X
1-2332-Galiano
Sandstone cliffs near Montague Harbour
(Adrian Dorst photo)

Galiano Island

Geography

Shaped like a long, lean thigh bone, Galiano Island is on the outer edge of BC's southern Gulf Islands facing the Strait of Georgia and Vancouver on the province's mainland.

Divided by a rocky spine for much of its length, Galiano stretches for 27.5km/17.1mi from end to end. Its maximum width is 6km/3.7 mi, but much of the island can be traversed in half that distance.

Neighboring Islands

Active Pass, the main navigation channel for BC Ferries traffic into the southern Gulf Islands, separates Galiano's rounded south end from its near-neighbor Mayne Island. Salt Spring Island is southwest across the Trincomali Channel with Vancouver Island and the Olympic mountain range of Washington state in the US looming in the background. Porlier Pass at the island's north end is a narrow and famously treacherous body of water dividing Galiano from Valdes Island.

Climate and Weather

All of the southern Gulf Islands enjoy Mediterranean-style climates marked by sunny, dry summers, and mild, frost-free winters. Since it is the first island touched by the warm outflow of water from the BC mainland's Fraser River, Galiano cheerleaders have long claimed the best microclimate in the region. Summer highs are in the mid-20°C/70°F range with occasional hot spells in July and August. Spring and fall is ideal sweater weather.

The island typically receives over 2,000 hours of sunshine annually. Precipitation in recent years has averaged about 650mm/25in per year, a result of the rain shadow effect as moisture-laden clouds exhaust themselves over Vancouver Island. Most of the wet stuff falls between November and March.