Hornby Island for a Family Vacation

Raised by a single mother and with an older brother that took on his freedom filled life as soon as I was born, I never really had the chance to understand the term “family vacation”. Of course my mom always made sure we would go on road-trips and explore the beautiful corners and cultural gems of the province of Quebec. It was always a memorable mother-daughter vacation, sometimes tagged with our furry friends.

My brother settled in British Columbia 15 years ago where he met his wife and her family. My first solo flight was when I was 15, to go and visit him on the other side of the country. I got really close to this new circle, a reconstructed family of many siblings. Now that my brother and I both live in the province, he on the island, and I in the mountains, we don’t see each other as often as we wish, but I try to commit to once a year since he now has two beautiful blooming boys. So, when my brother and his wife invited me to their annual family vacation on Hornby Island, there was no way I could miss this special reunion.

We left Whistler on Friday afternoon after work. We boarded the 5:20pm ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay. The 1:40min scenic ride through the Gulf Islands was refreshing and relaxing, soothing a long work week.


Once in Nanaimo, we drove north on Highway BC-19A. I had booked a campsite at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, just to make the trip less cumbersome and more enjoyable. Rathtrevor Park is located along the shoreline, in the city of Parksville. The campground is very clean and the sites are large, well-maintained and just few steps from the beach.

In the morning, Juno and I went for a stroll. We traversed the short path to the beach across an old-growth forest. The low tide left us with many treasures to find on the golden sand. I took deep breathes and soaked in the fresh air.


After everything was packed up, we head back on the Oceanside Highway and drove north towards Buckley Bay. We hopped on the ferry towards Denman. Then drove accross the island and took another 10min-ferry onto Hornby.

Hornby Island has a small community of less than 1,000 residents, mostly artists, retirees, bohemians, and any lovers of the remote rural island life. We followed the road that hugged the sandstone shorelines, making our way to the northeast of the island. We arrived at Tribune Bay Campground, where we set up camp. The clouds slowly covered the sky, predicting a heavy rain. We set up a large tarp above our site, making our cozy home for the weekend.


The rain arrived at the same time as my family. We greeted under the protecting trees. We built a shelter from pop-up tents and tarps where we found dry refuge for the afternoon. After dinner we sat around the fire-pit, catching up with the grown-ups while grandma told stories to the kids.

The weather cleared out the next morning and we spent the day at Tribune Bay Beach. The kids played in the waves, leftover from the stormy weather.

In the evening we headed to the Pizza Galore. We sat on blankets on the soft grass in the middle of an orchard. Under an apple tree we opened our bottle of wine and enjoyed delicious homemade pizzas. A live band paired our meals with notes of beautiful music while kids played hide and seek, and others played boardgames under the trees.


The sunbeams scattered the sky. We spent another night around the fire pit, telling stories and playing games. And when the night reached its deep darkness, we took a stroll on the beach. We watched the constellations grace the night as the shooting stars ignited one by one.


We woke up to a stunning sky. The rain evaporated from the heating ground. The kids rushed through breakfast, ready to hit the beach. We headed to Helliwell Beach, located on a headland at the southeast of the island. The sand is white, the beach endless, and the water of a crystal clear blue I have never seen in Canada.


It was a beautiful day skimboarding, kayaking and paddleboarding.

The girls even opened up a sand spa for anyone keen of a natural seaside massage.


It was time for me to head back. I kissed and hugged deeply everyone goodbye. As we drove away, I waived a last farewell to my brother still standing on the beach watching me depart.

The 3 ferries home gave me the time and the space to imprint all those beautiful memories I had made. I thought about my dear mother, who I wished could’ve made the trip from the East. I am so privileged to have the mother and the brother that I have, along with all my consanguinity family. I am also so grateful to be part of this circle of people that I have met at 15 years old, half way through my current life. I hope to many more family vacations.


Whether they are your parents, sibblings, family members, affinities, friends, or whoever with there is a sense of belonging, unconditional love, mutual respect and care, acknowledge who those people are and make time for them, as often as you can. Family is not an important thing. It’s everything. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to call my mother.


