Out and About Hornby Island

Hornby Island is known as the jewel of the Gulf Islands for two simple reasons: its people and its natural beauty. While the Gulf Islands are generally known to have friendly residents and wondrous wilderness to explore, Hornby is a remote retreat that will earn a special place in your travels. Situated off the south end of Denman Island, Hornby Island is the smaller of the two islands and is famous for its popular, warm, Mediterranean-like swimming beaches at Tribune Bay Provincial Park and Whaling Station Bay. Hornby even has its own 280-metre mountain, Mt. Geoffrey. Hornby Island is also part of the Discovery Island Group.


Every Island has a story …

Captain Hornby was commander of the H.M.S. Tribune in 1860. His frigate gave its name to the tropical surroundings of Tribune Bay on the southeast tip of Hornby. Two of the earliest settlers from England, George Ford and Henry Maude, came to own more than 40% of the island in the late 1860’s. The population of the island has grown slowly over its history, due mostly to its more remote location in the Gulf Islands chain. Major industry on the island has included whaling, fishing, logging, and farming. Subsequent developments sprung up to house and service the population that established themselves on Hornby. The most recent growth spurt on the Island occurred in the 1950’s when the first church, a regular car ferry, electricity, and a co-operative were introduced.

Who lives on Hornby?

There are approximately 2,000 permanent residents on Hornby Island – not too bad for an island that is only 30 kilometres long! Visit the Hornby Island Residents' and Ratepayers' Assoc on the web for more information.

Where is it and how do I get there?

To reach Hornby, you first cross Buckley Bay to Denman Island, then jump aboard a second ferry to Hornby. The entire trip takes about 50 minutes or so from Vancouver Island. Check the BC Ferries web site at www.bcferries.com or call 1-888-BCFERRY (BC) or (250) 386-3431 (Victoria).

When should I go?

Hornby Island is busiest in the drier spring and summer months, with visitors arriving by ferry every hour. With a long stretch of warm, dry weather in May, this is a great time to plan your visit to Hornby.

What should I do when I get there?

Great outdoor activities on Hornby Island include swimming, hiking, cycling, birding, whale watching, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and much more. There are many day use areas for picnics, hiking, swimming, and playing. You can also scuba dive off St. John Point in Helliwell Provincial Park, Lambert Channel, at Maude Reef, Heron Rocks, and Norris Rocks. You will be surprised with the amount of services that are available to visitors on Hornby Island, especially those around Tribune Bay and the Co-Op Complex. 

What are some of the Island’s unique features?

Artistic Abundance ...

Hornby is an artist’s (and buyer’s) paradise! You can visit one of the many web sites on the internet for listings of artists and galleries. 

Be Entertained ...

Come for the Hornby Festival in the first week of August annually. The entertainment runs for 10 days and includes a variety of performers not to be missed! For more information, call the Festival office at (250) 335-2734.

Explore the Parks & Beaches ...

Hornby Island has more parks than any of the other Gulf Islands. These include Helliwell Provincial Park, Big Tribune Provincial Park, Mount Geoffrey Regional Park, and Fords Cove Marina.

Where should I stay?

There are no provincial campgrounds on Hornby Island, however, B&Bs, campgrounds, and resort lodges can be found. Hornby has a variety of public parks for day use picnickers where you can enjoy the ocean side environment. Accommodations fill up quickly so it is good to make your reservations in advance, even for the campgrounds at Helliwell and Tribune Bay.


Where should I stay? 

No matter what your budget will allow there are a number of  accommodation options available to you! Gulf Island Accommodations


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