Get Outta Town: Hornby Island

Words By Haeley Campbell
Opening Photo By Dave Silver
Gallery Photos By Justa Jeskova

After two ferry rides and a quick jaunt across Denman Island, you arrive on Hornby Island, the gem of the Gulf Islands. Some know Hornby for the famous mountain biking, some for the wineries, others for the artists who reside there and everything in between. Hornby really caters to all and has easily become a piece of paradise for many. For me, it’s home.

I am one of the fortunate few that has had the opportunity to be raised on the island. My parents operated (and still do) an outdoor education centre right in Tribune Bay Provincial Park. Naturally most of my favourite places on Hornby are where I could kayak to, run through or bike down, and there are so many places that you can do all of it. Growing up and working at the outdoor education centre came with tons of hard work and a two-hour commute to school each way, but I never took growing up there for granted and still never hesitate to call it home.

I feel as if I get to rediscover my childhood every time I go back. Since I moved away, when I’m on Hornby my commitments are usually less and my responsibilities are usually low. I can plan my day based around my favorite things to do on the island.

In the morning I love walking down for coffee at the one of the local cafés, to get there I get to walk across Tribune Bay, which is a stunning white sandy beach. Later I would bike up Mount Geoffrey. The views at the top never get old, overlooking Denman and Vancouver Island and I always look for orcas in the straight. After a fast, fun and smooth ride down, I’d stop at the local farmers market to buy a yummy frozen mango-on-a-stick to snack on, vegetables for dinner and then meander through the unique market that is entwined in the forest. As I catch up with friends I can admire the art that’s for sale, art that is so delicate and unique, if it was anywhere else it would be in a gallery. After dinner I would go for a walk in Helliwell just before the sun was about to set and the rock bluffs and arbutus trees glow. Helliwell being like a chameleon, with a little wind and grey sky it feels as if you are on the bluffs of Ireland but when the sun shines it conjures a feeling of a Hawaiian climate.

Hornby is so rich in culture, art and unique places to see. Many will have different stories and highlights of this island including home-based art galleries, live music events and stunning sunsets. It’s been 10 years since I’ve lived here, but it will always be mine, it will always be home.