Gabriola Island Area Information
Its sandstone geology studs the coast with dramatic rock formations. Petroglyphs carved by First Nations people speak for Gabriola's most ancient culture. The island's natural bounty invites modern adventurers to try fishing for salmon and halibut, go hiking in the verdant forests and enjoy biking the island from top to bottom.
Gabriola's deeply embedded arts community beckons travellers to shop the art galleries and private studios, take in a play or festival and unwind body and soul with a range of innovative spa therapies.
Today's Gabriola strikes visitors as beautiful, tranquil and easygoing. And it is. People say it's so quiet sometimes, you can hear a bird's wings in motion. The island swarms with painters, sculptors, photographers and glass artists, not to mention musicians, dancers and writers.
Don't look for downtown on Gabriola. Tourist facilities and developments are spread around, although there is some concentration around the village area in the north end and the marinas at the south end of the island. North and South Roads loop around opposite sides of the island and converge at Silva Bay, creating the 30km/19mi circular Gabriola Island Loop that treats motorists, bikers and hikers to a succession of sandy bays, golden beaches, sun-dappled forest and panoramic views.
Scooters and mountain bikes can be rented at Page's Resort and Marina and from Sea Meadow Estates.
Gabriola Island Viewpoints
A must-see stop is the Malaspina Galleries, a spectacular, overhanging rock formation resembling a 90m/295ft-long, 3.5m/11ft-high wave frozen in mid-roll. Another is Orlebar Point, with its postcard view of the Entrance Island Lighthouse and Coast Mountains. Bring a camera and linger on until sunset.
Gabriola's population may be small, but it's plainly sophisticated. Dining options include everything from pizza and fish and chips to local ingredients prepared with international flare. In fact, Gabriola is one of the few Gulf Islands where it's possible to pick and eat oysters, clams and mussels from its shores. Head to Robert's Place, Silva Bay Pub Restaurant, Raspberry's Jazz Cafe or Woodfire Pizza.
Artists & Art Galleries
Gabriola is known as "Isle of the Arts" for excellent reason. It's home to possibly the highest concentration of artists in Canada, covering almost every discipline: painting, pottery, jewellery, woodcarving, literature and music. Art galleries and private studios scattered around the island welcome visitors. Works of art are often left out, the kiosk unattended. To purchase something, just leave cash or cheque, take the masterpiece and travel onwards.
Then there's writing: The island's pool of literary talent is considerable. The bookshop at Page's Marina devotes an entire wall to island authors penning everything from mystery and detective fiction to children's books.
Relaxing in Gabriola
Clean, green, scenic and relaxed, Gabriola Island is a tonic for body and soul. It's also a naturally inviting setting for wellness centres offering physical, mental and spiritual therapies including massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, yoga, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, acupressure and alternate therapies.
Stop by the Gabriola Island Visitor Centre on Berry Point Road for information and brochures. Proceed cautiously because the turn-off after the ferry terminal is easy to miss.
Information courtesy of: hellobc.com