorage, food and boat fuel.
BC Ferry terminal is located in Active Pass where the eagle soar. Explore the century-old buildings, spectacular views. A variety of Bed & breakfast homes and country inns add to this beautiful get away location. Outdoor activities include, scuba diving, beach combing at Bennett Bay hiking on Mount Park and cycling where you will enjoy the quiet country roads and trails. Explore the sculptured sandstone cliffs at Campbell Bay. The Georgina Point Lighthouse and park are open to visitors. Watch Ferries and variety of ocean vessels as they travel through Active Past. There are docking facilities at the government wharf at Miners Bay or Horton Bay.
Separated by a narrow canal and linked by a one lane bridge the Pender Islands are comprised of North and South Pender. A perfect Gulf island location for round vacations and outdoor activities such as golfing, hiking, cycling and nature watching. Located on South Pender is Bedwell Harbour the site of the customs dock and popular marina and resort There are two hiking trails, leading up Mt. Norman with its spectacular views and the other follows the canal to white shell beaches of Beaumont Marine Park with its arbutus headland. North Pender island offers services such as a health clinic, elementary school, a community hall, Driftwood Mall shopping centre, churches, a variety of shops, library. Here you can explore historic Port Washington and Hope Bay, with their government docks and heritage store.
Salt Spring Island:
Easy access by BC Ferries from Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island or from Tsawwassen terminal located on the Canadian mainland. Spring Island is the largest and most populated of the Gulf Islands with over of ten thousand residents which provides for all the necessities of life, such as shopping centres, hospitals, entertainment, recreation, and a large variety of indoor and outdoor activities. The farmer's markets, craft fairs, art galleries and cottage industries located on the island are reminiscent of the world famous population of artisans and artists. There are a variety of parks suitable for hiking such as Ruckle Park and Mouat Park both offer fabulous views. Salt Spring offers a choice of restaurant, pubs and coffee shops.
Easily accessible by BC Ferries. Saturna Island is famous for its Canada Day Lamb barbeque, local Island winery and outdoor activities. Our easy-going pace makes Saturna Island it a perfect get-away spot. Cycle or walk along rural roads and take in the sea views and mainland mountains. Stroll the beautiful shoreline at East Point, hike Mount Warburton Pike with its fantastic views. Winter Cove Marine Park and East Point Light House are must see places to explore. Accommodations include a variety of unique bed and breakfasts, cottages and lodges. There are art galleries, two general stores, a pub, café, and bakery. All this and much more. Saturna is a must see Gulf Island treasure.
Easily accessible by BC Ferries, located just off Vancouver Island east of Chemainus, Thetis Island offers a laidback and peaceful lifestyle with all the basic amenities. Thetis Island Vineyard is situated on a sunny and protected ten-acre south facing hillside. There are a variety of bed & breakfast accommodations to suit your personal preferences. There are no parks however there is public access points to the oceanfront and the easily hiked shoreline. The area provides a variety of recreation and leisure activities such as, hiking, kayaking, scuba diving, bird watching and cycling. The enchanting bays, coves and surrounding marine parks provide boaters and kayaks a place to explore. Thetis Island supports a community centre, pub and restaurant, Post Office, a small store, a garden nursery, and two marinas. The public dock at Preedy Harbour, and two full service marinas are located in the protected waters at Telegraph Harbour an excellent harbour with good moorage and anchorage.
NORTHERN (DISCOVERY) GULF ISLANDS
Denman and Hornby Island:
BC Ferries access is from Buckley Bay to Denman Island then another short ferry ride to Hornby Island. Situated off the south end of Denman Island, Hornby Island is the smaller of the two and is famous for its popular warm Mediterranean type swimming beaches at Tribune Bay Provincial Park, Whaling Station Bay. There are no provincial campgrounds on Hornby Island. A choice of B&Bs and popular other types of accommodations can be found such as campgrounds and resort lodges. Hornby has a variety of public parks for picnickers where you can enjoy the ocean side environment. Scuba diving off St. John Point in Helliwell Provincial Park, Lambert Channel, at Maude Reef, Heron Rocks and Norris Rocks. Great other outdoor activities include swimming, hiking, cycling, birding, whale watching, kayaking, canoeing, fishing all thus and much more.
Denman Island is the largest of the two Islands has three parks Boyle Point Regional Park, Sandy Island Provincial Marine Park which can be reached at low tide and Fillongley Provincial Park. The south end of Denman Island is popular area to try salmon fishing. The island lakes Chickadee and Graham Lakes provide for good trout fishing. Denman Islands arts and crafts reputation is know around the world. Outdoor activities include swimming, hiking, cycling, birding, whale watching, kayaking, canoeing, fishing all thus and much more.
Travel to Cortes Island by BC Ferries is a 10 min ferry ride from Campbell River to Quadra Island, 45 min from here to Cortes Island. Cortes Island is know as the entry point to Desolation Sound with it's spectacular wilderness scenery and wildlife viewing. A popular island picnic location and hiking spot is Hague Lake Park with its white sandy beach. Visit Smelt Bay Provincial Park where you can spend the whole day beachcombing. Boaters will enjoy easy access to the three marinas Gorge Harbour, Squirrel Cove, Von Donop Marine Park. Cortes Island supports a thriving arts and crafts industry, drum makers, potters, painters, carvers, and other artisans who live and work on the island. A choice of popular accommodations can be found. A general stores provides for most provisions. Other popular outdoor activities include hiking, cycling, birding, whale watching, kayaking, canoeing, fresh and salt water fishing all thus and much more.
Lasqueti Island, a rural destination in the northern Gulf Islands, is home to a number of lakes, bays, and beaches. The island maintains a rugged mystique and eco-friendly heritage. Lasqueti residents still use solar power, windmills, and water-driven turbines for their electricity. A drive up the island is quiet and stress-free – the roads are still unpaved. Lasqueti’s earth-friendly resident’s number 350. They live in relative isolation on this 68 square kilometre Gulf Island and enjoy the peace and tranquility that visitors remark on. Lasqueti has a small school for grades one to eight. Residents make their livings through small farming ventures (though farmland is quite poor on the island), fishing, and clam and oyster farming.
Quadra Island is a quick BC Ferry ride from Campbell River to Quathiaski Cove. Best known for its natural west coast wilderness scenery, and excellent salmon and freshwater sports fishing. Quadra Island has three main centres Quathiaski Cove, Heriot Bay and Cape Mudge. Quathiaski Cove is the main shopping centre, where travelers will find antique, pottery studios and galleries that feature many excellent choices for gifts or just browsing. Heriot Bay located on the east side of Quadra Island has a pub and marina and where you take the ferry to Cotes Island. Cape Mudge (Yuculta) is home to the Kwagiulth First Nations. The island features a variety of artists and craft cottages where you can purchase that unique gift. There are places worth the visit is the Cape Mudge Lighthouse and Kwagiulth Museum. Enjoy the outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, scuba diving, canoeing, kayaking and swimming in the local lakes. Quadra Island offers a variety bed and breakfast, and other popular types of accommodations that will suit your personal needs.
Texada Island is one of the largest Gulf Islands, and sits proudly in Georgia Strait about 80 kilometres north of Vancouver. It covers over 300 square kilometres, has a wonderful history, friendly residents, and a multitude of things to do while visiting. Not to be missed! There are approximately 1,200 residents living on Texada. Two small communities can be found at Van Anda and at Gillies Bay. Gillies Bay has a food and liquor store, a cafe, fresh baking, gas station, medical clinic, gallery and a busy farmer's market on Sundays in the summer. This Bay also hosts the annual Sandcastle Weekend in August of each year.