The last island on my tour of BC’s Gulf Islands ― until I have a chance to explore some more, that is ― is Hornby Island.
Hornby is part of a group of islands known as the Northern Gulf Islands (as opposed to the Southern Gulf Islands that Pender, Salt Spring, and Galiano are grouped with). It’s a bit of a hike to get to Hornby from Vancouver: you first take a ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, then drive up island for about an hour, hop on another ferry at Bulkley Bay that takes you to Denman Island, drive across Denman, and then, finally, take yet another ferry to get to Hornby. (Denmanites refer to their island as the “bridge” to Hornby because most tourists and campers whiz across it without stopping.)
All told, it’s a good half-day trek. My friends and I went to Hornby on a long weekend, but, even with three days, the trip still felt rushed. If you are coming from Vancouver, I highly recommend going to Hornby only if you have at least four or five days, ideally a week, to make the travel time and ferry expense worth your while.
Hornby Island has a year-round population of 1000 and its size of 30 square kilometres makes it one of the smallest of the Gulf Islands. It’s named after Rear Admiral Phipps Hornby, a Brit, who was the Commander of the Pacific Station in the 1850s. The island’s Mount Geoffrey is named after his son.
Like the rest of the Gulf Islands, Hornby offers hiking, wine-tasting, and studio tours. It is also popular with cyclists and mountain bikers. The beach at Tribune Bay is beautiful and I added it to my list of favourite beaches as soon as I set eyes on it. I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time on that beach when I return to Hornby Island.