Island-hop to these events on BC’s rural islands


When you hear BC rural islands, you might think that means desolate places, with not much going on. This can be much of the allure in visiting one of BC’s Gulf islands, but some of us travellers are looking for a workout, an education or a good time - or some combination of all three!

You’ll find all that and more when you visit the islands of Cormorant, Cortes, Hornby, Gabriola and Quadra. Maybe you'll end up in a bread-making workshop (pictured above) or taking a guided hike, or perhaps checking out a vibrant live music scene.

These islands are five of the most community-oriented, nature-centered, grounded and respectful communities you’ll find. Within each, unique collectives, coops and societies warmly invite visitors to learn new skills, cultivate greater appreciation for Indigenous culture and appreciate the world around us.

Check out these BC rural island events

Here’s a roundup to some of the upcoming experiences you might want to click in with as you #exploreBCruralislands.

Indigenous cultural experiences on Cormorant Island, KWAKWAKW’AKW TRADITIONAL TERRITORY
Beading at U'mista Cultural Centre Cormorant Island BC Melissa Renwick ZenSeekers
Photo: Melissa Renwick
Traditional beadwork on display at the U'mista Cultural Centre, Cormorant Island.

Beading Club! “A place to sit down and bead, learn and visit. Supplies and dinner provided.” 

ZenSeekers suggests you make a donation to U’mista Cultural Centre, recognizing their hospitality. Saturdays and Sundays through the fall, 6 - 8pm at U’mista Cultural Centre.

The Centre is open 9am to 5pm through the fall and offers self guided tours through a centre that will transform - home to one of the world’s largest collection of Indigenous Potlatch regalia and masks from the 'Namgis First Nation (best to call ahead, just to confirm hours through fall/winter).

Plan to stay at The Cabins at Alert Bay, owned by the 'Namgis First Nation, and support Indigenous tourism. You will find them featured in our #exploreBCRuralislands coverage.

Nature conservation, retreats on Cortes Island, 
Birding Cortes Island Melissa Renwick ZenSeekers
Photo: Melissa Renwick
Bird watching on Cortes Island.

Cortes Radio is your hotspot to keep your pulse on upcoming events, live music and experiences on Cortes, be sure to tune the dial to CKTZ when you’re up island (or any time, anywhere to score a sense of the island without even leaving home). 

The Island’s famous Hollyhock Conference Centre has a robust calendar of conferences, workshops and experiences you might want to retreat too:

If you’re inspired by the beauty of the landscape to learn about and contribute to nature conservation, check in with nature society The Friends of Cortes who offer up anytime programming – on demand.

"Dig to Ride" bike meets on Quadra Island, WEI WAI KAI AND WEI WAI KUM TRADITIONAL TERRITORIES
Biking Quadra Island BC Melissa Renwick ZenSeekers
Photo: Melissa Renwick
Riding the bike trails on Quadra Island.

On Saturdays from November through March come build trail via the “Dig to Ride” group trail building sessions you can join with the Quadra Island Bike Coalition

Stay the weekend and score their group ride on Sunday mornings at 10am. Details on their Facebook page.

Check into the Heriot Bay Inn and experience the scene in this local hotspot. Check out their fall 2022 October and November events calendar for events that will whet your appetite. 

This place is a funky spot to spend a few nights – easy bike access and the ferry to Hornby is right there.

Hornby Island BC art pottery Logan Moore ZenSeekers
Photo: Logan Moore
Hornby's arts scene overflows with cool finds.

Anytime you can take an art tour – but coming up is the big one for the island: watch for their upcoming Hornby Arts Winter Studio Tour, Nov 26.

Hikes, pints & hands on learning on Gabriola Island, SNUNEYMUXW TRADITIONAL TERRITORY
Live music Surfs Inn Gabriola Island BC Melissa Renwick ZenSeekers
Photo: Melissa Renwick
Meet the locals and enjoy live music at the Surfs Inn pub.

The folks at Gabriola Land and Trust host a regular walk schedule & their trails are open any time. Here is the link to the Gabriola trail map and if you scroll down, you will see a description of the ABC walks. 

End your hike with a pint and some live music at Surfs Inn - you can check out the schedule here.

And then get hands on! Gabriola Agricultural Co-op offering its makers series this October, November and December. A 12 part workshop series to teach you how to make break, make cheese and/or if you how to make chocolate and lots more. Get details on their Facebook page.

Go deeper with #exploreBCruralislands

You will find lots more inspiration by visiting the #exploreBCruralislands expedition page here on ZenSeekers.

Let us know what you uncover, use the hashtag #exploreBCruralislands to be featured on our social media.

#exploreBCruralislands is a collaborative initiative between Seekers Media and the Rural Islands Economic Partnership (RIEP)

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