Article & photos by Lenora A.Hayman.
Sailing time was only 45 min on the 9:20am BC Ferries’ Queen of Coquitlam from Horseshoe Bay to Langdale on the BC Sunshine Coast where you board the public bus for the 15 min trip into Gibsons.
George Gibson (1829-1913) whose statue overlooks the town joined the Royal Navy at age 12. He became a Lieutenant & with money earned from capturing a Spanish ship was able to immigrate to North America. He worked on the Mississippi River boats prior to marrying Charlotte Purdee in1859 & moving to BC with his family in1886. After building a boat he sailed to the Sunshine Coast where he laid claim to Gibson’s Landing, later known in 1947 as Gibsons.
I stopped in at the Visitor Information Centre to get a map & learn what I could see within walking distance in Lower Gibsons, in my 4 hours, before my return sailing at 2:30pm. The Sunnycrest Mall & the High School are in Upper Gibsons.
At the Gibsons & District Public Library, where there is a great view of the town through their large windows, folk were checking e-mails on the computers and reading newspapers while children were quietly playing in another room.
The Sunshine Coast Museum & Archives has a display from The Beachcombers Canadian TV Comedy-Drama Series that was filmed in Gibsons for over 18 yrs from Oct 1, 1972-Dec 12, 1990. Photos of Nick Adonidas(Bruno Gerussi), the Greek-Canadian log salvager & his business partner Jesse Jim(Pat John),Relic(Robert Clothier), their business competitor & Molly(Ray Brown) who ruled Molly’s Reach Café beamed from the walls.
There also was the exhibit Chatwilh:The Craft & Culture of the Squamish Canoe. Displayed was the Stelkaya or “Striking Wolf” 28 foot cedar canoe. Sessiyam(Ray Natraoro) is the Chatwilh(canoe carver) & member of the Wolf clan.
Don’t miss the butterfly & beetle collection displayed in numerous drawers. The world’s largest Queen Alexandra’s birdwing butterfly, whose wingspan can reach 30cm (1ft) is endangered in New Guinea. The larger female has black & cream patches & a yellow abdomen, & the male, a third smaller is quite differently coloured in gold, green, turquoise & black. Birdwings are farmed by New Guinea laborers to supplement their incomes, although it is illegal to smuggle them out of New Guinea.
The African Goliath beetle which feeds on tree sap & fruit is the largest insect in the world. Males can measure 60-110millimetres(2.4-4.3 in) & females 50-80 millimetres (2.0-3.1 in).
The Egyptian scarab beetle symbolizing regeneration & rebirth often appears in designs on amulets, rings & cartouche pendants.
Narwhals are related to bottlenose dolphins, belugas & orcas. A Narwhal front tusk or tooth, several feet long, was displayed in a glass cabinet. It’s the male that sprouts this continually growing tooth. The 2nd tooth is about 30cm(1ft) long & remains embedded in the skull. These “Unicorns of the Sea” with black & white mottled skin, who live in the Arctic Circle in Northern Canada & Greenland unfortunately are decreasing in numbers.
I popped into the Gibsons Public Art Gallery, along Marine Drive, to see the Art Exhibit of Children 3-16.
Nearby was the Zócalo dress store that has high-end fashions & interesting hand-painted plasticized handbags.
The Landing Gallery owned & operated by the Sunshine Coast Artists Co. provides a venue for the vibrant arts community to display & market art.
Adrienne Fox the bubbly owner & “Chief Cook & Bottle Washer” presides over her Home Style Truffles Café at 264 Gower Point Rd. At the counter I chatted with several of her regular soup-loving & Caesar salad clients while Adrienne was baking a maple, walnut cheesecake in her solo oven. I wish I could have gone there next day to have a slice! However I did make a good choice with my chai latté & large, warm, traditional cheese scone. .I always check restaurant bathrooms & this bathroom is an exquisite boudoir with flowers painted on the walls, a glass cabinet & a quaint toilet roll stand.
Gibsons, you deserve being named in 2009, “the most livable community under 20,000” in a world-wide competition by the UN International Awards for Livable Communities!