Nora M shares her love of British Columbia while visiting Servas “neighbours” on sunny Sunshine Coast.
Jo and I just returned from our trip to British Columbia. We each have daughters with families living in Vancouver so when we decided to do a pre-Christmas visit with them, we contacted Servas hosts on the Sunshine Coast and Gabriola Island to see if we could combine our family visit with a Servas experience in communities outside of Vancouver. To our delight three hosts responded.
We first took the ferry to Gibson’s Landing and stayed overnight with Zan R, her husband Patrick W and five-year-old daughter. For Jo it was a reunion as he was first introduced to Servas through Zan’s father when Zan was a child. They recently moved to the Sunshine Coast and are renovating a home in a settlement called Robert’s Creek on land interlaced with forest paths leading down to the beach. And there was SUNSHINE as we strolled the beach! We shared an evening meal with their friends and neighbours, one who sells gourmet sausages near the ferry and another who explained his business as a magician selling tricks online.
Our next foray into the coastal lands took us to Gabriola where we were welcomed by Kees and Donella G. Their magnificent hexagonal home is nested on the edge of a cliff overlooking Georgia Strait and we could watch the ferry crossing back and forth from Nanaimo. While we did not spot any whales from their magnificent viewing point we did see several sea lions on our beach walks. We had wonderful conversations about marine biology and trees over our two day visit. The first day our hosts took us on an island tour 30 kilometres along the North Road-South Road loop to their favourite spots around the island. Although it was raining slightly we walked underneath the sandstone sculpted cliffs called the Galleries and enjoyed a lavish picnic in Drumbeg Provincial Park. While walking Donella pointed out various types of native trees and interesting historical features. Our drive was a leisurely loop as we shared the road with cyclists, wild turkeys, and fawns.
We had a rental car so over the four days of our visit to Gabriola we were able to visit other provincial parks and seek out Jo’s niece who had re-located there with her family from Ontario last year. They have settled on a little plot of land in the woods where they raise chickens and a goat, and can walk down to the beach for swimming. After much catching up on family news, we once again headed out to hike on some of the 80 kilometres of trails on the island. Although we had a map, most trails are unmarked so we found ourselves getting somewhat lost from time to time. We never did find the petroglyphs, but perhaps they were right under our nose or feet as we crossed rocky passages. It is a marvel how forests can grow on an island of so much rock and sandstone.
We were warmly welcomed by our final Servas hosts Elizabeth S and Bob B who have strong ties to the arts community on Gabriola. They shared stories and samples of their craft as folksinger and illustrator. We left with a feeling of the richness of Gabriola in its people and landscape.
Did you appreciate Nora’s tale? If you have travelled with Servas Canada and would like to share some of your news and a couple of photographs as a Travellers’ Tale, please contact us.