Galiano and the other Canadian Gulf Islands are a cluster of some 200 islands and islets on the leeward side of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. These islands have their own micro climate similar to the Mediterranean and an intriguing natural environment that is filled with variety. Wooded slopes, slabs of sandstone rock, steep cliffs and white shell beaches all form a backdrop for river otters, killer whales, great blue herons and the master of the skies, the bald eagle. Galiano is considered the Gem amongst these islands.

COME HIKE THE BLUFFS....Welcome to Galiano! On the south coast of our Island, high above Active Pass, there is a narrow Garry Oak meadow cresting a rocky ridge. This forms a natural park-like open area with wide horizons and spectacular views. As seen in this photograph from an elevation of some 300 feet, the top viewpoint looks right out across Active Pass, Helen Point on Mayne Island, down Trincomali Channel to the San Juan Islands and, on very clear days, to the far, towering, snow capped, Olympic Mountains of Washington State. The meadow underfoot here is carpeted with a variety of grasses and wild flowers that bloom early, bake in the summer sun and are a feast for the eyes! This area of land, now known as the Bluffs, is open to the public and has from the earliest times been enjoyed by islanders and visitors alike as one of Galiano's greatest scenic assets. The Bluffs are preserved and protected for the people of Galiano by our non-profit society The Galiano Club, one of the oldest community organizations established in 1924. People travel long distances to be married or just to have their pictures taken here. Residents and off-Island hiking groups use a network of trails. source: A Brief History of Galiano Island's Bluff Park by Keith Holmes.

SIGHTSEEING & EXPLORING.... Galiano Island is named after the Spanish explorer Captain Dionisio Alcala Galiano who sailed our waters in 1792 marking the European discovery of the Canadian Gulf Islands. This view looks up Trincomali Channel along the Northwest edge of Galiano's Montague Harbour Provincial Marine Park. Below is the spectacular sandstone rock ledge (or ‘shoal’) carved into rippling patterns by glaciers thousands of years ago. Barnacles grow in vast numbers here along with mussels and sea snails. Low tide reveals a multitude of tidepools in which crabs and sculpins hide beneath rocks and in crevices to the delight of our younger visitors! Montague Park is open year-round and is accessed easily via Montague Road through the provincial campground (see the Southend Chart). It boasts numerous white sand and shell beaches, open meadows and a central tidal lagoon reached by foot along a network of well-maintained walking trails. The most popular trail skirts the outer shoreline perimeter of Gray Peninsula which juts into the opening of Montague Harbour. This trail, where this photograph was taken, circumnavigates the park and affords wonderful panoramic waterfront views in all directions!

SEA KAYAKING & BOATING.... Here is scenic Montague Harbour which was named after a British naval officer and first appeared on a British surveying chart around 1859. It is located at the edge of the 220 acre Montague Harbour Provincial Marine Park. The anchorage is a well known sheltered Gulf Island harbour welcoming sailors and visitors for years from all parts of the world. Montague Harbour Marina is situated on the Southwest facing shoreside offering gift shops, boat rentals, fuel and groceries. The marina provides ample dockside moorage for visiting pleasure boats. The licensed Marina Sundeck Cafe coaxes visitors to enjoy a light meal, gourmet coffees & desserts while being drenched in sunshine. Boaters may anchor out to one of the buoys if they wish or are welcome to launch their own boat from the nearby Montague Campground. Sea kayak and harbour tours leave from the Marina daily.

Here we look down the cliff edge to Active Pass, the narrow channel separating Galiano and Mayne Islands in the Southwest portion of the Strait of Georgia. It is a deep tidally active body of water about 4.5km long. The tidal mixing during the floods and ebbs creates a biologically rich feeding area perfect for fish eating birds in the Spring, Fall and Winter. Numerous pairs of Bald Eagles nest along the shores of the pass, and upwards of 100 eagles forage in these waters during the year. Active Pass is considered a globally significant wintering area for two species of waterbirds - the Pacific Loon and Brandt's Cormorant, 4,000 of the latter have been recorded here. this represents as much as 5% of the world's Brandt's Cormorant population. In addition, during migration, vast numbers of Bonaparte's Gull congregate in the pass, a staggering 10,000 come through in the Fall and a further 4,000 during the spring migration - 14% of the Pacific flyway population of these gulls. Bring your binoculars and feast your eyes! The pass is loved by bird watchers because of the accessibility afforded by frequent ferries journeys between Vancouver, the Gulf Islands and Victoria. In addition to birds, Orcas feed and travel through Active Pass to the delight of hikers and cyclists exploring The Bluffs.

GALIANO'S NORTHERN COASTLINE.... This is taken during the Spring low tide along the Georgia Strait coastline of our Island looking southeast from just below Galiano Way on Galiano (see Southend Chart). On a clear day the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula add to an already spectacular view across the straits. Shelving into the water, these rocks hold numerous tidal pools teaming with sea life where you will find tiny multi-coloured baby crabs, sculpins and hermit crabs hiding beneath the rocks and in the crevices to avoid predators. The beaches along the Georgia Strait side of Galiano are the most popular for swimming as they benefit from warm currents working their way north up Galiano - public access is available to ‘Morning Beach’ at the end of Ellis Road. Foraging here on the rocky terraces you'll watch glaucous-winged gulls, black oystercatchers and north-western crows all scavenging and probing for their fill of the crab, clam and limpet bounty. Characteristic of this area are the wonderful deep purple and sometimes orange Sea Stars that are so eye-catching to first-timers. Visitors can sea kayak, dive, sport fish, sail or boat year round. Drink in this pristine natural beauty and bring your binoculars, a camera and feast your eyes!

Galiano Island residents are proud of our healthy population of great blue herons. This stately bird is the largest of the North American herons and one of the most beautiful. Standing statuesque a full 48" tall with a massive wingspan, they are frequently observed in and around the quiet coves up and down Galiano. Birdwatching is very popular here. These gorgeous birds return to the same localities here year after year.

MID-ISLAND ON GALIANO - On one of those gloriously memorable hot summer days with not a cloud in the sky! This photograph is taken from the shores just south of Retreat Cove (see Mid-Island Chart) looking southwest down Trincomali Channel towards Charles Island and Active Pass. Photography by Helen Schnare