Gibsons, British Columbia
10th April 2023
Twenty miles northwest of Vancouver on the Sunshine Coast, the colorful seaside village of Gibsons, attracts hundreds of boaters year-round. It makes an ideal weekend getaway spot for local city dwellers or a wonderful overnight stop for cruisers on their summer migration to points further north.
The working harbor is the soul of the village. Visiting boaters have their choice of two marinas. Once inside the breakwater, Gibsons Marina is to port offering twenty guest slips on “A” dock. If the visitors dock is full, staff will direct you to vacated slips. The marina offers 15 and 30 amp power, fuel, washrooms, showers, a chandlery, laundry and pumpout.
To starboard, just inside the breakwater, is Gibsons Landing Harbour Authority. On the docks there is 30 and 50 amp power, pumpout and Wi-Fi. The Harbour Office, washrooms, showers, laundry are housed in the impressive cedar log building at the top of the ramp. A pedestrian pier and gazebo overlook the harbor.
This seaside village has an interesting and popular history. In 1859 George Gibson married wife Augusta and shortly after headed west from Ontario searching for land and a new life. He built a flat-bottom sloop called Swamp Angel in Nanaimo and sailed to the Sunshine Coast, in 1886, where he laid claim to land that became known as Gibson’s Landing, and in 1947 became the town of Gibsons.
Many Canadians across the country are familiar with this area because it was the site of a long-running Canadian television show, The Beachcombers, about life in a small waterfront town. From 1972 to 1991, CBC Television shot The Beachcombers series here, imprinting its weekly images of log booms and salvage boats on the collective Canadian cultural brainstem.
Facing the sea and Coastal Mountains, homes are tiered into a slope that climbs from the shoreline. Thankfully, development has not overtaken the waterfront. Gibsons, retains it’s salty-dog charm thanks to the relegation of chain restaurants and retailers in nearby upper Gibsons.
A tide of entrepreneurs, artists and retirees have washed ashore here. Bringing their taste of music, art and culture, varied restaurants, and espresso-based beverages. The result is an independent small town that supports a mix of bookstores and galleries, and even fine dining restaurants.
Gibsons Public Market is a bustling place that features Six Merchants and Market Bistro providing a variety of fresh, local food since 2017. Each locally owned business is independently operated and provides the best that the Sunshine Coast has to offer. From spot prawns to burgers, it has plenty to offer. It also provides a connection to the ocean through the Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre, a collect-hold-release aquarium.
There are excellent dining choices just steps from the boat. For a quick bite, try a tasty pulled pork sandwich from the Smoke On The Water BBQ at the top of the ramp next to the harbor office. Gramma’s Pub is a fixture with locals and not to be missed. There is also Smitty’s Oyster House and Molly’s Reach Restaurant, the fictional site of “Nick’s Salvage” – the hangout for Nick, Relic, and the gang of The Beachcomber television series. It came to life as a real restaurant in 1995. Painted daffodil yellow, the false fronted landmark sits on the original homestead of the town’s namesake.
Weathered boathouses and fishermen’s cottages line a sea walk, an irresistible public path that traces the harbor’s west shore from Armours Beach to Gibson Marina, linking sand and cobble beaches, connecting the two marinas, and a waterfront park along its route.
Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives is where to find information and displays on Gibsons early logging, fishing, and farming, and memorabilia from The Beachcombers TV series.
In June, enjoy the sounds of the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival and from July to September enjoy the free sounds of music in the Landing featuring local professional musicians of all musical genres. So why wait, make Gibson’s your next boating destination!