Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Summer, So Far

Summer got off to a great start - we left for the West Coast right after the Saturday June 26th Farmer's Market. Specifically, Galiano Island was our destination. If you're not familiar with the Southern Gulf Coast Islands, they are located in the Juan de Fuca Strait, between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island:

Galiano is the long, thin island, the second-largest of the southern gulf coast islands, Saltspring being the largest. It is also the second largest by population, which is sitting at around 1,200 right now.

This was a trip a couple of years in the making. My father rented a fully-equipped cabin right on the water for a week, and we all stayed together. The cabin was located on Whaler Bay, just a few minutes' walk from the Sturdies Bay Ferry Dock. "Downtown" Galiano is in between the two.

You instantly knew you had been transported to "Island Time" when, at 3pm (if you're lucky) everything except the little gas station/grocery has closed down for the day. On one day, we were looking for somewhere to eat lunch, and we were pointed to a painted camper trailer (The Flying Black Dog) across the street - we were advised that they had great food, if they were still open (this was about 1:45) . There were people there, so we thought we were in the clear. As we placed our order, I noticed a sign that said "sorry, closed at 2 today - going golfing". Our order was the last one put through. It was excellent food - I had a curried chickpea roti on rice, really fresh flavours.

The food stores were stocked a wee bit better than most cabin-type grocery stores - you could find pretty much anything you'd expect in a high end food store. You could literally cook any type of cuisine while staying there. The prices were surprisingly not sky high. In town there is the Sturdies Bay Bakery & Cafe - lovely little spot, great coffee and artisan breads.

The highlight of the week was unexpected - it was the Canada Day Jamboree. We missed the parade since we assumed the community hall where it was being held was nearby. Turns out Galiano Island is so long that they have two community halls. After about a 25 minute ride to the north end of the island, we joined in the celebration already underway.

The whole thing was so well-organized, even the food venue. There were salmon burgers (my choice), meat & veggie burgers, smokies/hot dogs. Coffee was served in real ceramic cups (did I mention there is no landfill on Galiano Island? We had to take all our our garbage from the cabin back with us on the ferry), as recycling is huge on the island (any island). There was a huge selection of from-scratch pies, ice cream.

After lunch, there were several carnival type games set up for the kids, including some of the old fashioned ones like 3 legged and potato sack race. One of the kids activities was purchasing a cake for $2 and decorating it. Live music was played throughout the festivities - at one point, Hallelujah could be heard. Where else, but a remote(ish) island, kind of stuck in the 60's, would you hear that at a Canada Day Celebration? :)

At the end of the day, people were allowed to take flowers from the big cart (shown above) that was part of the parade.

Apparently there are occasionally fireworks in the evening, but a fireban was currently in effect.

This was my favourite Canada Day to date. It was such a wholesome, not-cheezy, fun event. There was such a good spirit that could be felt. We've already booked the same cabin for 2011, & will continue to do so, all planned around Canada Day. So there will be many more Galiano Jamboree Canada Day celebrations in our future!

Next up - Saltspring Island Farmer's Market!!