Gambier island: away from it all
Gambier Island BC embraces the stress-laden in green nurturance. From the moment you step onto the BC Ferries passenger-ferry "Stormaway IV " at Langdale (604 886-4420), you will feel that you have stepped back to another era. An era when people had the time to stop and chat, to ask if you need a ride, to give you directions and in general.
There are approximately 275 full-time residents on Gambier, which is the largest of four Howe Sound Islands at 6,893 hectares (the others being Bowen, Keats and Passage, which marks the entrance to Howe Sound and past which every boat enroute or routing to the Sound must pass). This number swells to around 600 in the summer but as Gambier is larger than Bowen Island there is plenty of room to be peaceful and quiet. Shoulder season (May, early June and late Sept. though early October) is a great time to visit if you are considering buying property in the area - you need to experience true Island Time before moving in, it's not for everyone, but those who like it LOVE it.
Do you know who Gambier Island was named for? The 'Admiral of the Fleet', James Lord Gambier, who served as the Governor of Newfoundland. He was famous for commanding the first ship to break enemy lines in the battle between England and France in 1794 referred to as 'The Glorious First of June' but infamous for his time with the Channel Fleet during the 'Battle of Basque Roads' in 1809 when he placed his ship in blockade position rather than engaging with the French alongside other Navy vessels. His career ended on a higher note with his role in assisting negotiations for the Treaty of Ghent, which ended the War of 1812. A town in Ohio is also named for Lord Gambier. - research Wikipedia
There are beaches - great for swimming and kayaking, beautiful trails through the forest where you will see deer and eagles in abundance, camping at Gambier Lake which is a 3 -hour hike from New Brighton. Several yacht clubs have stations on Gambier: Centre Bay, Royal Vancouver, Squamish, and the waters - especially western, are busy with ferries and forestry vessels and booms. Always something to look at!
Want to meet the locals? Attend one of the island events at the Community Hall, events such as Craft Fairs, Robbie Burns Night, August Potluck Dinner and Pie Auction with proceeds going to the upkeep of the Hall,T'ai Chi classes, Fitness Classes, Seniors' events.
Gambier is a haven for artists and writers some of whom are full-time residents. Arrangements can be made to visit studios. Be assured that your visit to Gambier Island, at any time of the year, will be memorable. There is something to be said for cosying up to a wood fire with a good book or good conversation while the wind and rain storm outside.
So don't just think Summer, think raingear and gumboots and coming back to a great meal and snuggling down in bed warmed with a hot water bottle. Year-round Gambier Island makes for a terrifically laid-back escape from the pressures of the Real World!
How to get to Gambier
To get to Gibsons, take the Sunshine Coast ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to the Langdale terminal. Or, if you're coming from Powell River, take the ferry from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove at the north end of the Sunshine Coast.
GAMBIER ISLAND RESOURCES
Stay up to date with everything Gambier (BC) at gambierisland.org/. The site has local weather, tide tables, marine weather and information about the Gambier Conservancy and great hikes in the area.
MAIN GAMBIER ISLAND EVENTS
Fall Community CleanUp, October 6, 2012. Gambier Halloween Party Oct. 27, 2012. Remembrance Day Ceremony & Lunch November 11, 2012. Gambier New Year's Eve, December 31, 2012. Commotion by the Ocean - summer TBA 2013.
GAMBIER IN PICTURES
The majority of these photos were taken by my daughter, Haley McConnell, on a recent trip to Gambier Island in September 2012. Others come by way of folks visiting or living on this coastal paradise island, where time slows and life sweetens all the year round.
parks on gambier island bc
Halkett Bay Marine Provincial Park is the best known of the parks on Gambier. It is part of the British Columbia Provincial Park system and is 309 acres of rugged shoreline & forest, and is popular with marine campers and day visitors - note: this is a walk-in park. Mount Artaban is a great day hike accessed from this area . There is one mooring buoy in the bay, a dock for dinghy tieup only, a pit toilet and 3 walk-in/beach arrival camp sites.It is open year round but only has services May through September and fees are still due 12 months of the year - $5 backcountry fee per person, and they can be applied for online here. NO FIRES PERMITTED IN THIS PARK.
Anavets Park is part of the Sunshine Coast Regional District park system, and is located on Dulcie Road & New Brighton Road, at the turn to Gambier Harbour. There is a stone cairn memorial and small outdoor picnicking area. Beach access is found at the foot of Dulcie on Gambier Rd. Look for the SCRD beach access sign. Stairs lead to a shelf-like rocky beach and views of Keats and Gibsons.
IMPORTANT LINKS FOR GAMBIER ISLAND
Gambier may be a small-population and rural island, but there's plenty going on.