Monday, 21 May 2012

Community Guide: Sechelt

Sechelt, the lower Sunshine Coast's largest town, is located on a peninsula between the Sechelt Inlet, a mountain-enclosed inland sea, and the Strait of Georgia.

Ariel view of Sechelt
Photo Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Tourism

  • The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, Canada's longest running summer gathering of Canadian writers and readers.
  • The boardwalk, along the shore in Sechelt, offers beautiful views from the totem poles on the shishalh lands to the sea on one side and gardens and forest on the other.
  • Summertime Farmer's and Artisans' Market
Sechelt Farmer's and Artisans' Market
Photo courtesy of Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite


Hidden Grove

Canada Day Parade

Festival of the Rolling Arts
Sechelt Show 'N Shine
Trail Bay Swimming Beach
Photo courtesy of Catch of the Day Cottages
On the Poop Deck
Photo courtesy of Catch of the Day Cottages
Bald Eagle
Photo courtesy of Catch of the Day Cottages

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

What's Happening: Victoria Day Weekend May 19-21

Caren Gardens - Madeira Park
Rhododendron Festival

Have you made plans for the Victoria Day weekend yet?  You might just have to take off for the Sunshine Coast this May long weekend!  There are plenty of things to do, here is some of what's happening:

Roberts Creek Art Festival - Roberts Creek
This 2 day festival is loaded with contemporary culture, music, film, art and design. You will be amazed at what sustainable living actually looks like. Beautiful studios, galleries, gardens and fields, filled with creativity, performances, delicious local food, drink and engaged people. It will be a trip to remember.  All daytime events are FREE!

May 19 - 20

Roberts Creek Art Festival Map

Sechelt Farmer's and Artisans' Market - Sechelt
The Sechelt Market has re-opened for 2012 in it new location in downtown Sechelt.  This eclectic farmer's market has a wide variety of local produce picked fresh that morning, plus jams, fresh baked breads & goodies and local artisans with their wares, to name just a few.  Pick up some yummy items for a picnic lunch or BBQ later in the day.

May 19 (9:00am to 2:30pm)

Sechelt Farmer's and Artisans' Market
Photo courtesy of Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite

Caron Gardens Rhododendron Festival - Garden Bay
Located on Hotel Lake in Garden Bay, Caron Gardens is a showcase of rhododendrons.  Enjoy a garden tour, flower show, free gardening seminars, and the opportunity to purchase rare and unusual rhododendrons from the best selection on the Sunshine Coast.  Ron Knight, a master gardener, will be on-site to answer questions about your garden.

May 19 (10:00am to 3:00pm)

Caren Gardens Rhododendron Festival

Attack of Danger Bay - Pender Harbour
The Attack of Danger Bay Longboard Festival has put Pender Harbour on the map with competitors from all over the world. This 2 day event includes downhill races (men's and women's), slide competitions, longboard hockey, live music, and participation in the Pender Harbour May Day parade. 

May 17 - 23

Attack of Danger Bay
Photo courtesy of Wharf Waterfront Suite

67th Pender Harbour May Day - Pender Harbour 
This don't miss event is the 2nd oldest community May Day Celebration in the province. Join residents for the annual parade, a fly-over, arts & craft fair, salmon BBQ, live music, face painting, beer garden, dances, contests, games, and the great local food.
May 19 (11:00am to 4:00pm) 

16th Annual Spring Garden Tour - Powell River
This annual spring tour is a self guided tour that includes a selection of  gardens and homes from Lund to Saltery BayProceeds dedicated to community projects such as green space, beautifying, etc.  Tickets $10, including a map for the self-guided tour, and are available at Mother Nature, Springtime Garden Centre and Cranberry Nursery. 

May 20 (9:00am to 5:00pm) | Contact: Diane Wood (604 485 2860) 

Powell River Open Air Market - Powell River
Be sure to visit Powell River Open Air Market, an old-fashioned country style market with over 50 vendors selling everything from local produce to original hand-crafted items.  Enjoy hot food, listen to live music and the children will enjoy the new improved play area. 

