Gabriola Island has a permanent population of just over 4,000 with a large number of seasonal visitors. We have the fifth highest concentration of artists in Canada—an amazing range of visual artists, writers, poets, dancers, musicians, and actors live and work on this inspiring island. The combination of a beautiful and precious natural environment, and a rich collection of art and artists define community life on Gabriola. There’s always something going on—from live theatre to art-show openings, house concerts to poetry readings, public art to painting classes.
Browse through our Creative Directory to meet some of the fine artists who call Gabriola home. Then travel to Gabriola to experience their talents in person!
Where are we?
Gabriola Island is one of the southern Gulf Islands, located in the Strait of Georgia (also known as the Salish Sea), between Vancouver Island and the mainland of BC. Gabriola is approximately 5 kilometers (3 miles)—a twenty-minute ferry ride—east of Nanaimo, a small city on central Vancouver Island.
How do you get to Gabriola?
Gabriola Island is a 20–minutes ferry ride from Nanaimo, or 20 minutes by float plane from Vancouver Airport’s Seaplanes Dock on the Fraser River, across the road from South Terminal. Nanaimo is 20 minutes by float plane from downtown Vancouver or Vancouver Airport; 1.5 to 2 hours from Vancouver by ferry; 1.5 hours from Victoria by car.
Ferry from Vancouver
BC Ferries run services to Nanaimo (Duke Point) from Tsawwassen (2 hours) or from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay (1 hour 35 minutes). There are Greyhound bus services from Victoria and from downtown Vancouver to Nanaimo (via BC Ferries). There is also a Pacific Coach service from Vancouver Airport to Nanaimo. Once in Nanaimo, drive or take a taxi or the Nanaimo Shuttle to the Gabriola Ferry Terminal, which runs approximately once an hour, 7 days a week, from 6 am to 11 pm. Sailing time to Gabriola is 20 minutes.
- Click here to see the ferry schedule.
Float plane from Vancouver
Tofino Air has flights from Vancouver Airport Airport’s Seair Seaplanes Dock on the Fraser River, across the road from South Terminal, to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island.
Harbour Air offers scheduled flights from downtown Vancouver to Nanaimo, landing a five-minute walk from the Gabriola Ferry Terminal.
Air connection via Vancouver
Air Canada offers connector flights from Vancouver International Airport to Cassidy Airport, about 20 km south of Nanaimo. From Cassidy Airport a taxi or the Nanaimo Shuttle can take you to the Gabriola Ferry Terminal.
Where to Stay
Gabriola has a wide range of fabulous Hotels and B&Bs. For more information, please visit these links:
What services are available on Gabriola?
Gabriola Island has all of the services and amenities you need. We have a grocery store, numerous wonderful restaurants and cafes, beautiful and comfortable places to spend the night, and endless opportunities for shopping—almost anything you’ll want to purchase is available right here. We have an emergency medical clinic, ambulance service, a dentist, a pharmacy, and many other health and wellness services.
Check out our sponsors for information about the businesses that support the Gabriola Arts Council and our island’s artists. Go to the Chamber of Commerce site for a thorough listing of accommodation, food and shopping options.
Gabriola has an amazing community bus service. Check out their website for the most up-to-date GERTIE schedule and to figure out how to get to-and-from the Ferry terminal and around the island while leaving your car at home.