Texada Island for arty sorts
Texada Island stretches for 50 kilometres (31 miles), jutting steeply out of Georgia Strait and dominating the seaward views along much of BC’s Sunshine Coast.
So if this beautifully dramatic island is the largest in Georgia Strait, and seems to always be in your face, blocking views of most anywhere else, why does it sometimes seem that no one has ever actually been there?
It might be because it’s hard to get to, requiring three ferries from Vancouver city and two from Vancouver Island. As well, other than Sturt and Blubber Bays at the north end of the island and Anderson Bay in the south, there are not many sheltered anchorages along the island’s long coastline.
Of course, and this is part of its charm, once you arrive by ferry or by private boat, there are not many facilities and services for tourists or mariners.
Texada’s reputation is both gritty and silly, known for its past when mines and logging companies were about the only employers as well as a commonly voiced view that many of the 1,200 full-time residents are hermits or hillbillies. Before first visiting the island, I was jokingly warned to avoid the locals. Thankfully, we ignored the advice.
Truth is many of the people who live there are artists, writers and other creatives, and passing along this message is the whole point of the Texada Artist Studio Tour, Aug 13-14.
More than a dozen artists, most situated in the main centres of Van Anda and Gillies Bay, open their studios to visitors for the annual free tour.
There are painters, sculptors and those who work with stained glass. There is even a retired naval architect, Bill Kristofferson, who has a measure of renown for carving wooden statues with a chainsaw.
Some studios are in Van Anda, an easy walk from Sturt Bay, where most visiting cruisers will be anchored or tied at the Texada Boat Club, a friendly, well-kept marina with basic services.
For boaters who want to take in studios at Gillies Bay, there will be a free shuttle service from Van Anda, arranged by dialing 604-486-0334 or emailing [email protected].
If you have not been to Texada Island, or to the lovely anchorage at Sturt Bay, the studio tour this weekend offers a perfect excuse.
(Sturt Bay is covered in Salish Sea Pilot’s Cruising Guide to Georgia Strait & the Sunshine Coast.)