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Concert in a waterfront gazebo, Gibsons Landing (Picture BC photo)

Concert in a waterfront gazebo, Gibsons Landing

(Picture BC photo)

Transportation & Maps

Coastal Circle Route

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Print View

3 to 7 days, 566.02 km (351.71 mi)

Potter (Toshi Kawano photo)
Potter (Toshi Kawano photo)

Uncover the places where many of British Columbia's artists and artisans live, work and showcase their art. This route passes through dramatic west coast landscapes, which are responsible for inspiring many of BC's past and present day artists.

Select one of the parts to view its details:

All Parts
BC Ferries in Howe Sound, Tom Ryan photo
Part 1
Ferry to Vancouver Island

51.83 km - about 2 hours 1 min

From Tsawwassen, board BC Ferries and sail to Vancouver Island. You can take a detour and visit one of the southern Gulf Islands where many artists commonly sell their work. Galiano, Mayne, Saturna and Pender islands each have a community of artists, but the biggest concentration of galleries and studios is on Salt Spring Island in the village of Ganges.

The Butchart Gardens
Part 2
Sidney and Victoria

26.33 km - about 0 hours 23 min

Drop by Sidney and find Canada’s only “BookTown” where, within a four-block radius, book lovers have nine stores to shop for modern, used, collector’s and antiquarian books.

Plan to visit the world famous Butchart Gardens, located in Brentwood Bay. Another must-see is the popular Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. Learn about this living eco-system and see marine life from the surrounding waters.

In the capital city of Victoria, stop by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, which houses BC’s largest public art collection. Its permanent collection totals 17,000 and features artists from Asia, Europe and North America, including works by Emily Carr. Other galleries include the Winchester Gallery, the Fran Willis Gallery and Starfish Glassworks. Peruse BC’s natural history dating back 10,000 years at the Royal BC Museum.

Quw'utsun' Cultural Centre in Duncan, Tom Ryan photo
Part 3
Duncan, Chemainus and Ladysmith

91.92 km - about 1 hours 22 min

From Victoria, head north. As you head over the summit of Malahat Drive, pull into the viewpoint for panoramic ocean views over Saanich Inlet and the Saanich Peninsula to distant Mount Baker along this scenic stretch of Highway 1. Stop in Duncan – the “City of Totems” – in the Cowichan Valley to visit carvers at work at the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre. A tour of local wineries and BC’s first cidery is a must.

Continue north to Chemainus, originally a logging town, to see the world’s largest outdoor gallery of murals and sculptures. Through the hands of artists, this town transformed its economy and now offers visitors an array of boutiques filled with west-coast-inspired art from local artists and artisans.

Further north, the pretty little town of Ladysmith has heritage walks and various antique and curio shops to peruse. The Ladysmith Historical Society can provide more insight into the town’s coal mining and logging past.

Nanaimo Harbour, Adrian Dorst photo
Part 4
Ladysmith to Comox

140.19 km - about 1 hours 31 min

Continue north from Ladysmith to Nanaimo. In Nanaimo, take a heritage tour, stroll along the waterfront or enjoy a short ferry ride to Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park for a picnic on one of the many beaches.

Head north to Qualicum Beach. For those interested in antiques and artisan studios, detour west of Parksville to Coombs – famous for its market with the goats grazing on the roof. Garden lovers should stop at Milner Gardens & Woodland in Qualicum Beach. Plan to visit the Comox Air Force Museum, located on the Canadian Forces Base, for a fascinating history of west coast military aviation. A side trip to historic Cumberland is also worth the trip.

Historic Lund Hotel on the Sunshine Coast, Dannielle Hayes photo
Part 5
Ferry to Sunshine Coast and Lund

58.06 km - about 2 hours 23 min

The Sunshine Coast is the next stop on your journey. In Comox, board BC Ferries to Powell River. Nestled between ocean and forest and rich in lakes and rivers, Powell River is a hub of the Sunshine Coast that successfully combines the great outdoors with historic and cultural appeal. Stop to catch a flick at the Patricia Theatre – Canada’s oldest, continuously operating movie theatre.

Drive north to explore the eclectic community of Lund, located at the end of Highway 101, and visit the Historic Lund Hotel, complete with art gallery and general store. Watch for whales, sea lions, porpoises, seals and coastal marine birds on a scenic cruise into Desolation Sound. You can board this cruise out of Lund, Powell River or Okeover Inlet to view what are considered to be some of the world’s best cruising waters. Or take a 15-minute water taxi ride from Lund to Savary Island; the island’s white sand beaches and warm swimming waters are reminiscent of more tropical destinations.