May 19 (10:30am to 12:30pm)
May 20 (12:30pm to 2:30pm) 

Powell River Open Air Market

Monday, 30 April 2012

Community Guide: Wilson Creek / Davis Bay

These two cozy communities are all clustered along the shores of Trail Bay and offer beautiful views of the Strait of Georgia.

Davis Bay Pier Sunset

  • Savour the sunset at Davis Bay; it's one of the best spots to do so
  • Dakota Ridge winter recreation including 13km of groomed cross country ski trails and 8km of snowshoe trails with fabulous views
  • Wilson Creek is home to the Sechelt Airport where small private aircraft can land

Dakota Ridge Winter Recreation

  • Storm watching from the Davis Bay Seawall & Pier
  • Visit Chapman Creek Fish Hatchery, view salmon fingerlings, the onsite educational centre where you can learn about the life cycle of a salmon and net a trout or two for a great BBQ treat
  • Hike Chapman Creek Trail, if you can handle a bit of exertion and a couple of muddy holes to cross, and a lot of nature and tranquility, this is definitely the place to go. 
  • Enjoy a fabulous steak dinner at Sirens by the Sea Steakhouse
  • Try one of the many flavours of gelato at Pier 17
  • Shop for antiques or treasures at the Mosaic Market
  • Have a tarot session in the Reading Room at Shanti Gifts 
Chapman Creek Trail
Photo Courtesy of Davis Bay B&B


Kids Catch a Trout Day
Chapman Creek Hatchery
Davis Bay Seawalk

Standup Paddle Boarding
Photo Courtesy of Davis Bay B&B
Mission Point Park
Photo Courtesy of Davis Bay B&B

Kite Surfing
Photo Courtesy of Davis Bay B&B
Davis Bay Pier
Photo Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Tourism

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Community Guide: Roberts Creek

An unconventional and eclectic community, Roberts Creek is home to quiet beaches, rambling gardens, superb hiking and biking trails, and many talented artisans.

Roberts Creek Provincial Park Beach
  • The beach that stretches forever and Roberts Creek Pier
  • The Gumboot Cafe
  • B&K Road - some of the best single track mountain biking in all of BC
  • Mandala Painting 
Roberts Creek Pier - Mandala Painting
Photo Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Tourism

Cliff Gilker Park
Photo Courtesy of Arcturus Retreat


Sunshine Coast Golf Course
Photo Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Golf Course

Roberts Creek Beach
Photo Courtesy of Captain J's Seaside Retreat

Roberts Creek Provincial Park
Photo Courtesy of Arcturus Retreat

Purple Starfish
Gorgeous Gardens
Purchase fresh cut flowers on the roadside
Roberts Creek Beach
Photo Courtesy of Arcturus Retreat

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Community Guide: Gibsons

It's good to be alive when you can play outside and there is no better place to do that than in the seaside town of Gibsons, your welcoming point to the Sunshine Coast.  

Gibsons Harbour

  • The Beachcombers (CBC TV Series) - Take your picture with the Persephone and Molly's Reach
  • Majestic views of Howe Sound and the Coast Mountain Range
  • Voted the most livable community of its size in the world (winner of the 2009 livCom Gold Award)
  • Voted best water in the world (winner of the 2005 Berkeley Springs Water Tasting Contest)
Gibsons Sunset
Photo Courtesy of Soames Point Bed and Breakfast
THINGS TO DO:                   
  • Head to the harbour for a boat tour or rent your own boat or kayak
  • Hike to the summit of Soames Hill
  • Visit the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives
  • Treat yourself to locally made gelato at Mike's Place
  • Take a peek at the Swallow’s Nest, a treasure trove of vintage and eclectic furniture & wares
  • Beachcomb, picnic, hike, lounge on one of many restaurant patios
  • Visit one of the many local art galleries along the harbour.
  • Find that special item or basket full of produce at one of the many organic produce farms
  • Take a water taxi to Gambier or Keats Islands for hiking or buying local crafts and artwork
Soames Hill
Photo Courtesy of Arcturus Retreat
Sea Cavalcade Parade
Photo Courtesy of Soames Point Bed and Breakfast

