Gulf Island Hopping Part 2: Galiano Island – things to do
I didn’t expect to stumble upon hipster central on Galiano Island, but clearly island living attracts a certain kind of cool. This diner/emporium would not be out of place in San Francisco or Brighton but no – here it is – on Galiano Island. I drank my very first orange creamsicle here, a fantastic concoction of orange soda and vanilla ice cream, loved my toasted sandwich and sneaked a spoonful of my friend’s borsch soup, which was perfect too. Free wifi, cool music and good food. If you go to Galiano – go here.
Hike the trails, climb the mountain
I can’t recall ever seeing trees like this before. Thin branches, covered in a velvety-green moss, stretching away from the trunk, curling up to the sky like fancy ribbon on a shop-wrapped parcel. Hike the deep forest trails in Bluff Park, thick with cinnamon-coloured Arbutus trees. Walk to the top of Mount Galiano and look out over the Gulf Islands. Picnic at the top and get a bird’s eye view.
See the Kunamokst Mural
190 artists from coastal regions from Mexico to British Columbia collaborated on a ‘mystery’ mosaic project – each artist was given a panel to create and asked to follow a colour guide and shape outline. No one knew what the end product would be: a mother orca whale and her calf. It was officially unveiling during the 2010 Winter Olympics, as part of the Cultural Olympiad at Spirit Square. Now you can see it up close on display at the Galiano Inn.
Shop local at the Galiano Soapworks
Indulge in a spot of retail beauty therapy at the Soapworks where all the products are made on the island, using many of the products grown on their farm. Organic, natural and raw ingredients like lavender, wildcraft chamomile, mint, comfrey, sea buckthorn leaves and nettles (apparently great for youthful skin) are used in the products. I picked up some Curly Kale cream (my commitment to BC’s favourite brassica knows no bounds) but could have happily filled a basket with everything from fragrant beeswax candles to artisan soaps and body care. As well as the shop, there’s also a working farm and animal sanctuary here.
Visit Galiano Island’s answer to Stonehenge
Near Bodega Ridge on the north side of the island is Stoneworld; a collection of massive monoliths, standing stones and a large Inukshuk placed in fields where sheep placidly graze. I spent a happy half hour or so wandering around, admiring the work. I was told that one of the stone circles is ‘attuned’ to the Summer Solstice, so if you’re missing your Glastonbury fix – this could be a great alternative.
Find out more: http://www.galianoisland.com/