Whitewater kayaking in Skookumchuck Narrows, Dannielle Hayes photo
Part 6
Lund to Sechelt

130.40 km - about 2 hours 50 min

South of Powell River at Saltery Bay, board another BC Ferries vessel to Earls Cove to see Harmony Falls in Hotham Sound – it drops 420m/1,400ft into the sound. At Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park, hike the easy 4-km/2.5-mi trail to a viewpoint of Sechelt and Jervis inlets. These turbulent waters form spectacular whirlpools and whitewater during peak tide change. Cast a line in Pender Harbour to fish for salmon and rent a kayak to paddle the peaceful curve of Halfmoon Bay’s coastline.

Drive south and keep watch for purple banners. The Sunshine Coast is home to one of the highest per capita ratios of artists, crafters and talented artisans anywhere in Canada, and these banners signal that an artist’s studio is open to the public to browse or purchase. “The Purple Banner Route” stretches from Powell River to Gibsons.

Gibsons Marina
Part 7
Sechelt to Gibsons

22.77 km - about 0 hours 23 min

Sechelt boasts a multitude of eclectic studios, galleries and shops. Check out the year-round schedule of exhibitions displaying local and off-coast art works at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre in Sechelt. Adventurers may want to rent a kayak or take a guided paddling tour of Sechelt Inlet.

Visit Gibsons’ numerous galleries and spend time on the waterfront. Complete your holiday with a visit to the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives in Gibsons before boarding BC Ferries to Horseshoe Bay and Vancouver.

Vancouver Skyline, Albert Normandin photo
Part 8
Return to Vancouver

44.52 km - about 1 hours 47 min

Ferry from Gibsons to Vancouver, BC’s largest city, and finish your trip in the heart of the downtown shopping district. At the Vancouver Art Gallery, the city’s former courthouse, marvel at the building’s exterior built in the early 20th century by world-renowned architect Francis Rattenbury. Inside are the most significant holdings of works by BC-born artist Emily Carr, whose paintings feature the landscape and Aboriginal peoples of the west and northwest coasts. The gallery also hosts international exhibits ranging in scope and origin.

Further south of downtown is the art lover’s haven of South Granville, with approximately 20 small galleries showcasing art, photography, Aboriginal work and fine antiques. It’s not surprising that area residents call the strip from the Granville Street Bridge to 16th Avenue “Gallery Row.”

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 City  Visitor Centre  Driving Route

Driving Directions

Part 1 - Ferry to Vancouver Island - 51.83 km - about 2 hours 1 min
1.

Head northeast

0.03 km
2.

Turn right toward Ferry Ramp/BC-17 N

0.08 km
3.

Take the 1st right onto Ferry Ramp/BC-17 N

0.06 km
4.

Take the Swartz Bay, BC - Tsawwassen, BC ferry

46.43 km
5.

Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp

0.21 km
6.

Continue onto Patricia Bay HwyDestination will be on the right

5.03 km
Part 2 - Sidney and Victoria - 26.33 km - about 0 hours 23 min
1.

Head southeast on Patricia Bay Hwy toward Beacon Ave

26.09 km
2.

Turn right onto Pandora Ave

0.21 km
3.

Take the 1st right onto Douglas St/BC-1 N

0.03 km
Part 3 - Duncan, Chemainus and Ladysmith - 91.92 km - about 1 hours 22 min
1.

Head north on Douglas St/BC-1 N toward Cormorant StContinue to follow BC-1 N

61.09 km
2.

Turn right toward Beverly St

0.12 km
3.

Turn right onto Beverly St

0.04 km
4.

Turn left to stay on Beverly St

0.44 km
5.

Turn left onto Island Hwy/BC-1 SDestination will be on the right

0.20 km
6.

Head southeast on Island Hwy/BC-1 S toward University Way

0.16 km
7.

Take the 1st left

0.13 km
8.

Turn right onto Beverly St

0.04 km
9.

Turn left to stay on Beverly St

0.37 km
10.

Take the 1st right onto Island Hwy/BC-1 N

14.80 km
11.

Turn right onto Henry Rd (signs for Chemainus/Thetis Island/Kuper Island)

1.42 km
12.

At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Chemainus Rd/BC-1A N heading to Town Centre

1.73 km
13.

At the roundabout, continue straight to stay on Chemainus Rd/BC-1A NDestination will be on the right

0.67 km
14.

Head northwest on Chemainus Rd/BC-1A N toward Cook St

8.00 km
15.

Turn left to stay on Chemainus Rd/BC-1A N

0.03 km
16.

Take the 1st right onto Island Hwy/BC-1 NDestination will be on the right

2.66 km
Part 4 - Ladysmith to Comox - 140.19 km - about 1 hours 31 min
1.

