Posts Tagged ‘whalebone’

Whalebone Beach Estates

stoney but beachy

Whalebone's beach is stoney in places, but fun for beachcombers and dog-walkers.


   During the days of the wild west, before the Island’s Trust was created to ‘preserve and protect’ us, the gulf islands were considered ‘unorganized’ and their land use was regulated (or not) by the province of BC.   That meant subdivisions had to have a minimum average lot size of only half an acre – roughly forty paces by seventy-five paces.    To folks from the city,that was plenty of space, and the lots were bought for ‘recreational’ use and for investment.   One of the nicest of these subdivisions was done by the Great National Land company – the parent company of Nanaimo Realty.  They did the ‘Whalebone Beach Estates’ on about 120 acres of land along Gabriola’s north-east coast.    Much of the credit for that development  goes to one of Nanaimo’s most colourful personalities – the late Mayor Frank Ney.

 Frank Ney was a decorated war vet and had a story to tell for everyone he met.   He was the founder of Great National Land and Nanaimo Realty, and when they undertook the development along Gabriola’s north-east shore he was at the helm.     He created a plan that saw nearly every inside lot get frontage on some greenspace or ‘park’ , with plenty of access points.   He even sacrificed some waterfront and water-view land in order to give more lots access to the beach.  Over time, these small greenspace/parks have been maintained in varying degrees, from mown to overgrown, providing space to enjoy or privacy.    The market was much different then, and one could get a lot with a view – and a cabin – for less than $4000.   Thirty dollars a month would carry the payments on an inside lot with a cabin.

    Aside from the physical character and layout of the ‘Whalebone Beach Estates’, Frank Ney gave it some literary roots by naming most of the streets after characters in Melville’s book,  ’Moby Dick’.      Being accessible only by Barrett Road and it’s long run down the side of the ridge,  ’Whalebone’  has evolved into a quiet little island enclave that sees little in the way of traffic and tourists, although savvy islanders know there  are beach accesses and nice walks in the area, and some make the trip down Barrett Hill to enjoy them.

this trail leads to whalebone beach

Follow Barrett straight to Whalebone Beach via this trail



05 2010