Sunshine Coast Arts & Culture:
Langdale to Lund


The Sunshine Coast has a much higher than average per-capita ratio of people making all or part of their living from the arts. It's apparent as soon as you arrive, whether that's through Gibsons or Powell River... galleries, shops, the purple banner studio tour, music venues, libraries. There's almost always something going on.

Arts on the Sunshine Coast include: visual arts, recital society music, small-venue live music, glass-blowing, pottery/clayworks, sculpture, dance, written arts, digital arts, photography, videography, film societies, spoken word, eastern meditative arts, healing arts.

The main arts organization to connect with is the Coast Cultural Alliance. Started in about 2000, the CCA is the be-all and end-all of arts information for the entire Sunshine Coast, from Langdale to Lund. They run a weekly text-based calendar of entertainment and cultural events across both sides of the Coast, and are involved in almost every significant arts/cultural event that happens here. There is a Purple Banner Studio Tour, annual Sunshine Coast Arts Crawl, and a comprehensive directory of artists working in a wide variety of disciplines.

Coast Cultural Alliance
4638 Sunshine Coast Highway (mailing only please)
Sechelt, BC, V0N 3A7
604.740.8288 (leave msg)
office (call first) 5511 Shorncliffe Ave. Sechelt BC


Of course the original culture of the Sunshine Coast and Powell River was First Nations/Aboriginal. The Lower Sunshine Coast is home to two bands, the Shishalh or Sechelt Nation, and the Chekwelps of the Squamish Nation, who had a summer village near Gibsons Harbour. In Powell River, the Tla'amin First Nation, or 'Sliammon' People trace their history back at least 2000 years.

The name shishálh, from the language of sháshishálem, refers to the entire population descended from the four sub-groups that officially amalgamated in 1925. They include xénichen at the head of Jervis Inlet), ts ´únay (at Deserted Bay), téwánkw ( in Sechelt, Salmon and Narrow Inlets), and sxixus. -

The Sechelt Nation was the first Indian Band in Canada to achieve Self-Government, and just celebrated 20 years of independence in governance. The shishálh history goes back thousands of years, and their traditional territories ecompass Sechelt, Narrows Inlet, Salmon Inlet, Princess Louisa Inlet, Hotham Sound, Agamemnon Channel, the southern half of Texada Island and part of the Salish Sea.

After contact with European settlers, 16 Squamish speaking tribes amalgamated to form one unit called the Squamish Indian Band. The amalgamation was signed on July 23, 1923 and it was established to guarantee equality to all Squamish people and to ensure good government. -

The Squamish Band's traditional territories include the region from Point Grey in Vancouver to Roberts Creek, north to the Elaho River (encompassing all of the islands in Howe Sound), to the confluence of the Soo and Green Rivers north of Whistler and as far east as Port Moody and Indian Arm.

Traditional Tla'amin territory was along the northern part of the Sunshine Coast, extending along both sides of the Straight of Georgia.The entire territory occupied an area over 400 square kilometers in size, which consisted of numerous permanent and temporary settlements within the region. The Tla'amin people also ventured outside of their territory to trade with their neighbors. -

Today there are approximately 1200 members in the Sliammon Nation, the majority of whom live on-reserve in a waterfront community between Powell River and Lund.

Read more about the Sliammon People


Few people realize how long the Sunshine Coast and Powell River have been destinations of mention in BC's Coastal marine history. From the late 1800s and early 1900s people have been drawn to the beauty of the area, the simpler manner of living, the deep forests and the endless ocean.

Early immigrants to the Sunshine Coast and Powell River include emigrants from the British Isles and Finland.

There are two organizations on the Sunshine Coast who keep track of all things historical.The first is the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives, which amalgamated the Elphinstone Pioneer Museum and Sunshine Coast Maritime Museum about five years ago. The second is the Townsite Heritage Society of Powell River along with the Powell River History Society.

The Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives presents the history of the Sunshine Coast and its inhabitants. With two floors of exhibits to explore as well as a resource room, reference library, and extensive archives with over 9,000 photographs and documents it makes a wonderful half-day field trip, and is an excellent stop between ferries or in case you've missed one (I've done it a few times, it happens, mostly through my own planning failures :). The Sunshine Coast Museum also has an excellent YouTube Channel, with a unique 'Time Travel' video series that brings the early history of the Coast to life in a modern way. I've included a video about the old Telephone Exchange Building below. Brilliant.

Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives
716 Winn Road, P.O.Box 766
Gibsons, BC Canada V0N-1V0
Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives web site


Powell River Townsite is a unique coastal community of British Columbia, Canada that was designated as a National Historic District of Canada in 1995, one of only seven in Canada and the only one in western Canada. A very prestigious designation, it confirms that Powell River Townsite, remarkably intact with over 400 original buildings contained within the borders of the 1910 town plan, is an historical asset to the entire country.

The Townsite is located right at the entrance to Powell Lake. Iconic buildings like the Old Courthouse Inn, Rodmay Hotel, Patricia Theatre and the homes on 'Managers Row' make for a great step back into time, whether you're visiting them on a self-guided walking tour, or with a guide through the Townsite Historical Society, located on Walnut Street in the Townsite. You can do a virtual tour on the townsite web site linked below.

Powell River Townsite heritage photo

Townsite Heritage Society of Powell River
6211 Walnut Street
Powell River, BC V8A 4K2
604 483 3901
Powell River Townsite Web Site