Many years ago, when many of our friends were buying vacation properties on the Gulf Islands and Sunshine Coast, Sally and I decided that perhaps we should do the same. We initially considered Saltspring Island since it had a good range of facilities and we had vacationed there in the past. But once we discovered the limited ferry service from Vancouver, we considered other choices. In the end, we decided that Galiano Island might be the best choice since it was beautiful and close by. It also had a golf course.
However, after looking at a few properties, and remembering that we already lived on an island with golf courses nearby, we decided to drop the idea. Over the subsequent years we haven’t regretted our decision since we have travelled much more than friends who did buy second and third homes.
However, when a friend invited us to spend the weekend at her Galiano waterfront cottage we were happy to accept. Since we were planning to golf and take a few things over, we decided to book a space for our car, rather than walk-on. I was surprised by the cost increase that had occurred over recent years and therefore not surprised that there was a lot of unused capacity on the ferry.
This prompted me to again wonder why BC Ferries doesn’t take a lead from the airlines and offer more variable pricing depending on the time of day and day of the week. It was sad to see the ferries not full, except at critical times when they are too full, with many sailing waits. With better rates, at off-peak times I am sure a lot more people would travel to the islands.
We had a wonderful weekend, checking out the Saturday market and nearby flea market where you could buy a complete wardrobe for about $15. I discovered that there are still a lot of hippies in British Columbia. They have just moved from Kitsilano to Galiano.
One very nice discovery was the Galiano Inn, http://www.galianoinn.com/ a wonderful resort property just steps from the ferry terminal. It is a beautiful facility, with a fine restaurant and spa. In the lobby is a wonderful artwork that was commissioned for 2010. While at first it seems like a large painting, in fact it is a collage or 'quilt' made up of individual pieces created by different artists from across British Columbia.
The rooms and suites were very thoughtfully designed, with some featuring hot tubs and fireplaces built into terraces and balconies. The unit I visited also had a full kitchen and would have been a perfect place to stay for a week or so
The grounds and gardens are quite beautiful and overlook a dock which accommodates visiting boaters.I was pleasantly surprised to learn that those who arrive by boat or without cars can use Smart cars and bikes that the resort makes available to guests.
If you haven’t been to Galiano for a while, I would highly recommend a visit. Check out the Saturday market and lovely waterfront parks, and if you don't have a good friend on the island, stay at the Galiano Inn. It is open all year.