Gabriola Island is only a short hop by ferry from Nanaimo, but it is worlds away from the bustle of the mid-island city. For boaters, there are government docks at Degnen Bay and False Narrows along with a marina. Known for its accessible shoreline and sandstone formations, Gabriola has been visited for thousands of years by the Snuneymuxw First Nation people, whose ancestors carved petroglyphs into the rocks.
Three thousand full time residents enjoy a quiet rural island life without foregoing any of the basic services. Gabriola has a rich cultural life with folk art, crafts, and a literary community that “island time” seems to promote.
There are two main shopping areas for groceries, gas, a restaurant, a liquor store, bookstore, health foods and a cash machine. There are craft stores too, although many of Gabriola’s artisans and artists sell their work from home studios. Overnight visitors can choose to stay at a resort, more than a dozen B&Bs or the campground.
During the day, there is a wealth of things to do and see. The Malaspina Gallery, an amazing natural phenomenon, an abandoned millstone quarry and the petroglyphs are part of the unique character of Gabriola.
Recreational pursuits abound. Diving, kayaking , charter fishing or swimming in the ocean at Sandwell Park will get you out on the water. There are three provincial parks on the island with a variety of beaches to explore. Golfing or hiking the shoreline and country roads is a wonderful way to get to know Gabriola.