About Mayne Island

Mayne Island Map

God's own land, Canada's Hawaiian Islands, Lotusland - these are intriguing words attached to the splendid southern Gulf Islands of south-western British Columbia. Strategically located amidst an archipelago between Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle, Mayne Island serves as the turning point for the other "Outer Gulf Islands", it is one of the most pleasant places on earth for permanent living. The sea gave birth to Mayne Island some 40 million years ago and provided sustenance for its inhabitants ever since its settlement. Today the Pacific Ocean enhances a utopian ideal for Mayne Island's residents.

A short ferry ride of 45 minutes from Victoria or 60 minutes from Vancouver takes the visitor from urban bustle to an undisturbed corner of "Lotusland", to the pastoral pleasures of Mayne Island. It is about eight by five kilometres in area and has only 900 year round residents - an eclectic mix from all over the globe of artists, writers, contractors, artisans, hobby farmers, retired folk and younger, newly-wise commuters, who have opted for a lifestyle other than that found in the urban jungle.

This strategic location unlike any other island in the Province puts Mayne Island in the best of the Gulf Islands and U.S. San Juan Islands cruising area within only minutes drive of the Victoria International Airport, Washington State ferry terminal, and Swartz Bay with its regular ferry service to and from the Lower Mainland, Vancouver, and the Gulf Islands.

The history of Mayne Island is full of romance and adventure. People and events have left their mark here, the explorers, the Royal Navy, the miners and speculators of the Caribou gold rush and the settlers from many parts of the globe. Mayne Island was the only Gulf Island on which Captain Vancouver landed, in 1794. Many books and articles have been written about its history. Archaeological sites, Museums, a Lighthouse, as well as turn-of-the-century homes still remain of that past.

The island is mainly bays and beaches and gentle wooded hills of arbutus, Douglas fir, cedar, alder and brilliant bursts of broom. While Mayne is a Mecca for gourmets, other favoured diversions include fishing, kayaking, swimming, sailing, scuba diving, beachcombing, canoeing, clam digging, hiking, cycling, tennis and such pastoral pastimes as watching bald eagles soar in the sky before diving for salmon in tide-torn Active Pass, or trailing little deer as they slip away from the sound of morning. Theatrical productions, art shows and concerts are favoured in the cooler, quieter months.

The climate is kind. Winters are mild. Rainfall rarely exceeds 70 centimetres annually. About one-third the precipitation that showers Vancouver, and the sun usually shines faithfully from March through October. Mayne Island has a spider web system of good country roads and hiking trails which generally lead, albeit by sometimes circuitous routes from the forests to the water.

Mayne Island has several public parks, public tennis courts, a shopping mall, health centre and ambulance, lighthouse and historic church, school, fire hall, lumberyard and a gas station, museum, recycling centre, highways maintenance yards, many good places to eat and charming guest houses, inns, lodges, resorts and Bed & Breakfasts to stay, art galleries, a newspaper, a community centre in the making, public docks, artisan shops and several attractions of historic interest.

>> Visit the Mayne Island photo collection on Flicker