BC Ferries Horseshoe Bay to Langdale
Photo Courtesy of Soames Point Bed and Breakfast
Sea Cavalcade
Photo Courtesy of Soames Point Bed and Breakfast

Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival
Photo Courtesy of Arcturus Retreat
Howe Sound Outrigger Races
Photo Courtesy of Arcturus Retreat

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Chasters New Wine Bar | Gibsons BC

Wine Cellar
The grape news from the Sunshine Coast is the NEW Chasters Wine Bar at Bonniebrook Lodge in Gibsons.  Opened in March, this new wine & tapas bar serves a wide selection of wines, handcrafted martinis and a delectable small plates menu for sharing or creating your own casual dinner.

Not only do they offer wines by the glass, but you can sample from various “flights” developed to give you the perfect wine sampling.  

Fresh Ginger Martini
Lina and Mark have created a unique place on the Sunshine Coast - a great ocean view, music, tasty food, great wines, classy atmosphere and very friendly hosts.  

In the kitchen, the chef rocks the place with exciting fresh tapas, here are just a few of the delicious nibbles!
  • Chorizo, red peppers & goat cheese flat bread
  • Coconut curry prawns or chicken with fresh seasonal vegetables & basmati rice
  • Cheese Plate with a  selection of 4 different cheeses, fruit, nuts, crackers & chutney
  • KENNEBEC frites with truffle salt, aioli & parmesan cheese
Of course, you can always stay for dinner too- just check out Chasters Restaurant! The Wine Bar & Restaurant are currently open Wednesday to Saturday from 6:00pm. 

Visiting the Sunshine Coast Easter Weekend?  Be sure to peruse their Easter Weekend Menu available April 6, 7 & 8.  Reservations Recommended

Bonniebrook Lodge & Chasters Restaurant & Wine Bar

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Sechelt: Self Guided Seaside Walking Tour

Sunrise at Snickett Park Photo Courtesy of Coracle Cove

Come and enjoy the rich heritage of Sechelt, “The Land Between Two Waters”, on a Self Guided Walking Tour.  Spend time enjoying the sights, taking photos, and participating in short walks to view points, on the many suggested stops.  Build a connection to the heritage of the Shishalh Nation with a visit to the First Nations Tems-swiya Museum and take a seaside walk with a stop at the blooming gardens Rockwood Lodge, the town’s most prominent heritage building.  


1. Tems-swiya Museum - Located in the Sechelt Indian Band's central complex at the east entrance to Sechelt. A showcase for the shishalh nation's lengthy history and diverse culture, the tems swiya museum offers a great display of artifacts and art. Displays and decor have been newly-remodeled. Check out the extensive basket collection, and visit the tsain ko gift shop for authentic Native art, jewellery and crafts.

2. Circle of Totems - The circle of totems tells the history and hopes of the Sechelt First Nation. 

Tori Gate Photo Courtesy of Takahashi Gardens
3. Tori Gate (Dock at Wharf Road) – This beautiful gate was erected in 2002 by the Timber Framers Guild of North America.  Guild members from across Canada and the United States came to Sechelt to help build this structure and the Seaside Centre.  The Tori Gate is the entrance to the pedestrian pier at Trail Bay.

Sechelt Pier Photo Courtesy of Sunshine Coast Tourism
4.  Sechelt Pier -  Built 2001 and donated to the community by Construction Aggregates Ltd.

