About Gabriola Island

The most northerly of the southern Gulf Islands, situated between Vancouver Island and the Strait of Georgia (see map) Gabriola Island offers mild gulf island climate, beautiful surroundings, a friendly and active community of about 5000 islanders, ample shopping, and tremendous recreational opportunities. Golf, tennis, cycling, kayaking, fishing, beach walks, bird watching, swimming, marinas and miles of trails. Mt Washington Ski Resort is just two hours away and offers both downhill and cross country skiing.

Gabriola Island is 20 minutes by ferry from Nanaimo (hourly service from 6am to 11pm). Nanaimo has exceptional shopping, Vancouver Island University, The Port Theatre and all that a thriving city can offer. From Nanaimo it is an hour and a half drive to Victoria, a city that delights tourists and locals alike; or less than 2 hours by ferry to Vancouver, a large and exciting city in a setting of great natural beauty. Or take the floatplane from Silva Bay, on Gabriola Island, to the Vancouver airport in just minutes.

Gabriola Island offers the perfect blend for those who wish to be closer to nature, not further from civilization.

A Brief History of Gabriola

Gabriola and its neighbouring gulf islands were part of the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw people for thousands of years. Coastal villages were inhabited by thousands of people; the largest of these villages was located on the southwest shores near False Narrows (tle:ltxw is the Snuneymuxw place name meaning “rich place” and was the site of a winter village and clam bed). There are many place names for areas of Gabriola Island and the surrounding geographic features. For more information on place names there is an article in SHALE magazine, pg 21-26, March 2001.

The first non-native contact with the Snuneymuxw was with the Spanish Navy when they visited the Gulf Islands in 1791-92. By the 1870’s non-native settlements had been established on Gabriola.

During the early 1900’s Gabriola became a favourite summer recreational destination – private land owners began to build small cottages near the beach for summer getaways. By the 1970’s Gabriola had been substantially subdivided in anticipation of residential development.

Throughout the last many decades the population of Gabriola has grown from approximately 17 settler-colonizers in the 1870’s to the now 4500+/- with development increasing and more substantial homes and developments being built as people move to the islands to retire, start businesses or to commute to Nanaimo.

Although Gabriola has developed considerably from its original state the island retains its natural beauty and continues to deliver peace and quiet to its residents.

We respectfully acknowledge that the land upon which we live and work is the unceded traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw First Nation families.