Gabriola Island Information

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 Artist 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 25–minute 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 offers two routes to Nanaimo from Vancouver.  The Duke Point/Tsawwassen run takes 2 hours, and the West Vancouver (Horseshoe Bay)/Departure Bay takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. Information about bus service on BC Ferries can be found here.

Float Plane from Vancouver

Gulf Island Seaplanes has flights from Vancouver Airport’s float plane dock on the Fraser River, across the road from South Terminal, directly to Silva Bay on Gabriola Island.

Harbour Air and Seair offer scheduled flights from Vancouver to Nanaimo Harbour, landing a convenient five-minute walk from the Gabriola Ferry Terminal.  Float plane flights leave Vancouver either from the South Terminal (same as Tofino Air) or from downtown.

Air Connection via Vancouver

Several airlines offer flights into Nanaimo Airport, about 20 km south of the city of Nanaimo. From the airport, a taxi or the Nanaimo Airport 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:

Chamber of Commerce

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 cafés, 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. Visit the Chamber of Commerce web site for a thorough listing of accommodation, food and shopping options.

Getting Around

Gabriola has an amazing community bus service called GERTIE. Check out their website for the most up-to-date schedule.  It will help you figure out how to get to-and-from the Ferry terminal and around the island while leaving your car at home.