5.  Site of the first Sechelt Hotel (to left of Tori Gate & pier) - Built on “The Front”, which was the name commonly used in the early days to describe the area of Sechelt facing Travel Bay, by Bert Whitaker in 1899.  The hotel accommodated workers and tourists.  Rooms were $2-$2.50/day.  It burnt to the ground in June 1914.  Many volunteers fought the blaze but water pressure was so inadequate that only ashes remained.  The tide was ebbing when fire erupted, so rescued mattresses and furniture were carried to the beach where a horse and wagon picked them up.  Furniture from the hotel was sitting on the beach after it was saved.  The hotel kitchen range was setup on Trail Bay beach and bread was baked in its oven.  

6. Site of the first Sechelt Wharf - In 1904, Bert Whitaker build a wharf at “the Front”.  Having established this access he sought to promote it as a resort as well as a throughfare.  He was also proprietor of the “Sechelt Fashionable Seaside Resort”.  The wharf was destroyed in January 1921, by “the worst storm in Sunshine Coast History”.

Sechelt Seawalk (front of Royal Terraces)
7. Site of the first General Store (now the Royal Terraces) - Most early retail activity in Sechelt centred around Bert Whitaker’s general store.  In addition to lumber and game, a customer could buy a variety of items from Whitaker’s store ranging from men’s or women’s clothes to combs, mirrors, perfume, mouth organs, material, and a variety of toys.  In the late 1920’s – early 1930’s, Union Steamship Company constructed a concrete seawall on the cobble beach.  Storms subsequently destroyed the western portion of the breakwater, but about 80 feet of it still remains intact, though barely visible, in front of Royal Terraces.

8. Site of the Dance Pavillion (now the Beach House condos) - Was built in 1926 on the boulevard between Inlet Avenue and Wharf Road.  Construction work was done by Ron Whitaker and his cousin Edric Clayton.  The lumber was provided by the BC Fir and Cedar Company.  The pavilion was enlarged in 1937 and for 45 years contributed a great variety of services to the Sechelt community until fire destroyed the landmark on May 27, 1971. 

9. Site of the original family home of Bert Whitaker (now the Driftwood Inn & Pebbles Restaurant) - One of Sechelt’s pioneer families, Albert & Henrietta Whitaker, built Beach House about 1905/06.  The house contained 7 bedrooms.  The Union Steamship Company purchased the private home in 1926 and operated it as a hotel annex and later as the Sechelt Inn until 1952, when they sold the business to Florence “Manny” Duncan.  She managed the hotel successfully for a decade before a fire on July 20, 1963 rendered the building uninhabitable.  As a safety measure the firemen deliberately set a second fire the following year, reducing the inn to ashes.  The Driftwood Inn was built on the land around 1965.

10. Green Cottage (1 of 2 cottages built by Bert Whitaker still in existence) - Bert Whitaker also erected several cottages on the waterfront, prior to 1926, for the purpose of renting them to vacationing families from Vancouver.  Two of them are still in existence: Green Cottage, also know as Killarney Cottage and Kwitcherkicken (pronounced:  quit-your-kickin).

Snickett Park
11. Snickett Park – An English term meaning “little trail”.  Annie Whitely, an Englishwoman who lived near the park would occasionally look out her window and comment that someone was going “through the snickett”.

12. Rockledge Cottage (2 of 2 cottages built by Bert Whitaker still in existence) – This is the second of the two cottages, still in existence, that Bert Whitaker built on the waterfront, prior to 1926, for the purpose of renting them to vacationing families from Vancouver. 

13. Justice Building - Housing the Provincial Court House and the RCMP.  It was built in 2002/2003.  The building is home to “a coastal meadow in the sky” green roof.  The Lightweight extensive green roof will reduce storm-water runoff, mitigate the heat island effect and conserve water. 

14. St. Hilda’s Anglican Church and Pioneer Graveyard - On November 15, 1936 St. Hilda’s Anglican Church was dedicated by Archbishop Adam Urias DePencier.  The church was erected on property donated by Thomas John Cook, and is located on land that also served as Sechelt’s first cemetery.  Mr. Cook started the burial ground in January 1923 when 4-month-old Regnheld Evelyn Davidson died at Doriston and her parents had no alternative site available.

