about Gabriola Island
Gabriola island information
Gabriola Island has a permanent population of just over 4,500 with a large number of seasonal visitors. The combination of a beautiful and precious natural environment, and a rich collection of 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.
Isle of the Arts
Gabriola Island has 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. Browse through our Creative Directory to meet some of the fine artists who call Gabriola home.
Traveling to Gabriola Island
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.
By sea and air
There are many ways to get to Gabriola Island. Here are 4 routes we recommend.
From Vancouver, take a ferry to Nanaimo (approx 2 hours) and a 2nd short ferry from Nanaimo to Gabriola (approx 20 minutes).
Cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and foot passengers are welcome on BCferries – see bcferries for fare information.
Information about bus service to and from BC Ferries can be found here.
The fast ferry hullo is now in operation. Board the ferry on foot in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour (downtown) and arrive in the Nanaimo harbour in just 75 minutes.
Upon arrival in Nanaimo, walk 15 minutes to the nearby Gabriola Ferry terminal, and walk on to the approx 20-minute ferry to Gabriola Island operated by BCferries.
Hullo is a passenger-only service. No vehicles. Some luggage and small dogs are permitted. Read more about what is and isn’t allowed on board here.
float plane to Gabriola
Fly directly to Gabriola with Gulf Island Seaplanes, which operates direct seaplane flights from Downtown Vancouver and YVR South*. In one short 20 minute flight you’ll arrive at Silva Bay on Gabriola Island direct from Vancouver.
*YVR South is Vancouver Airport’s float plane dock on the Fraser River, across the road from South Terminal. Connection between airports is available via a shuttle.
fly to Nanaimo
Several airlines offer flights into Nanaimo Airport, about 20 km south of the city of Nanaimo. From the Nanaimo airport, a taxi or the Nanaimo Airport Shuttle can take you to the Gabriola Ferry Terminal.
Harbour Air and Seair Seaplanes 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 Vancouver Airport (YVR) or from downtown Vancouver.
where to stay on Gabriola
Gabriola has fabulous lodging for individuals, couples and groups. View the Chamber of Commerce Lodging Suggestions
what services are available
Gabriola Island has many of the services and amenities you need.
We have wonderful restaurants and cafés, a grocery store and health foods store, a gas station, liquor stores, beautiful and comfortable places to spend the night, three incredible art galleries highlighting local and regional art and many 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.
Visit the following websites for information on arts and cultural events and programs on Gabriola Island:
Gabriola Chamber Ensemble
Contact: Sue Gould at firstname.lastname@example.org
Meets the 2nd Thursday and last Thursday of each month, at the Library.
Over 100 artists were involved in the creation of the Gabriola Songs CD here. Track down your favourite Gabriola musician in the Gabriola Musician Directory.
In our Creative Directory you can search for a Gabriola artist by name, genre or medium. See over 900 pieces of art in the online catalog.
Contact: Judith Madsen at email@example.com
Life Drawing Gabriola
Life Drawing Gabriola is run on an informal basis by volunteers. For more information contact Joan Eamer at firstname.lastname@example.org (325-7476)
Does your arts & culture organization belong on this list? Let us know at email@example.com
Gabriola Events Calendars
When you join the Gabriola Arts Council you receive our exclusive members-only news, discounts and calls for entry. Don’t miss out – with a newsletter featuring artist profiles, events, workshops, exhibitions, and opportunities for artists delivered every second Wednesday. Another reason to join GAC today.