Posted by: cherylyoung | February 4, 2012


Mayne Island
,    This friendly island midway between the lower mainland

of BC and Vancouver Island is small enough for a day

trip, but pretty enough for a lifetime.


Captain George Richards of the Royal Navy surveyed

the area.aboard The HMS Plumper in 1857, naming the

 island after his lieutenant, Richard Charles Mayne.


During the Cariboo and Fraser River Gold Rush of the

 mid-1800s, Vancouver Island miners gathered on Mayne

Island before rowing acrossb Georgia Strait to the mainland

of BC in search of their fortunes.

The earliest homesteaders registered land claims in the

 Miners Bay area in 1859.


These days, Miners Bay, the island’s commercial centre,

and nearby Active Pass still throb with a steady stream of

marine traffic, a bustling contrast to quiet interior byways.

Village Bay, with its  BC Ferries terminal,  has several late

1800s to 1930s buildings to  intrigue the history buff.

 Active pass is named after the American survey ship

 USS Active, the first steam vessel to navigate the pass.


The natural beauty of Mayne Island offers picturesque

seascapes,  pastoral farmlands and rich west coast forest.

Drop by the lighthouse, watch the frantic activity as fishermen

 wait till the last minute to get out of the ferry’s way in

 Active Pass, or stroll up to the top of Mayne’s  mountain

for a view of the Strait of Georgia – and you’ll begin to

discover what Mayne is all about.

If you want to stay overnight on the island, there are

 many bed and breakfasts, as well as two private



 There are no provincial parks on Mayne Island.

Population: 900

Location: Mayne Island is located in the southern Gulf

Islands, between Vancouver Island and the mainland of

British Columbia. BC Ferries  operates a vehicle and passenger

scheduled ferry service from  Tsawwassen  on the mainland

and Swartz Bay (Sidney) on Vancouver Island.


 Vehicle reservations are recommended between

the mainland  and Mayne Island.


Mayne Island is a must for history buffs

The Mayne Island Museum is housed in a jail built in

1896, known as the Plumper Pass Lockup, displaying island

artifacts that include a number of artifacts from the oldest

wreck in the Gulf Islands.


Helen Point Peninsula contains the oldest recorded

 human settlement  remains  in the Southern Gulf Islands.


 Archaeological excavations provide evidence of three

distinct  occupations of the site in pre-historic times, with

 the earliest probable occupation estimated at

 3,300 years ago.


The Mayne Mast, located on Village Bay Road near

 the Mayne Mall, was once a Japanese farmhouse.


 Mayne Island was home to an active  Japanese community

until  World War II, when the residents were taken away

to war camps in the interior of BC for fear of espionage.


The Japanese played a very important role in the island’s


Visit the Japanese Garden which offers you an unforgettable

 experience,  combining the beauty of nature in a serene



 This garden area includes a pond, bridges, waterfall,

hidden garden, lovingly created torii gates and authentic

recreation of a Japanese charcoal kiln.


Active Pass Light Station, also known as Georgina Point

Light Station, is a  familiar landmark for ferry travellers

 between Vancouver Island and the mainland.


 The light’s first keeper was Henry “Scotty” Georgeson

 who lit up  for the first time in June 1885.


Within two months he wrote to his superior requesting

 a fog horn.


A bell was later installed, followed by a fog horn.

 Scotty’s son, George, later became his assistant.

The Anglican Church of St. Mary Magdalene was founded

 in 1887 by  Canon Paddon overlooking Active Pass on

 Georgina Point Road.


The Centennial Well, located on Horton Bay Road just past

 Fernhill Road, is a monument built in 1967 to mark Canada’s

centennial celebration.

Like most of the Gulf Islands, Mayne Island is home to a

variety of artists.


 Galleries, shops and studios specialize in painting, pottery,

 fabric art,  dried flowers, home preserves, jewellery

 and carvings.

The Agricultural Hall hosts the oldest Fall Fair in the

Gulf Islands.

Beaches abound – sample the sand at Bennett Bay,

Dinner Bay, Campbell Bay, Piggott Bay and Oyster Bay.


Much of the beach at Miners Bay is composed of a gently

sloping shelf  of smooth rock.


 At low tide much of this table rock is revealed and makes

 for interesting  exploration.


