Out and About Mayne Island

Small, but not to be overlooked, Mayne Island is an adventurer’s destination! With some of the best sailing, hiking, and cycling on the Gulf Islands, you can explore much of this island on your visit no matter what your preferred mode of transport or recreation may be. 


Every Island has a story ...

Captain George Vancouver and his crew first arrived on Mayne Island, the smallest of the Gulf Islands, over 290 years ago. In more recent history, gold fever struck, establishing Miner’s Bay on Mayne Island as a bustling port and one of the first Crown colonies. Many gold seekers came from Vancouver Island and the United States on their way to seek Fraser River Gold. The island was actually named after Lieutenant Richard Charles Mayne, who came to the island as a surveyor in 1857. 

Who lives on Mayne?

Some of the earliest settlers on the island were First Nations people, arriving thousands of years ago. Descendants of these earliest settlers still reside on the island. Mayne also has roots to Britain. There are now about 800 permanent residents on this 21 square kilometres island.

Where is it and how do I get there?

Don’t blink! You might miss this, the smallest of the southern Gulf Islands! There is easy access by BC Ferries from Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island or from Tsawwassen terminal located on the Canadian mainland to many of the Gulf Islands, including Mayne. You can also reach the island by float plane. Private air service companies offer safe, efficient flights to the Gulf Islands from a variety of departure points, including Vancouver, Nanaimo, Victoria, and Seattle. Daily scheduled service and chartered flights are available.

Find out more about BC Ferries service to the Gulf Islands, including fares, reservations on the Tsawwassen-Gulf Island route, and schedules, on their web site at www.bcferries.com or call 1-888-BCFERRY (BC) or (250) 386-3431 (Victoria).

When should I go?

The temperate climate (the mildest in all of Canada) makes the Gulf Islands the perfect destination almost any time of the year. Here, it is drier than Vancouver and the islands are more protected than Victoria. Enjoy spring as early as February; warm, sunny, and dry summers; the vibrancy of fall; and, frost-free winters perfect for hiking, cycling, or kayaking. You really can’t go wrong no matter when you plan to visit! A tip for packing: bring layers. You may need clothing for all types of weather during your visit warmth, wind, and water! Nights are always a little chilly especially if you are walking by the water so bring a light jacket even in the summer. 

What should I do when I get there?

This island has long been a destination for adventure travelers, especially those coming from the Pacific Northwest. Because of this interest, there are an unusually large number of hotels and tourist facilities on the island. Some of the island’s unique features include the jailhouse museum and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene.

What are some of the Island’s unique features?

Be Active ... 

Enjoy the hiking, cycling, tennis, and many other activities the island has to offer the adventure tourist! Cycling is a great way to take in the historic sights and beautiful scenery on Mayne Island.

Discover the Water ...

If you prefer to be active on the water, why not rent a kayak or boat? If you’d prefer to stay on land, take in one of the many beautiful beaches on Mayne.

Enjoy the Arts ...

As is the case on many of the other Gulf Islands, galleries showcase the work of the many talented Mayne Island artists and artisans. Definitely worth a look!

Heritage Sites ...

  • There are many historic buildings on Mayne Island in Miners Bay and Village Bay. 
  • The historic Springwater Lodge has been in use on Mayne Island since 1892; 
  • The 1890’s agricultural hall;
  • The 1898 St. Mary Magdalene Church and its adjoining cemetery;
  • The 1885 Georgina Point Lighthouse, staffed until 1997;
  • The Mayne Mast, a restaurant that was once a Japanese farmhouse;
  • The old government wharf; and,
  • The 1896 Plumper Pass Lock-Up, now a small museum displaying local artifacts.
  • Make these historic buildings part of your visit!

Take some time out ...

The main commercial centre is Miners Bay overlooking Active Pass and most of the island’s many restaurants, a liquor store, and pubs are located there. Enjoy a stroll around this centre and visit with the friendly locals, always happy to offer itinerary advice and share some of their history with you!

 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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