February 2016

Galiano Overview

The Gem of the Gulf Islands - Beautiful, comfortable and always welcoming, Galiano Island is the perfect place to get away. When you've had your fill of hiking, whale watching, fishing and golf, you'll find plenty of friendly spots to shop locally, eat and raise a glass to another wonderful day on Galiano.

Our Getting Here and Getting Around pages detail how to reach us easily.

Vital Statistics - Galiano Island is one of the Canadian Southern Gulf Islands lying between Vancouver Island and British Columbia's Lower Mainland. The Island is located on the west side of the Strait of Georgia, is 27.5 km long, 6 km at our widest point, and 1.6 km across at our narrowest point. On the western shore of our island are a series of sandstone caves accessible by sea kayak. We have a population of just over a thousand residents.

Natural Diversity We're the wildest gulf island, thanks to mountainous geography and generous forest reserves. A rich and rare plant population thrives here, as do eagles, otter, hummingbirds, owl, deer and other wildlife. Also Galiano is the driest in the gulf, our island sees more sunshine than the mainland and most of coastal BC. Our peaceful beaches, wooded trails, nine-hole golf course, multiple artists' studios & galleries and marina will help you make good use of those extra hours.

History - Galiano is named after the eighteeth century Spanish explorer Dionisio Alcalá Galiano, who explored the westcoast of Canada in 1792. Our Island has long been inhabited by aboriginal people from the Penelakut First Nation and used by other Coast Salish nations. Midden pits at Montague Harbour suggest 3000 years of habitation. Today there is one Indian Reserve at the northend located at the northern tip under Penelakut administration. For a fully history of Galiano please refer to our Galiano Museum Society.

Wildlife - Galiano Island has a large variety of animals and plants. In a major flight path for migrating birds, Galiano has hundreds of bird species reported. Commonly sighted are eagles, great blue heron, owl, hummingbirds and cormorants. Off our shores are resident orca whales, seals, otters, sea lions and many varieties of sea life.

Galiano's Parks

Montague – Marina & Harbour is the most popular sheltered location and harbour for small craft in the Gulf Islands, adjoining the beautiful Montague Provincial Park. The Marina offers extensive moorage with power and a gas dock; its restaurant, groceries and small shops are seasonal. Boaters and other visitors can explore Galiano Island via services at the Marina: kayak, moped & small boat rentals. Or explore the Island with seasonal shuttle buses to the Hummingbird Pub area, and the Galiano Oceanfront Inn & Spa and Village. The Harbour is often crowded with yachts and sailboats during the warmer months of June, July, and August. The Park's mooring buoys are in limited supply and cannot be reserved, but being so well sheltered it is safe to anchor out as well. There is also a public Government dock near the marina.

Montague - Marine Provincial Park is the oldest and one of the most popular parks in all of the Canadian Gulf Islands. It is unique for its white Shell main Beach close to the campground, which is west-facing. The well worn shells cover the whole expanse of the beach instead of sand. For thousands of years, it was the location of a midden used by Coast Salish people.

Dionisio Point Provincial Park is a rugged natural park at the very north end of the island with beautiful beaches that the local islanders call Coon Bay. Here you will find a unique shoreline with artistically sculpted sandstone formations, a sand beach for swimming, tidal pools, and colourful wildflowers and forests that fill this beautiful provincial park. Please note that this park is MARINE ACCESS ONLY.

Bluffs Park is Galiano's oldest wilderness park, established by community subscription in 1948 and is now cared for by the Gulf Island's oldest non-profit community organization - The Galiano Club. With 130 hectares, it extends far inland into virgin forest, as well having high cliffs and a long sandy beach at Matthews Point bordering on Active Pass.

Mount Galiano is Galiano’s highest point of land. The top will provide hikers with views over the Gulf Islands, the U.S. San Juan Islands and the distant mainland Olympic Peninsula mountains.

Collinson Point Provincial Park is essentially the shoreline of Mount Galiano, and is important in protecting the marine life of the approaches to Active Pass.

Bodega Ridge Provincial Park consists of a ridge rising several hundred metres above sea level, with views over many of the Gulf Islands' hundreds of islands and islets and beyond to the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula. High cliffs are home to raptors like peregrine falcons and bald eagles, as well as trees like cedars and Douglas fir.

Bellhouse Provincial Park marks the opening from Georgia Strait into ACTIVE PASS. This is a small day-use park (2 hectares) is a lovely spot for a picnic. Located on Burrill Point, Bellhouse park offers excellent views of busy Active Pass, Mayne Island and the Strait of Georgia and is a great vantage point from which to observe the ferries passing between the Gulf Islands as well as the best location to see pods of Orca killer whales transiting through Active Pass.

A short trail through Garry oak meadows leads from the parking lot to the rocky shoreline, where visitors can try their hand at fishing for salmon and cod in the swift currents of Active Pass, explore the unique rock formations or simply observe marine mammals playing offshore. Bring your binoculars and stay awhile! Bellhouse Park is only a short walk north from the ferry dock at Sturdies Bay on Galiano Island, and the route is well marked.