An artist haven on a wild coastline

May 9, 2019
A map of Gabriola Island, photography by Jordan Dyck

Jordan Dyck Explores Gabriola Island

‘The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.’ The act of seeking these places is becoming a lot more difficult than ever before. However, there are still environments that allow for that unique feeling of connectedness to the outdoors in a modern world. One of those places, is Gabriola Island, otherwise known, as the Isle of the Arts. A small island that’s a 15-minute ferry ride distance from Nanaimo, Gabriola Island hosts a deeply embedded arts community that thrives on this wild coastline. An artists haven, Gabriola has long inspired artists and creatives from around Vancouver Island and beyond to take comfort in it’s wilderness, and unwind the mind back into a more simple time. When I made the journey to Gabriola Island, I was pleased to find that life simply moves a little slower in this coastal community. From the renowned artist tour that happens yearly, to the farmers markets who opened their doors to me and the hidden trails along the way- Gabriola is best meant to discover with an open-mind, open-eyes, and encouraged me to leave my phone at home for a little while.

Artwork by Pam Templemayer, photo by Jordan Dyck

 

A painter’s toolkit (Caroline James Studio), photo by Jordan Dyck

Natural Wonder

On arrival to Gabriola and turning the road away from the ferry traffic, I travelled down the long winding roads with minimal traffic signs or traffic at all. Nearly instantly, it felt as if I was the only person on this beautiful island. I grabbed a tourist map on my way into town, which allowed me to discover the Malaspina Galleries. They are these unique, almost lunar-like rock formations that jut from the island into the wild coastline below. Wandering the galleries is like stepping out of the rainforest, and into Mars.

The Malaspina Galleries by Jordan Dyck

Artistic Encounters

After I got my share of nature, I went on a little tour to stop in a few of the many art galleries that make up this diverse community. I was inspired by watercolor artist Pam Templemayr’s love of indigenous culture, and later by artist and teacher Caroline James’ beautiful converted studio. Regardless of the art you like, from jewelry to stone to ceramics and beyond, Gabriola artists truly have something for everyone to admire. I know I sure left inspired.

Artist Pam Templemayr by Jordan Dyck

 

Artist Caroline James by Jordan Dyck

Farm fresh sip & savour… and cozy cabin getaways

Seeking a little rest from the art galleries, I stopped into Ravenskill Orchards to wander through their orchards of over 25 varieties of apples, gently-breezed by the salty sea air. A glass of their cider is a must-have, as is their snacks and charcuterie by the garden if the weather holds nicely. I checked into Page’s Resort & Marina for complete tranquility, staying at a cabin over the marina with the sound of birds and crackling of a wood stove to put me to sleep after a long day of exploring.

Apples and Cheese

Ravenskill Orchards and cheese-making with Paula by Jordan Dyck

Pages Resort & Marina

A cozy cabin at Pages Resort & Marina by Jordan Dyck

 

The marina at Pages Resort & Marina by Jordan Dyck

Island Time

Gabriola is best enjoyed when travelling slowly, and taking in the beauty and simplicity of this creative community. Don’t travel to Gabriola expecting to find tourists crowding photo hot-spots, or in-your-face amusement that’s easy to find. Travel to Gabriola to have meaningful conversations with creative locals, to taste fresh ingredients, and to take a step back for a little while.

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