Most people first set foot on the Sunshine Coast at Langdale, after a 40 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. Many think they have arrived on an island, because of their pleasant excursion aboard BC Ferry’s Queen of Cowichan. Their confusion is understandable, but a look at a Provincial map shows that the Sunshine Coast is not an island. Rather, this populated strip of beach land is barricaded from the rest of the Mainland by the rugged Coast Mountains. The only practical way of getting here is by boat or plane.
Water and mountains are two of the defining features of this place. Another is the extra quota of sunshine which gives this 80 kilometer section of coastline its name. Finally, there is the Coast’s proximity to Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. All these ingredients produce a mix that is attractive to tourists, commuters and a growing number of full-time residents.
Gibsons is located at the south end of the Sunshine Coast, a short 40 minute ferry ride north from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver. With a population of 4,182, Gibsons is a quaint town of artists and fishing boats. Perched on a hillside, it overlooks a harbour and faces nearby islands in Howe Sound and is the “Gateway to the Sunshine Coast”.
Gibsons has earned international recognition: in 2009, it was named the “Most Liveable Community under 20,000″ in a world-wide competition by the UN-backed International Awards for Liveable Communities. But it’s perhaps most famously known as the location for the longtime hit TV show The Beachcombers, which first aired in 1972 and ran until 1990.
Roberts Creek is a beautiful community with a lovely blend of forest and beaches and quiet country roads. Known as “The Gumboot Capital” of the Sunshine Coast, residents love the relaxed atmosphere and the endless outdoor activities from golfing to mountain biking to fall mushroom picking.
Located centrally on the Lower Sunshine Coast, the town of Sechelt (population 8,454) is as laidback as it is scenic, full of quirky artists and surrounded by green coastal mountains. Getting to Sechelt is iust a 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, followed by a 27 km (17 mile) drive up Highway 101. Nestled on a strip of land between Howe Sound and the Strait of Georgia, Sechelt is the largest municipality on the Sunshine Coast and attracts many visitors with its blissful mix of water and land activities, suitable for all ages and ability levels.
Located north west of Sechelt on the way to Pender Harbor, Halfmoon Bay is situated in a clamshell bay with lovely south west exposure and pebble beaches. Originally settled by loggers and fishermen in the early 1900′s, it was a was a popular vacation destination for people from Vancouver, who came to stay at Redrooffs Resort. Now it’s not only a great place to vacation, but also to live and raise a family, boasting a family friendly neighbourhood and well loved community school. Neighborhood people truly love the area.
Like most of the communities on the Sunshine Coast, Pender Harbour is on the ocean. This lovely harbour is made up of miles of shoreline with homes and docks and very sheltered mooring. Madeira Park, the town centre, has every amenity and loads of charm and appeal. Shops and services offer everything you could need. Located at the mouth of Pender Harbour is Garden Bay, another lovely area surrounded by ocean and many small lakes – great for summer swimming and trout fishing. Pender Harbour has two schools: an elementary school and secondary school, both with great reputations.
Located near the end of the Sunshine Coast Highway, before you take the ferry to Powell River, Egmont Landing is best known for its close proximity to the fabled Skookumchuck Narrows. Boaters from everywhere stop to buy provisions for their journey to the super natural Jervis Inlet and stunning Princess Louisa Sound. This quiet and friendly area, where everyone knows everyone, is a visit into what Sunshine Coast life was like years ago. Tidal waters make for excellent fishing and shell fish gathering, and the boating is awesome.