Wilderness Pleasures

It is a Monday in early May. A late peaceful afternoon. I am sitting in the boat, parked on its trailer in the driveway of my house, laptop on my thighs. My dog is laying on the bow. I watch cars pass by, kids on their bikes, cats tempting the grass. The air is warm and the smell is beautiful. My other dog attempts to chase a bird that keeps stealing her nuggets in her bowl. I sip on a local apple cider and contemplate life. I am inspired by my surroundings and I type. …Hold on, why am I sitting on the boat on a trailer in the driveway? Why not…


944889_10152816406295721_1665688489_nAs excited wild campers, we went out camping at the lake for the first time of the year 2 weeks ago. It was a cold, windy, gusty, overcast and rainy late April weekend, but who cares? Certainly not me. I am a passionate traveller always striving for new adventures and this is why I chose the Canadian West Coast as my home. British Columbia has all what it needs to satisfy my spirit when I am not on the road overseas. From the mountains to the ocean, from the forests to the lakes, there is never a dull moment for all summer outdoor enthusiasts: ski the glacier, mountain bike down the gnarliest trail, hike to the peak of a mountain, wakeboard the glacier lakes, fish on the ocean, surf on the island, go camping… It is indeed, one of the most beautiful places on Earth.


255669_10152816410760721_1776122002_nWe went out again last weekend, spending 3 days in the wilderness. The sun was hot, the water was a mirror. It was a premature summer weekend offering us a very revitalizing lake to freshen up between our sessions of Vitamin E. The weather was unusual for this time of the year, but much needed and very much enjoyed. The calm water was inviting. I strapped the wakeboard under my feet and carved my turns along the wave. I looked up high and felt the sun on my face. I looked around and admired the views of 9000′ mountain peaks reflecting perfectly on the pristine water. There is no where else I’d rather glide.


946332_10152816408080721_560272956_nAnderson Lake is a recreational paradise located 1 hour north of Whistler. As religious campers, we make it our destination weekly, rain or shine. This weekend, our 3rd camping trip, had rain in the forecast. So we brought extra tarps and rain jackets.The spot we regularly attend to is a place we found a few years ago and decided to make our home. The boys built a rock wall and a fireplace, flatted some spots to put the tents, attached anchors for the boats, even created a landscape around to make it cozy. There is an outdoor ”kitchen”, an outdoor ” living room”, and room for 10 ”bedrooms”. Oh and the outdoor ”bathroom” is definitely the best seat in the house! It is a home, far away from home, far away from televisions and cellphones, where one connects to the other, where soul meets nature. If you want to look for adventure, there are a few waterfalls to hike to and enjoy the view. If you feel more like a rural exploration, you can boat to the village nearby and walk to the only pub in town. Seton Portage is a historic rural community located at the north of Anderson Lake. A few orchards, small farms, one pub. Indulge on a homemade poutine, sip on a bevy and play a game of pool or darts. Get some supplies if needed.


Of course, like everything else, camping is not an activity that everyone enjoys, however, you need to try it before refusing the offer. Myself, I like to get dirty and wash off in a cold lake, I like to fish for dinner, I like to share stories by a bonfire, I like to fall asleep under the stars, I like to wake up to the chanting of the birds, I like to peacefully admire the mountains reflecting symmetrically on the mirror waters, I like to feel the early sun shying behind the trees, I like to sit there for minutes, for hours, for days… Camping for me is a way to splurge into the moment.


Winter surely departed, leaving behind left over snow on the top of our dear rocky mountains. The sun has arrived and is not shy to shine. Sunny bright days and a glorious forecast to stay, might be the joy for all dreaming about summer glow and a sun-kissed tan. I am looking forward to biking the trails with the dogs, cruising the highway along the mountains window down, wind in the hair, or to go canoeing down a river with friends, but most of all, I am looking forward for the next retreat in the wilderness and escape the hustle and bustle of my little town.


If you ever feel stressed, tired or simply out of energy, consider a camping getaway. Connecting with nature will re-boost yourself and revitalize your senses. It might be all you need: a cure found in our beloved nature.