Tuesday, September 9, 2014

West is Best

The West Coast of Canada is commonly referred to as the Best Coast and (in my biased opinion anyway!) it's not hard to see why. Intricate inlets, vast fjords, lush temperate rain forests, gigantic whales leaping out of the water, bald eagles perched in trees watching bears eating salmon on the shore... these are just a few of the things you'll find in this magical little corner of the world. Scattered up and down this gorgeous coastline are 40,000 (mostly uninhabited) islands, over 200 of which comprise a group known as the Gulf Islands. 

Each Gulf Island is unique, and they vary greatly in both size and population. To give you an idea, the most developed and populous island (Salt Spring Island) has 10,234 inhabitants, eight schools and even their own currency, the Salt Spring dollar! The most sparsely inhabited and least developed is Saturna Island with a mere 350 residents, a small shop or two and one elementary school. 

While some people call these islands home year-round, for many they serve as a great getaway on weekends and during the summer months. If you're looking for adventure, you'll find it here: The islands offer a wide variety of activities including camping, hiking, kayaking, biking and even scuba diving but if you're wanting to just relax and enjoy some peace and quiet, they are perfect for that too.

As the crow flies, most of these islands really aren't that far away from major cities like Vancouver and Victoria. However, because they're not so easily accessible (some can be reached by ferry but many are only accessible by water taxi, private boat or floatplane) it can feel like you're a million miles away. I always feel instantly calm when I arrive and incredibly refreshed when I leave. I think the Gulf Islands are a big part of what makes West the best!

Some photos I took while staying on Mayne Island with my Mom and Grandma a couple of weeks ago

Love that sky

Cheeky deer in someone's front garden

Georgina Point Lighthouse

Three generations enjoying some island time

Best seat in the house


Japanese-style garden

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