The west coast of British Columbia is blessed with dozens of little islands, many of them with micro climates much like some of those in the Mediterranean. Most of these islands are accessible from the BC Ferry Terminals at Tsawwassen (map), Horseshoe Bay (map) or Swartz Bay (map) on Vancouver Island, or by float plane, water taxi or private boat. And some of them are close enough to visit for a day trip. If you want to stay longer, there are B&B’s on all of the islands and many of them also have camp sites. It’s a slow, easy life on these islands, making them a fabulous getaway from the hectic pace of the city.
Miners Bay, Active Pass
My writers group went on one of our annual retreats to Mayne Island. (map) This is a reasonably short jaunt, slightly under an hour, from Tsawwassen. The ferry arrives at Village Bay terminal (map). The island is small, only nine square miles, but you need a car to get around as there’s lots to see and do. And if you decide to stay, there’s plenty of accommodation.
We spent the morning visiting the Japanese Memorial Gardens at Dinner Bay Park. Built on former Japanese-owned land, these gardens, built by island volunteers, honour early Japanese immigrant residents and their contribution to Mayne Island prior to their forced evacuation during WW II. The gardens are a perfect place to write some haiku while meditating on the tranquility of the landscape with it’s ponds, bridges, waterfalls and lovely flowering bushes.
There are lots of hiking trails on the island. Be sure a pick up a brochure put out by the Parks & Recreation Commission that will show you all the hiking and walking routes. If you are energetic enough and want a spectacular viewpoint, hike up Mount Parke. There are public toil facilities on the island, and lots of picnic spots. don’t forget to carry drinking water!
Lighthouse Park, Georgina Point
The island has a number of public beach accesses. The sandy beach at Campbell Point is excellent. Campbell Point is part of the multi-island Gulf Island National Park Reserve (map). There is also a small, pristine beach at Georgian Point Heritage Park where there are limestone rock tidal pools.
There are kayaks rentals and boat charters for wildlife viewing, fishing or just relaxing. Or you might want to tour the many artist galleries on the island,. There are specialty boutiques, book stores and other little shops where you can browse as well as a new supermarket and a government liquor outlet.
Mayne Island has several historical sites too. Miner’s Bay is noted as a stopping off point for miners sailing up the coast during the gold rush. The old frame-built Springwater Lodge (map) there is the oldest, longest running pub on the Coast. Take a break and sit on the porch there enjoying a cold beer while you watch the ferries ply their way up and down Active Pass. Don’t miss Lighthouse Park at Georgina Point, another historic island site.
Other things to see and do:
- Visit Meadowmist Farm, a 23 acre farm, home to a variety of animals and fowl. Located 1 mile from Village Bay Ferry Terminal. 1-250-539-3316
- Mayne Island Eco Camping, Tours & Charters, located at Seal Beach, Miners Bay. May 1 – Sept 30. Camping and boat charters. 1-250-539-2667
- Mayne Island Artists Studios, Trincomali Community Arts Council 1-250-539-2402
- Women With Brushes Art Show, Friday June 28 7 pm; Sat. June 29, 10-3]4 at the Agricultural Hall.
- Mayne Island Farmers Market, Saturday 10 – 1, June 29 to Oct. 11. Agricultural Hall grounds.
- Mayne Island Glass Foundry (studio-gallery) open 10 – 5 daily. A working example of a small-scale manufacturing business which uses a waste material and considers ecology. Located near the Georgina Point Heritage Park. 250-539-2002
- Yoga House, 511 Arbutus Drive, Bennett Bay. Regular, focused lyengar classes in an intimate setting. 1-250-539-2276
For Accommodations: see here
How to get there: BC Ferries to Mayne (online reservations or information) here
Victoria Area and Outside of BC , Tel: 1 -250-386-3431, Toll-Free in BC: 1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779)
Photos by W. Ruth Kozak
British Columbia Ferry Services Inc., FERRY CAUSEWAY, Delta, BC V4M 2Z4, Canada
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Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, BC V7W
Horseshoe Bay, West Vancouver, BC V7W, Canada
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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, , British Columbia V0N 2M0, V0N 2M0, Canada
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Filed under: Events, featuredarticle, festivals, food
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Filed under: Announcements, featuredarticle, Sports & Recreation
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Filed under: Attractions, Family Friendly, featuredarticle
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Filed under: Announcements, Food & Beverage, Restaurants & Bars
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