 Miners Bay is the commercial hub of Mayne Island and is

 anchored by the historic Springwater Lodge.


 Perched at the head of Miners Bay Wharf in Active Pass,

the  Springwater Lodge was built in 1892 and is now the

oldest continuously operated hotel in British Columbia.


 Make your way from the ferry dock along Village Bay Road,

an easy walk or bike ride.


A beautiful sand-and-pebble beach is located on Mayne Island’s

 east side  at Campbell Bay.


The trail leading down to the beach is not well marked but

isn’t difficult to locate.


 Follow Georgina Point Road east of Miners Bay to its

 junction with  Waugh Road.


 Head south on Waugh, and as the road rounds Campbell Bay,

 watch  for a shady trail that runs down the embankment to

 the ocean below.


 An overhanging forest shades the beach, providing a cool

place to relax out of the sun.


 Big pieces of driftwood sit mired in the sand, ready to

 prop you up to  enjoy the view as you look due east across

the strait towards Vancouver.


One of the most soulful ways to explore the Gulf Islands is

in a sea kayak, sharing the water with orcas, seals, otters

 and sea lions that make the surrounding waters their home

 Equipment can be rented on Mayne Island, and combined

kayaking  and camping  trips are very popular.


 Mayne Island is located within easy paddling distance of

 Galiano Island, Samuel Island, the Belle Chain Islets, Saturna

Island, North and South Pender Islands, Prevost Island,

 the Red Islets, and  Saltspring Island.


For those who come with car-top or hand-carried boats,

 there are numerous placesto launch throughout the islands,

beginning with  any number of public wharfs and

 federal docks.


 A suitable location on Mayne Island is located at

 Horton Bay.

Cycling is a wonderful way to travel the islands’ roads

and trails, and Mayne Island is perhaps the most pleasant

one to cycle.


 You can tour the whole island in the course of any

easygoing day  (about 18.5 miles/30 km), with stops around

its perimeter at Miners Bay, the Georgina Point lighthouse

 (visiting hours 1-3pm daily), Campbell Bay,

 Horton Bay, and the BC Ferries dock at Village Bay.


 As with all islands, freshwater is a precious and often

 rare substance.

 One of the few places to fill your water bottles is at

Dinner Point Community Day Park, a short ride south

 of Village Bay.


 A detailed road map of the island is available at the

 information kiosk at the dock.

Mayne Island’s reefs offer divers exceptional underwater

 scenery   Enterprise Reef, Conconi Reef, Georgia Shoal and

 the wreck of the  Zephyr await experienced divers prepared

 for the heavy marine traffic and swift currents that flow

through Active Pass.

Fishing: Owing to the strength of the tidal currents coursing

 through Active Pass between Mayne and Galiano Islands,

 there are plenty of nutrients in the water

 to attract marine life.

 Salmon feed in these waters, although in recent years the

 large chinook have all but disappeared.

It’s not as easy to purchase fresh seafood on the islands as

 you might imagine.

 Most islanders do their own crabbing and shrimping, but

at Horton Bay on Mayne Island, you may find such delicacies

 for sale.

Although the availability is seasonal, stop by the federal

dock between 4 and 6pm  and look for a truck with the

 personalized licence plates CRAB 4U, which says it all.

Hike in Mount Parke Regional Park, highest point on the

 island, for great views  of Active Pass and a beautiful view

 across Swanson Channel and the surrounding islands.

 The 270-metre climb takes approximately 45 minutes

each way.

Upswelling current bring cold, nutrient-rich waters to the

surface around  narrow passages between islands, such as

 in Active Pass, which divides Mayne and Galiano.

 In April and early May, thousands of Bonaparte’s gulls,

decked our in their black-headed breeding plumage, gather

to feed on tiny shrimp or krill that float  on the surface

of Active Pass.

 Herring runs at this time of year attract California sea lions

and bald eagles as well as hundreds of jet-black Pacific

 loons and Brandt’s cormorants.

One of the best places to observe all this action is from

the deck of a BC Ferries  vessel as it reduces speed when

 moving through Active Pass.

Island Hopping: Travelling between the Southern Gulf

Islands and Northern  Gulf Islands can be accomplished

in small hops.

 Each of these islands is a world unto itself, each with

its own history, culture and colourful characters – each

 island deserves at least a day or two for exploring.

 business card










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