Head northwest on Esplanade Ave/Island Hwy/BC-1 N toward 1st AveContinue to follow Island Hwy/BC-1 N

16.31 km
2.

Merge onto Nanaimo Pkwy/BC-19 N via the ramp to Parksville/Campbell RiverDestination will be on the left

4.36 km
3.

Head northwest on Nanaimo Pkwy/BC-19 NContinue to follow BC-19 N

46.93 km
4.

Head west on BC-19 N

55.72 km
5.

Take exit 117 toward Courtenay/Comox

0.47 km
6.

Merge onto Comox Valley Pkwy N

4.96 km
7.

Continue onto 29 St

0.58 km
8.

Turn left onto Cliffe Ave (signs for BC-19 Alt N/Courtenay/Comox)

1.51 km
9.

Turn right onto 17 St

0.33 km
10.

Turn left onto Comox Rd

0.57 km
11.

Continue onto S Island Hwy

0.88 km
12.

Turn right onto Ryan Rd (signs for Powell River Ferry/C.F.B. Comox)

4.68 km
13.

Turn left onto Anderton Rd

1.42 km
14.

Continue onto Ellenor RdDestination will be on the left

1.48 km
Part 5 - Ferry to Sunshine Coast and Lund - 58.06 km - about 2 hours 23 min
1.

Head northwest on Ellenor Rd

0.22 km
2.

Continue onto Ferry Ramp

0.19 km
3.

Take the Comox, BC - Powell River, BC ferry to Powell River

30.26 km
4.

Continue straight onto Wharf St

0.30 km
5.

Turn right onto Marine AveDestination will be on the left

0.06 km
6.

Head north on Marine Ave toward Wharf St

5.05 km
7.

Turn right onto Arbutus Ave

1.28 km
8.

Arbutus Ave turns left and becomes Lund St

3.30 km
9.

Continue onto 101 Hwy/BC-101 NDestination will be on the right

17.39 km
Part 6 - Lund to Sechelt - 130.40 km - about 2 hours 50 min
1.

Head southeast on 101 Hwy toward Chapman Rd

21.97 km
2.

Turn left onto Marine Ave

8.53 km
3.

Continue onto Hwy 101/Thunder Bay StContinue to follow Hwy 101Destination will be on the left

26.97 km
4.

Head southeast on BC-101 S toward Jenkinson Rd

0.30 km
5.

Take the Earls Cove, BC - Saltery Bay, BC ferry

18.33 km
6.

Continue straight onto BC-101 S

0.44 km
7.

Turn left onto Jervis Inlet RdDestination will be on the right

0.01 km
8.

Head south on Jervis Inlet Rd toward BC-101 N

0.01 km
9.

Turn left onto BC-101 S

53.01 km
10.

Turn left onto Trail Ave

0.35 km
11.

Turn right onto Dolphin St

0.33 km
12.

Take the 3rd right onto Wharf Ave

0.15 km
13.

Slight right onto Cowrie St

0.01 km
Part 7 - Sechelt to Gibsons - 22.77 km - about 0 hours 23 min
1.

Head southwest on Cowrie St toward Periwinkle Ln

0.13 km
2.

Take the 2nd right onto Inlet Ave

0.2 km
3.

Take the 1st right onto Dolphin St

0.21 km
4.

Continue onto BC-101 S

21.27 km
5.

Turn right onto School Rd

0.80 km
6.

Take the 3rd left onto Marine Dr

0.16 km
Part 8 - Return to Vancouver - 44.52 km - about 1 hours 47 min
1.

Head northeast on Marine Dr toward Beach Ave

4.11 km
2.

Turn right onto Ferry Ramp

0.09 km
3.

Slight right

0.51 km
4.

Take the Horseshoe Bay, BC - Langdale, BC ferry to West Vancouver

19.17 km
5.

Turn right onto Ferry Ramp

0.11 km
6.

Turn left onto BC-1 E/Trans-Canada Hwy

12.68 km
7.

Take exit 13 for BC-99 S/Taylor Way/British Columbia 1 Alternate E toward Vancouver

0.37 km
8.

Keep right at the fork, follow signs for BC-99 S/Taylor Way S/Vancouver and merge onto Taylor Way/BC-1A S/BC-99 S

1.18 km
9.

Turn left onto Marine Dr/BC-1A S

0.33 km
10.

Take the ramp to Bridge Vancouver

0.21 km
11.

Merge onto Lions Gate Bridge Rd/BC-1AContinue to follow BC-1A

5.73 km
12.

Turn right onto Howe St (signs for British Colombia 99/Tsawwassen/Seattle/Airport/BC Ferries)Destination will be on the right

0.02 km