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Separated from Galiano Island by a narrow channel, Mayne Island is laced with country roads leading to all corners of the island. Village Bay has no village; all commercial facilities are at nearby Miners Bay, which got its name during the Cariboo gold rush, when miners used the island as a stopping point.
Island beaches are limited to those at Oyster Bay, but visitors can enjoy interesting shoreline walks or take the road to the low summit of Mount Park for panoramic views.
Accommodations and Food
The least expensive island accommodation is Springwater Lodge (250/539-5521, www.springwaterlodge.com), an old hotel overlooking Active Pass from the west side of Village Bay. Rooms are basic at best and bathrooms are shared, but at just $40 s or d you know what you’re getting. Beside the hotel are four well-equipped cabins that go for $95 per night. The inn also has a restaurant open daily for all three meals.
Set on four hectares (10 acres) overlooking a protected waterway, less than two kilometers (1.2 miles) south of the ferry terminal, is Oceanwood Country Inn (630 Dinner Bay Rd., 250/539-5074, www.oceanwood.com, $179–349 s or d). Paths lead through the very private property, past herb and rose gardens, and down to the water’s edge. Within the lodge itself are four communal areas, including a well-stocked library, a comfortable lounge, and a restaurant.
Camping at Mayne Island Eco Camping (359 Maple Dr., Miners Bay, 250/539-2667, www.mayneisle.com, $12 per person) is pleasant but primitive. Laid out around the back of a short beach, some sites are right on the water while others are spread through the forest. Facilities include outhouses, a (hot) water-fed “tree” shower, and kayak rentals.
No-frills, short order grills are the order of the day at the old Springwater Lodge (Village Bay, 250/539-5521, daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, $9.50–20). Head to the Sunny Mayne Bakery & Cafe (Miners Bay, 250/539-2323, Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 8 a.m.–4 p.m.) for freshly baked breads, sumptuous cakes and pastries, healthy sandwiches, and the island’s best coffee concoctions.
The website www.mayneislandchamber.ca is loaded with useful information, including links to current weather conditions, accommodations, services, and, for those who fall in love with island living, real estate agents. Stock up on reading material at Miners Bay Books (478 Village Bay Rd., 250/539-3112).
Getting to Mayne Island
From Swartz Bay, BC Ferries (250/386-3431) schedules four sailings daily to Mayne Island; round-trip fare is adult $9.45, child $4.75, vehicle $28.
© Andrew Hempstead, from Moon Western Canada, 3rd Edition