discover – the sunshine coast | OUTVisions for LGBT Professionals

discover – the sunshine coast

the pacific paradise of BC

discover – the sunshine coast

There’s no need to fly down to the islands, head to another continent or even leave Canada in order to find a little bit of paradise. All you have to do is hop on a ferry and head to British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

This pacific paradise is an outdoor person’s ideal playground, with plenty of scenic hiking trails, water courses to navigate and beautiful scenery to take in. It’s also a perfect place to spend some time exploring quirky waterfront shops, meet the friendly people who live there and embrace an easygoing lifestyle.

While the Sunshine Coast is located on the southern mainland coast of British Columbia, there are no roads connecting it to the rest of the province. Instead, the coastal communities are accessed by a ferry or float/airplane. It gives visitors the feeling of truly visiting somewhere special.

There are plenty of reasons to visit the Sunshine Coast, here are just a few.

Sunshine Coast Trail

Explore Canada’s longest hut-to-hut hiking trail, stretching over 180 kilometres of stunning landscapes that includes coastal shorelines, creeks and lakes, as well as old growth forests and panoramic mountaintops. While the views may make you want to travel the whole trail, there are plenty of access points along the route to allow hikers to explore smaller sections. The trail starts in Desolation Sound at Sarah Point and heads all the way down to Saltery Bay with 12 huts dotted along the way that are available on a “first-come, first-sleep” basis.

Festival Fun

The Sunshine Coast Jazz and Entertainment Society puts on the Gibsons Landing Jazz Festival each June, offering up great local, international and world music during two days of outdoor festivals, workshops and concerts. Pender Harbour Music Society offers a selection of events throughout the year including its September Jazz Festival, August’s Chamber Music Festival, its concert series from October through May and monthly Coffee House sessions. Pender Harbour also plays host to a bluse festival each June. Don’t miss the Synchronicity Festival each August in Gibsons, featuring music art installations, a human jukebox, local food and brews and more.

Powell Forest Canoe Route

What better way to explore the coast than on the water? Travel the renowned canoe route that comprises a semi-circle of eight different lakes and portages, with 48 miles of canoeing and 6.4 miles of portaging. Explore the miles of protected waterways that are bordered by mountains rising dramatically from the ocean. Explore it all in a canoe or by kayak.

Sunshine Coast Pride

Taking place June 26 this year, Sunshine Coast Pride is jam-packed full of fun events geared to a variety of guests like Friday night’s Queer Projections film event and Thursday’s Read Out Loud, the queer literary salon. Saturday includes a party DJ’d by DJ Little d and DJ Steve. There is a great LGBT Community on the Coast, including the women’s group Sappho’s Circle, Sunshine Coast Pride Committee and the Sunshine Coast Gay & Lesbian Association.

Take in the Arts

It’s no surprise that such a picturesque area has inspired so many artists to create. The region boasts more artists, crafters and artisans per capita than almost any other area in Canada. Explore the many galleries and studios dotted throughout the communities on the Sunshine Coast or visit one of the many arts festivals held throughout the year.

Life’s a Beach

Enjoy some of the best beaches in the country, surrounded by natural beauty. Wouldn’t it be nice to swim while gazing up at the mountains? Or take an evening dip while the setting sun paints a canvas on the water? Summer is obviously the best time of the year for those hoping to hit the beaches. However, the beauty truly is present year round.

Hop on a Bike

Head down to Sprockids Mountain Bike Park, the first officially recognized mountain bike skills park in North America. The park features more than 14 kilometres of trails with jumps, downhill, teeter-bars and ramps. The routes loop back to the park’s centre so riders can enjoy many of the trails. The coast offers up hundreds of kilometres of mountain bike trails for riders of all abilities, from cross-country and intense downhills to free ride routes with ladder bridges.

Chatterbox Falls

People travel from all over the world to visit the Princess Louisa Inlet, a magical fjord with upwards of 60 waterfalls cascading down massive granite walls. The inlet is situated near the head of Jervis Inlet and serves as the only true example of fjordland on the Pacific coast. Chatterbox Falls sits at the head of the inlet, tumbling 40 metres., gathering waters from the snowfields and mountain meadows above the inlet, cascading down near the present-day campground below. The 300-metre inlet itself is almost completely enclosed and features mile high cliffs. It’s one of those places you have to see to believe.

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