15. Rockwood Lodge - Opened for business on July 27, 1936 by William & Jessie Youngson.  The Youngsons where Scottish people who came to the village in 1926.  Jessie was a superlative cook as well as a skilful and enthusiastic gardener.  The meals she served and the beautiful landscaping she and Bill achieved attracted vacationers as well as hydro and highway crews, travelling salesmen and all manner of government officials.  Indeed Rockwood came to be known as “Government House” because of the politicians, school inspectors, assessors, police officers and the like who found a home away from home at the lodge.  The Youngsons ran Rockwood successfully for 10 years.  After that, it changed ownership 6 times between 1946 and 1980.

The building is now home to the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, Canada's longest running summer gathering of Canadian writers and readers, featuring established literary stars and exciting, new voices... with opportunities for writers and readers to mingle amidst Rockwood's heritage gardens. 

16. Chatelech Elementary School  

17. Municipal Hall & Library - Built in 1996.

18. Cowrie Street – Originally known as “the back road”, became the centre of business and commerce when Highway 101 was paved in 1952.  For years, before Inlet and Trail Avenues were opened, people could only reach Cowrie by walking on a narrow plank sidewalk over the snake-infested bog behind the berm along Trail Bay.

19. Sechelt Shell Station - Frank French opened the first garage & Taxi Service in 1930.  The gas was hand pumped.  In July of 1957 Cliff Connor opened “Cliff’s Shell Service”, after taking over the station from Frank Solnik, and in 1961 Shell Oil spent $25,000 revamping the station.

Cowrie Street during the Annual Show & Shine
20. Cowrie Lane - Home of the jail, courthouse and police station in the 1950’s

21. Dentist Office - Built in 1930’s as a home and accommodation for visitors.  Called Glendalough, which was the home of Jack and Carrie Mayne.

22. Bank of Montreal Mural -  “Catch of the Day” circa 1912.  Used as advertising to attract tourists to the salmon fishing in the area. 

23. Cenotaph  

24.  Porpoise Bay Government Wharf  - Access to Sechelt in the early days of its development was almost exclusively by sea.  This meant that establishing a landing for sea traffic was instrumental in the community’s development.  The original government wharf at Porpoise Bay was constructed in 1923-24. The location of this wharf was basically the same as that of the present site. The government wharf superstructure was renewed in 1969.  The floats have been renewed or maintained on an “as required” basis.  The seaplane float was installed in 1965.  New floats for the wharf were put in place in July 1974, and were built on foam pontoons, which will presumably enjoy a much longer life than fibreglass pontoons or earlier wooden supports.
25. Lighthouse Pub & Odyssey Buildings - The Lighthouse tower, at 65’, is the highest structure in Sechelt.  The Lighthouse Pub and Odyssey buildings were purchased from Expo 86.  It may have been either the Bavarian Beer Gardens or the Munich Festhause.  Both were German style beer parlours.

26.  Poise Island - Sechelt natives buried their dead here a placed them in trees during the smallpox epidemic of 1862/63.  Until 1945 it was known as Skeleton Island, Dead Man’s Island and Cooks Island. 

Sechelt March Photo courtesy of Coracle Cove
27. Sechelt Duck March - Formerly known as “the bog”, high tide would often cover the road to Porpoise Bay.  The natural interaction of the fresh water from the marsh mixing in with the salt water from the ocean creates an environment attracting many different species of bird wildlife.      The Sechelt Marsh draws the attention of many birds to the area like woodpeckers, buffleheads, redwing blackbirds, swallows, Canada Geese, malards and many more water friendly birds.

28.  Sechelt Arts Centre -  In the late 1970’s the Sunshine Coast Art Council embarked on a community building project led by Clarke Steabner and funded through a job-training grant to teach log construction.  With donated labour, equipment, and supplies, including timber from their own property, Clarke and the others shaped and assembled the logs and erected the Sechelt Arts Centre, which opened in 1979.

Snickett Park Photo Courtesy of Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite