Brickyard Hill

This long hill on South Road takes you over  Gabriola’s ridge, past Wharf Road and down to Brickyard Beach, where South meets Ferne Road.  The name came from the old brickyard that operated at the bottom of the hill and was a busy place in the first half of the 1900’s.  It  eventually ran out of material and a market for the bricks. The history of the brickyard has been recorded by more than one student of Gabriola history, and old photos show some of our early residents at work there.   When a  huge cement company bought out the company that owned the old brick factory, they got all the land with it.    It had no real value to them and eventually it fell into the hands of a former company exec, who was given the land as a retirement bonus of sorts.   He held if for a while but has since sold most of it in bits and pieces.

One interesting tale about the thousands of discarded bricks that were left in the area after the brickyard closed, involves an enterprising young Gabriola roofer- Steve - who saw an opportunity.    He paid locals cash for any and all the bricks they could bring him, and many ‘under-employed’  islanders  took him up on it.  They gleaned thousands of discarded bricks from the area around brickyard beach, and  Steve stockpiled them and sold them to the local builders and bricklayers  for a profit.    Many homes on the island (including Steve’s) feature reclaimed bricks from  the old brickyard in their fireplaces and hearths.

looking up brickyard from near wharf rd

Cyclists may second guess their choice of direction when they look up this hill.

Cyclists know the hill as a challenge to ride, and it is always discussed when debating the best direction to go when riding around the island. Many feel it is easier to go up ‘brickyard’ and get the climb over with (relatively)quickly, rather than the long hill from the Maples up to the south end fire hall. Try it both ways and see for yourself.

About The Author

Gabriolore

Long-time Gabriola Island resident over 21 years of age.

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06 2010

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