Gabriola Island is located east of Nanaimo
by 3.7 nautical miles across Northumberland Channel north of Valdes
Island and De Courcy Island and north-east of Mudge Island.
Gabriola Island with 53 square kilometres (21 square miles) in area
is one of the larger islands off the Nanaimo coastal area. The island
was first inhabited by the Snuneymuxw First Nations, then discovered
by the Spanish explorers in 1791-1792 with Europeans settling in
the late 1800's. Today, the island has a population of around 4,500
year-round inhabitants (2008).
Ferries Scheduled Sailings
To get to Gabriola Island, you have to take a BC Ferries scheduled
sailing from Nanaimo Harbour to Descanso Bay Ferry Terminal. The
one-way sailing time usually takes around 20 minutes and, except
for Sundays, starts every day at 06:15 am ending at 10:55 pm from
the Nanaimo Terminal.
The main centre for Gabriola Island is at the 'Village' around a
10-minute walk from the ferry terminal at Descanso Bay on North
Road. The 'Village' has a number of services, conveniences, including
a food market, liquor store, and the only gas station on the island
and the nearby farmers' market.
For attractions on Gabriola Island, try visiting the Gabriola Museum.
The museum features a number of displays and exhibits concerning
the island's inhabitants before the First Nations and after, with
the arrival of Europeans and the maritime history and the local
quarry mining and logging heritage found throughout Gabriola Island.
Gabriola Island is also home to three provincial parks - Drumbeg,
Gabriola Sands and Sandwell. Drumbeg is on the southern tip of the
island and has a protected Garry Oak ecosystems, conglomerate rock
formations and lots of bald eagles; Gabriola Sands features twin
sandy beaches along sandy cliffs and Sandwell has walking trails,
a long, sandy beach and has some petroglyphs on the rocky sandstone
at low tide.
Bay Regional Park
For more outdoor recreation along the waterfront, go to Descanso
Bay Regional Park situated near the ferry terminal. Here you can
find an all-year-open, kayak/canoe small boat launch and walking
trails throughout the beautiful old-growth forest. Descanso Bay
Regional Park also has RV Camping where there are 32 private campsites
surrounded by a forest.
Land and Trails Trust
The Gabriola Land and Trails Trust has built and maintained a number
of unique trails along the beautiful waterfront and the local parks
of Gabriola. Many trails exhibit unique geological formations along
the natural sandstone rock formations. The Gabriola Land and Trails
Trust has produced a great map to follow the island's pointing out
and preserving important ecological eco-systems.
Gabriola Island is also the traditional land of the Snuneymuxw First
Nations. There are various archeological sites along the coastline
where you can find ancient petroglyphs artwork drawings of the Snuneymuxw
carved into the sandstone shelves.
Bay Resort and Marina
The main marina and resort on Gabriola Island is found at Silva
Bay which is located on the south-west side. Here you can find The
Silva Bay Resort and Marina and Pages Resort and Marina. The bay
features a well-protected moorage, easily accessible to Georgia
Strait and the San Juan Islands and has various slips to tie up
your marine craft.
Charters and Kayaks
On Gabriola Island, there is Silver Blue Charters if you need a
fishing guide. There is also Jim's Kayaking for direction, kayak
trips or a guided tour throughout the Gulf Islands.
on Gabriola Island
For restaurants, cafés or food on Gabriola Island, there
is the Silva Bay Resort that features an excellent menu especially
the fish and chips. There is also Raspberry's Jazz Café on
North Road, Suzy's Restaurant across from 'The Village' plus the
Surf Pub and the Driftwood Restaurant featured at the Surf Lodge.
There are a number of Bed & Breakfast establishments on Gabriola
Island if you would prefer not to camp or the campground at Descanso
Bay Regional Park if it's full.
on Gabriola Island
click map for larger image
South Road Community
Fish and Chips
at Silva Bay