Pacific coast splendour

Locations: Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Gulf of Georgia Cannery, Fort Langley, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites
Distance: 435 km round trip from Vancouver, BC

Marvel at the wonders of the Pacific Ocean on this week-long adventure in the Vancouver area. Relive the emergence of the West Coast fishing industry, mingle with fur traders, island-hop through the Gulf Islands and explore a former artillery fort.

Children pretend to be skippers and fishermen in the replica bridge of a trawler 

Day 1

Location: Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site, Richmond
Distance: 20 km from Vancouver

Experience the early days of the West Coast fishing industry. Learn the different methods of fishing and salmon canning at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery. Hear captivating fishermen’s tales and feel the charm of the picturesque fishing village of Steveston.

Travel back to a bygone era and step inside the magnificent palisades of Fort Langley. Spend the night in Vancouver’s only fort!

Recommended accommodation: oTENTik, Fort Langley, 55 km from Richmond

Visitors and a costumed guide sitting by a fire inside the palisades of Fort Langley. 

Day 2

Location: Fort Langley National Historic Site

Rising from the mist of the Fraser River, the palisades of Fort Langley stand tall. Inside the walls, rough-hewn timber buildings recreate the rugged 1800s. See where Hudson’s Bay Company fur traders mingled with California gold prospectors and hear First Nations interpreters tell century-old tales. Hone your skills with a blacksmith, practice barrel-making, visit the farm animals and pan for gold – you just might strike it rich!

Head to Sidney on the Tsawwassen ferry to Swartz Bay, sailing through the beautiful Gulf Islands. And in the evening, pitch your tent at McDonald campground–the perfect base camp for exploring the Gulf Islands.

Recommended accommodation: Camping, SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) campground,Vancouver Island, 115 km from Fort Langley

A couple at East Point, on Saturna Island, enjoy the panoramic ocean views 

Day 3

Location: Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Saturna Island
Distance: 40 km from campground

Ready for adventure? Enjoy a day trip on Saturna Island.

Hike to the summit of Mount Warburton Pike to enjoy astonishing views of the Gulf Islands stretched out before you. Head to East Point to do some whale watching from dry land; you might spot some of the resident orcas!

While you’re there, visit the Heritage Centre and learn about the history of the island. Enjoy a spectacular sunset before heading back to the ferry for Sidney.

Recommended accommodation: Camping, SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) campground

On Sidney Spit, two kids explore shallow water lapping at the shore 

Day 4

Location: Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, Sidney Island
Distance: 10 km from campground

Up for a relaxing day at the beach? Walk aboard the passenger ferry for Sidney Island, and cruise across Sidney Channel. In no time at all, you’ll be gleefully kicking off your shoes and strolling on the sun-warmed sand.

Enjoy a picnic watching the turquoise waves crash off Sidney Spit before a relaxing afternoon flying kites and building sand castles.

Intrigued by nature? Once back at Sidney, stop by the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea and discover local marine life secrets.

Recommended accommodation: Camping, SMONEĆTEN (McDonald) campground

Two couples enjoy the evening in front of the oTENTik tents 

Day 5

Location: Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites, Victoria
Distance: 35 km from campground

En route to the provincial capital! Spend your morning strolling through the narrow streets of Victoria’s heritage districts. Be sure to check out Chinatown, Canada’s oldest and most colourful Chinese neighbourhood. Sample English-style tea and enjoy a plate of fish and chips at the Fisherman’s Wharf before heading to Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites.

Enjoy an oTENTik camping experience within the fort’s walls and travel back to when soldiers’ families inhabited Fort Rodd Hill during their summer camp-out. Drift off to sleep to the sound of the ocean!

Recommended accommodation: oTENTik, Fort Rodd Hill

Aerial view of Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites. 

Day 6

Location: Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites

Let’s go! Discover the oldest artillery fort on Canada’s west coast. Explore secret bunkers, military command posts and 19th century buildings at Fort Rodd Hill. Listen to moving stories of soldiers and their families.

Help a Canadian ‘Bluebird’ nurse treat her patients using WWI medical supplies, guess what carefully kept artefacts from Fort Rodd Hill’s collection were used for, and imagine soldiers’ social life at the Canteen while treating yourself to locally crafted ice cream. Then switch your attention to the sea and the life of solitude; how well would you tackle a lighthouse keeper’s daily chores?

As an oTENTik guest, cap off the day watching the sunset by the lighthouse or from the top of one of the towering batteries. Feel the invigorating evening breeze before heading back to your campfire.

Recommended accommodation: oTENTik, Fort Rodd Hill

A family enjoying time together on the red chairs, with Fisgard Lighthouse behind.  

Day 7

Location: Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites

After waking up to the sound of birds singing, head to Fisgard Lighthouse, the first lighthouse built on Canada’s west coast, and soak up the beauty of the sunrise from this unique vantage point. Then, wind your way through the Garry Oak Learning Meadow, a beautiful wildflower oasis among one of the rarest ecosystems in Canada. Discover the history of camas lilies and learn why they hold a special significance to the Lekwungen people.

Distance: Return to Vancouver, 120 km

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