Gabriola Island is situated in the Strait of Georgia in British Columbia, offering an exciting selection of attractions ranging from beautiful beaches and natural areas to thriving restaurants and shopping centres. The island is one of the Gulf Islands and has become one of the region’s finest tourist spots, offering visitors an unrivalled experience of Canada’s spectacular natural beauty.
There are a large number of things to do and see on Gabriola Island ranging from outdoor activities to cultural festivals and events. The community on the island is very active when it comes to the arts, hosting a diverse calendar of cultural events each year including the Isle of the Art Festival each April and the Gabriola Theatre Festival in August. Hiking and fishing are two of the island’s most popular pastimes, while the entire island can be traversed by bicycle for the intrepid explorer.
Gabriola Island is most commonly accessed by ferry, with the most popular service running from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. This service frequently runs throughout the day and only takes around 20 minutes. The island itself benefits from a good network of roads for vehicle owners, while it is also an excellent place to get around by bicycle and mountain bike. Vancouver International Airport is the nearest passenger airport to the island for those flying in from afar.
The island is believed to have been inhabited for thousands of years, and there is archaeological evidence dating back to 1500 BCE. The first contact made by European explorers was in 1791 but was not settled until the mid-1800s. While only 17 permanent settlers are believed to have lived on Gabriola Island in 1874, the island’s population slowly grew over the decades, reaching the roughly 4,000 residents that make their home there today.