Archive for the ‘marine stuff’Category

‘The Maples’ Dock

“The Maples” is pretty much the southernmost corner of Gabriola, where South Road turns uphill and away from the water and towards the Community Hall. There was a dock there for many years and those from the other islands would dock at ‘The Maples’ and head up South Road to take the Ferry to Nanaimo. The infamous Brother XII was a regular user of the dock when he came to Gabriola on his way to Nanaimo to get provisions for his cult/farm on DeCourcey Island.

site of historic public dock now private

'The Maples' public dock is a memory now, but the site remains - now owned privately.

Things have changed and public access to the old  ‘maples’ dock site is difficult – partly due to the efforts of a neighbour, who has chosen to install a private dock and discourage any local use of the foreshore.  It is a great example of how local treasures are lost through a combination of ignorance, inaction, apathy, and bureaucracy.    For the determined beach lover, there is a public  ’beach access’ at the end of Shaw Road that can get you to the water.   It may not LOOK like a public access, but it is – right there where the yellow cement marker points to the sea.   It’s a bit of a scramble down and up the bank, but there is a knotted rope there to help.  It will take you to a nice bit of southern waterfront where you get a good look at the site of ‘the Maples’ dock.   The photo above was taken there, from the rocks at low tide.


05 2010

Silva Bay



This shot of Silva Bay was taken from Westgyle Rd.

    In the 1860’s recent Portuguese immigrant John Silva relocated from Mayne Island to Gabriola and purchased a parcel of land that included what is now known as Silva Bay. It is about the only place-name on Gabriola that reflects the arrival of the many Portuguese people who settled on the B.C. coast. It was John Silva who donated the land for the log church in Silva Bay. 

   According to the late Jim Davis, a long-time resident of the bay, Silva paid a whopping $1500 for the 75 acres that included the bay. That was a lot of money in the 1800’s.   It wouldn’t pay his taxes today.  

   A descendant of John Silva (Henry) lived at the head of the bay for years in the pink house that still stands (barely) today.  

   In early 30′s, according to Annie Watson, a long time resident of the bay, there was an abundance of large  black and white rabbits in and around Silva Bay.    There origin is uncertain, but they thrived there - until the depression.   Times were tough, and they pretty much disappeared after that – most likely ending up in rabbit stew.    

    For many years, the ‘Boatel’ was a fixture in the bay, with Audrey and Leo LeLoupe trying to make a go of it.  Leo had one of the best selections of fishing lures on the coast.    Their little store was a place to hang out for a cup of tea with Leo and get caught up on the local gossip.   The prices were a little steep and the merchandise a little old, but the view was great.  

   Of course there is plenty of history in the shipyard, where work was done during the war.  Although Pages Marina, across the bay, is a consistent and peaceful place, the large marina goes up and down with the tide.   Each change of owner over the years has brought a different flavour to the place.    At one time it had a small hotel and made an attempt at running a spa of sorts, but a fire and another ownership change left it vacant and run down.    It is usually a busy place in the summer – despite the management.  The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club has an outstation across the bay, and being the closest sheltered moorage this side of the Salish Sea from Vancouver, the whole bay is usually crowded with boats every summer weekend.    Fortunately many of them wear white pants and are easy to spot as they wander ashore and toddle up and down South Road. 

 Some local wags still refer to the marina as ‘saliva bay’ or ‘spit bay’ marina for no other reason than it is irreverent and worth a chuckle.  It is even more of a chuckle that – in the aviation world Silva Bay has an ‘airport’ code – SYF. Stick that on your baggage!



03 2010