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North America > Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > Southern Gulf Islands > Mayne Island

Mayne Island

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Dinner Bay

Mayne Island is in the Southern Gulf Islands. The island is approximately 21 km² and has a permanent population of about 1100 people. There is evidence of human habitation up to 5000 years ago, however, Captain George Vancouver is the first non-native to alight on the island, having camped there in 1794 (his crew left a coin and a knife found over a century later by early settlers). The first permanent homesteads were built in the 1860s. The island is named after Royal Navy lieutenant Richard Charles Mayne.

The majority of services are in the Miners Bay area. Here you will find a gas station, liquor store, post office, ATM, and two grocery stores. Other major locations on the island are Village Bay, location of the ferry terminal, as well as Georgina Point and Bennett Bay, both part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve.

The Mayne Island Community Chamber of Commerce provides a tourist map and guide that identifies key attractions, activities and shopping.

Understand[edit]

The historic village at Miners Bay remains the commercial centre of the island, with the annual Fall Fair still being held at the old Agricultural Hall like so many years before. Miners Bay is also the site of the Springwater Lodge which was built in 1892 and remains the oldest continuously operated hotel in British Columbia.

Nearby Active Pass still throbs with a steady stream of marine traffic, a bustling contrast to the island's quiet interior byways. Village Bay, with its BC Ferries terminal, has several late 19th-century to 1930s buildings. Active Pass is named after the American survey ship USCS Active, the first steam vessel to navigate the pass.

History[edit]

Mayne Island was inhabited by members of the Tsartlip First Nation prior to European colonization. Several middens are present on the island, along with period articles — most notably including a 2-tonne (2.2 short tons) stone bowl which was stolen in 1982 and again, in 2007.

In 1794 Captain George Vancouver camped on Georgina Point where his crew left a coin and a knife found over a century later by early settlers.

In 1857 Captain George Richards of the Royal Navy surveyed the area as captain of the Royal Navy vessel HMS Plumper, naming the island after his Lieutenant Richard Charles Mayne, son of the first commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police. His journals concerning his explorations of British Columbia are important sources for early British Columbia history, as are those of his colleague in many of those explorations, Royal Engineer Lieutenant Henry Spencer Palmer.

During the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858-1860 and after, Vancouver Island miners gathered on Mayne Island before rowing across Georgia Strait to the mainland of BC in search of their fortunes. The earliest homesteaders registered land claims in the Miners Bay area in 1859.

During the late 19th century, Mayne Island was the commercial and social centre of the Gulf Islands. The port at Miners Bay was always busy due to the steady stream of marine traffic travelling through Active Pass, the narrow, curving strait separating Mayne from Galiano Island to the north, which is the main ferry route between the Mainland and Vancouver Island today.

The Japanese-Canadian community on Mayne Island played a historical role in the island's economics and society from the turn of the 20th century until World War II. The community had close ties to the European-Canadian population throughout the Gulf Islands and was involved in major economic initiatives such as greenhouse farming. In 1941 the Japanese Canadians living on Mayne Island were interned by the government and resettled in New Denver for the duration of World War II. Many of the families would never return to the island after the loss of land and their community. Today, the Japanese Gardens, near Dinner Bay, are dedicated to the memory and legacy of the Mayne Island's Japanese-Canadian community.

Get in[edit]

Map of Mayne Island

BC Ferries [1] operates service to Mayne Island from Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island, and Tsawwassen on the British Columbia mainland. There are 8 sailings per day, but you should always check the website for the latest information. Floatplane service is also available to and from Mayne Island. Several companies provide regular scheduled service in and out of Miners Bay.

For a more down to earth experience, discover the island by renting a bike or kayak from Mayne Island Kayaking, +1 250-539-2463 [2]. It is a long walk from the ferry terminal to Mayne Island Kayaking.

Get around[edit]

By bicycle[edit]

If you plan to cycle, you should bring your own bicycle as the nearest place to rent one is a long distance from the ferry terminal. Cyclists should travel single file as the narrow and hilly roads on Mayne Island can create blind curves.

On foot[edit]

Mayne Island is small enough that it is possible to travel a fair distance on the Island on foot. You should be reasonably fit and prepared for long walks. It takes about 45 minutes to walk from the ferry terminal to the village of Miners Bay. BC Car-Free provides additional information useful for travellers who plan to visit Mayne Island without a vehicle.

