Posted by: cherylyoung | February 7, 2012

What if I told you about a Peaceful Island that is a progressive-minded refuge for everyone

 

 

Hornby Island, two short ferry rides away from the east-central coastline

 of Vancouver Island, is a peaceful and progressive-minded refuge for

 artists, bohemians, young families, urban exiles, and retirees.

 

 Conservation, cooperative community activities, participatory

democracy, and volunteerism are highly valued on this greenand

 scenic northern Gulf Island.

 

For most of the year, Hornby’s population of about 1,000 full-time

 residents share the magical sandstone shorelines and forested

parkland with eagles, sea lions, and seabirds.

 

Rare packs of kayakers can be spotted offshore.

 A small but steady stream of visitors arrive with books, bikes,

 sketchpads and hiking boots.

 

 The unplug-the-phone serenity has inspired such creatives as the

 BC painter Jack Shadbolt, popular British novelist Sarah Dunant,

and west coast poets Billy Little and Brian Brett.

 

Summer Activities

In July and August, quiet Hornby morphs into one of BC’s favourite

 getaway destinations. Accommodations are maxed to capacity.

 

 Sunlovers splash about at Tribune Bay’s fabled beach

 

 (aka “Little Hawaii”).

 Mountain bikers careen along the groomed trails at Mount Geoffrey.

 Winery tasting rooms and artist studios welcome drop-ins.

 Hikers leave soft footfalls in oceanfront parks.

And the happy hordes dine, shop and attend author readings at

 the Ringside Market in “downtown Hornby” (i.e. the island’s

sneeze-and-miss commercial centre).

 

Reserve a bed or camping spot ASAP for summer travel.

 Transportation during the high season may also involve a ferry wait

 on the trip from the Buckley Bay terminal on Vancouver Island

 (an hour’s drive north of Nanaimo) and/or when transferring to Hornby

 from neighboring Denman Island (aka “the bridge”).

 

Low-impact cyclists and foot passengers are welcomed by islanders

who fear that the outside world is “loving us to death”

 (as one Hornby writer put it in Islands in the Salish Sea,  the

award-winning  ”community atlas” of the Gulf Islands).

 

Attractions

There is no shortage of things to do on Hornby Island during

the summer, and visitors are content to do nothing but follow

their own instincts indoors and out during the rest of the year.

 

 Off-season (October to April) finds many shops, restaurants and

home studios either closed or open only on weekends.

This schedule is ideal for proprietors eager to put their clocks

back on Hornby time and the meditators who embark on silent

retreats  at the Deerheart Sanctuary retreat centre.

Music, dance and art is showcased in early August during the celebrated

 Hornby Festival Other concerts are held throughout the year at the

 Hornby Hall, the best spot to hear local musicians like Marc Atkinson

and Melisa Devost.

 

 Tasting rooms offer sips of mead, cold-climate wine, and premium

 liquor,  and 60 working artists are a phone call away.

 

 As for nature, it’s open 24/7 year-round on land and at sea.

 

Orientation

Hornby is one of the smaller Gulf Islands at 30 sq km/11.5 sq mi.

The road system winds clockwise from the Shingle Spit ferry terminal.

 

 Central Road travels past forest and century-old farm fields as

 it circles Mount Geoffrey park and points to Tribune Bay and the

 east coast.Park.

 

 Central Road also loops south from the Ringside Market/Hornby

 Island Co-op

 towards Ford’s Cove, site of a grocery store, marina and the

remarkable lunar shoreline at Heron Rock.

 

 The Spit trail allows cyclists and pedestrians quick access back

to the ferry terminal.

 

Recycled Treasure

One can’t-miss highlight is the recycling depot on Central Road,

which opened in 1978 as one of North America’s first such

environmental initiatives.

 

 Browse the Free Store and discover anew that one person’s junk

 is another’s cool treasure.

 

 Clean, brightly painted and nicely landscaped, the depot is working

evidence of the community’s stated intent to conserve “the spirit

 and energy  of this unique island and its people.”

 

Where to Begin

Pick up the  updated Hornby and Denman Islands Visitor’s Guide

aboard the ferries and at brochure racks on the island.

 

It includes a list of activities, art galleries, restaurants and a map.

 

Visitor information is also available at the Ringside Market.

 

The bulletin board here is chockablock with notices

 

 
 

 

CHERYL HOLMES YOUNG

SAANICH PENINSULA REALTY

SIDNEY BC  www.cherylyoung.ca

 

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