Forty years ago this summer, my parents discovered Hornby Island, a northern gulf island in British Columbia, and bought some waterfront property overlooking a sandstone beach. After ten years of camping, my parents built our family cabin in 1981, which they have expanded and renovated over the years. With it being only an hour trip, which includes two 10-minute ferry rides from where I grew up in Courtenay, B.C., it has been the ideal weekend and summer vacation get-a-way for our family, and now my parents live here most months during the warm half of the year. Here is how the cabin looks today looking up from the water…..
The sunsets are spectacular and most evenings are spent hanging out on the front deck admiring the views. As kids we spent many nights sleeping under the stars on the deck with our border collie dogs curled up beside us. The sound of the waves lapping against the beach is the best background noise for incredible, restful sleeps. On Hornby, “Peace comes dropping slow” (Wordsworth)
When we want a break from the rocky, sandstone beach there are three incredible sandy beaches to visit. Here I am at the largest one, Tribune Bay, getting in for an open water swim. The water is crystal clear and it takes me 25 minutes to cross the bay and back at high tide!
Ironically spelled the same way as my brother’s name, Mt Geoffrey Nature Park has some of the most fun single track trails to mountain bike and run on. I can ride trails for over 4 hours without getting bored on Hornby. There are some incredible views and the flowing single track is so pretty, lined with salal bushes, ferns, beautiful green moss and big B.C. fir trees! The trails are all well-signed and maintained, and there are no bear or cougar worries here either!
Finally, for an island this size, roughly 3o square km, it has all the amenities you need! Many artists make their home here including top potters such as Wayne Ngan, and painters such as Graham Herbert. There is a central island co-op with a variety of restaurants and other small boutique like shops. While its a great place to stay active and do some super fun training, the pace of life is slower and very relaxed on Hornby Island. I plan to bring my kids back every summer to create the same wonderful childhood memories I have of this place….but psssst, please keep this place a secret! 🙂