See[edit]

Arbutus Tree at Georgina Point, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
  • The lighthouse at Georgina Point, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve(Follow Georgina Point Road from Miners Bay). The lighthouse was built in 1885 and marks the eastern entrance to Active Pass. A great place to watch passing boats, and marine life such as harbour seals and orca whales.
  • Japanese Gardens at Dinner Bay Park. This garden is maintained year round by local volunteers. It is a tribute to the Japanese-Canadians sent to internment camps during World War II. There is no charge to enter, but donations are gratefully accepted.
  • Miners Bay contains many buildings of historic interest including Springwater Lodge (1885), St Mary Magdalene Church (1897), Plumper Pass Lock-up (1896, now a museum), and the Agricultural Hall (1900).

Do[edit]

Campbell Point, Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
  • Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Bennett Bay Rd.. At Bennett Bay, stroll through a small section of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (Gulf Islands National Park Reserve is a mosaic of properties spread over 15 islands, islets and reefs [3]). Park at the end of Isabella Lane, and take the short trail out to Campbell Point, which features remnant old-growth forest and views of Mt. Baker, Georgeson Island and Saturna Island. Bennett Bay Beach (which can be accessed via Bennett Bay Road) has the reputation of being one of the best sandy beaches on the island, and it is the primary launch point for kayakers and small boaters [4].For more information about Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, please phone 1-866-944-1744.
  • Mount Parke Regional Park, Montrose Rd.. Hike Mount Parke to access one of the best viewpoints on Mayne Island. There are several hiking options, including an easy stroll through thick forest and an extended loop trail. It takes about 45 minutes to hike to the viewpoint. The Mayne Island Conservancy Society provides the official guide and map for Mount Parke Regional Park.
  • Mayne Island Music Society events. The society holds, on average, six events per year. The society focuses on bringing quality live music to the island, providing performance opportunities for local musicians, and supporting music education on the island.
  • Mayne Island Fall Fair. The Mayne Island Fall Fair is the oldest fall fair on the Gulf Islands. Includes a parade, farmers' market, and other events/activities. Held annually on the third Saturday in August.
  • MayneNews. The MayneNews web site and email list features non-profit community and cultural events throughout the year.

Buy[edit]

Mayne Island is the home to many artists and artisans who produce glass, pottery, jewellery, cards, paintings, prints, weaving and tapestry. Meet many of the Island's artists and farmers at the Mayne Island Farmers' Market, which is open Saturday mornings on the Agricultural Hall Grounds (on Fernhill Rd. in Miners Bay) from July through September.

  • Coastal Creations, 417 Fernhill Road, +1 250-539-5889. Gallery and giftshop for locally produced and finely crafted wood, garden art, metal, and glass wares, original watercolours and prints, photography, hand made books, journals, calendars, and cards, sheepskin slippers, weaving, leather and fabric accessories, "all natural" beauty products and 100% beeswax candles. Call for seasonal hours.
  • En•vision Gallery, +1 250-539-5606. Fine art gallery and shop. Seasonal hours or by appointment.
  • Mayne Island Glass Foundry, 563 Aya Reach Road, +1 250-539-2002. Glass blowing studio and gallery. Open 10AM-5PM daily, June to September.
  • Miners Bay Books, +1 250-539-3112. New and used books, gifts, cards, toys and games. Specializing in West Coast, BC, local authors, children's and literary fiction.
  • Tree Frog Gallery & Natural Clothing, +1 250-539-3551. A collection of eco-friendly hemp and organic cotton clothing.

Eat[edit]

Wild blackberries are abundant on Mayne Island in late summer through early September, and make a tasty snack (particularly if you're travelling around the Island on foot or bicycle).

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • Mayne Island Camping, 359 Maple Drive (from Village Bay Ferry Terminal (3 km), ead up to the top of the Ferry Ramp, turn left onto Letour Rd, right onto Village Bay Rd, left onto Maple Dr, the driveway is an extension of Maple Dr taking you through the forest to the seashore; from Miners Bay Government Dock (1 km), head southeast on Georgina Point Rd, take the 1st right onto Village Bay Rd, take the 2nd right onto Maple Dr,thr driveway is an extension of Maple Dr taking you through the forest to the seashore), +1 250-889-7366. secluded tent campsites, a 2 bedroom cottage, and 1800 ft of low bank beach access.
  • Springwater Lodge, +1 250-539-5521. $40-70 per night.
  • [dead link] Bayview B&B, 764 Steward Drive, +1 250-539-2924, fax: +1 250-539-2918. $80-90 per night.
  • Oceanwood Country Inn, 630 Dinner Bay Road, +1 250-539-5074, fax: +1 250-539-3002. $139-349 per night.


This city travel guide to Mayne Island is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.