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British Columbia: The Islands
Gabriola Island

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Gabriola Island


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The eastern point of the Island was named Punta de Gaviola, meaning "seagull point" by Spanish explorer Jose Maria Narvaez.  It was later known as Punta de Gaviola, and eventually the whole Island became Gabriola.

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Gabriola Island
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Gabriola Island (pop. 4,500) is located off the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, an easy ferry ride from Nanaimo. A member of the Southern Gulf Islands, it is a popular stopover for many vacationers who want to experience the distinctive cultures and attractions of B.C.'s south coast islands. Like many other Gulf Islands, Gabriola is home to a diverse selection of artists, musicians and writers, some of whom are internationally renowned.

Originally named by Spanish explorers in 1791 as "Punto de Gaviota" or "Cape Seagull," the island became eventually known as Gabriola, a possible distortion of its original Spanish name. Early Spanish influence can be found as well in several other locations around the island, such as Descanso Bay and Malaspina Galleries. Numerous First Nations petroglyphs, some of which are believed may have been carved by members of the Cowichan Nation hundreds of years ago, are spread across the island and can be viewed in situ and at the Gabriola Museum.

Famous both for its laid-back atmosphere and for its stunning marine vistas, Gabriola is a favourite haunt for sea kayakers and divers. The Gulf Islands temperate weather seems tailored to outdoor recreation, offering plenty of opportunities for boating, beachcombing and fishing. There are also plenty of recreational possibilities on land, with two provincial parks and several attractive beaches to walk, hike or cycle.

Late spring, summer and fall are the best times to experience Gabriola, which hosts a variety of art, music and literary events throughout the year. Advance reservations are advised when planning to stay during the popular summer and fall months.

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Moon British ColumbiaMoon British Columbia by Andrew Hempstead. Every Moon guidebook includes recommendations for must-see sights and many regional, area, and city-centered maps. Complete with guidance on whale-watching near Telegraph Cove, hiking the Stanley Glacier Trail, and camping near Mount Robson, Moon British Columbia gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.  Order now...

Frommer's British Columbia & the Canadian RockiesFrommer's British Columbia & the Canadian Rockies by Bill Rae, Author and Donald Olson, Contributor. This brand-new edition to the Frommer series takes travelers through all the highlights, including all the best eco-adventures: whale watching by kayak, sailing a ketch into the worlds only grizzly bear reserve, and hiking in misty, primordial old-growth forests and along wilderness beaches. Order now...

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