Located at the south end of the Sunshine Coast, just north of Vancouver, Gibsons (population: 4,400) is a quaint town of artists and fishing boats. Perched on a hillside, it overlooks a harbour and faces nearby islands in Howe Sound. As the crow flies, the "Gateway to the Sunshine Coast" is 16km/10mi from Vancouver. To get to Gibsons, it's a 40-minute ferry ride from West Vancouver, followed by a 5km/3mi drive from the Langdale ferry terminal. Gibsons has earned international recognition: it was recently named the "Most Liveable Community under 20,000" (2009) in a world-wide competition by the UN-backed International Awards for Liveable Communities. But, it's perhaps most famously known as the location for the longtime hit TV show The Beachcombers, which first aired in 1972 and ran until 1990.
Nowadays, it attracts visitors with its chilled-out blend of water and land activities, suitable for all ages and ability levels. Go kayaking, canoeing, diving, or fishing. Enjoy hiking in the Sunshine Coast's regional and provincial parks, or play golf. Relax while visiting farmers markets, dining at diverse restaurants, browsing through museums and art galleries, or checking out local festivals and events.
Local Claims to Fame
The Beachcombers isn't the only noteworthy production filmed in Gibsons. Needful Things, a 1993 Stephen King movie starring Ed Harris and Max von Sydow, was also shot here, as the town stood in for a New England seaside village. Desolation Sound, starring Jennifer Beals and Ed Begley Jr., was shot here in 2005. Gibsons' Ryan Dempster has played major league baseball for the Florida Marlins, Cincinnati Reds, and Chicago Cubs. Some other notable Gibsons residents include environmental activist Paul George the (Canadian cinema) Genie Award-winning documentary director Velcrow Ripper.
Rent a kayak or canoe and explore the waters off Gibsons Harbour, venturing over to local islands like Keats Island and Gambier Island. Alternatively, kayak up Sechelt Inlet, watching out for dolphins and deer. Wherever travelers go, Sunshine Coast beaches offer great summer swimming. Throughout the year, the ocean around Gibsons offers prime salmon fishing: coho, chinook, chum, pink, and sockeye. Further up the coast, anglers love the trout fishing at Trout Lake, Sakinaw Lake, and Ruby Lake. Fishing charters and equipment rentals are available. Visitors can also stroll along the docks and buy fresh halibut, prawns and crabs at the historic marina in Gibsons Landing.
Hiking up Soames Hill offers a superb view of the region around Gibsons. Check out the Suncoaster Trail Route to the north, with 33km/20mi of trails to explore between Homesite Creek and Klein Lake, or stroll around Cliff Gilker Park with its bubbling waterfalls. While summer is the most popular time of year to visit the Sunshine Coast, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on groomed trails bring winter sports enthusiasts to the Dakota Ridge recreation area on a plateau north of Gibsons and Sechelt.
Food, Culture and More
The weekly Fiddlehead Farmers Market and Gibsons Landing Sunday Market offer farm-fresh produce and crafts by local artisans. Notable local museums include the Sunshine Coast Museum in Gibsons and the tems swiya museum in Sechelt. The latter showcases traditional First Nations culture. There are numerous art galleries around Gibsons Landing. Gibsons hosts many annual festivals, including the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival and Gibsons Landing Fibre Arts Festival. Sechelt's star festival is the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts, featuring acclaimed authors like Margaret Atwood. Pender Harbour has festivals dedicated to jazz, blues, and chamber music.