If the pace and pressures of modern life are not to your liking, or if you just want to experience a lifestyle that works in complete harmony with Nature, then Lasqueti Island might be the ideal place for you.
Administered by the Islands Trust, which was created by the Province of British Columbia in 1974 to preserve the special nature of the islands in the southern Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound, Lasqueti Island is known for the laid back and low impact focus of its residents. In many ways a trip to Lasqueti is like a journey back in time, as the only regular sea-link to the island is by a passenger-only ferry – no cars are carried by the Centurion VII, a 70 gross ton, 60 passenger vessel constructed in 1985.
Operated by Western Pacific Marine under contract from BC Ferries, the Centurion VII runs from its terminal at French Creek Harbour (just north of Parksville) to False Bay on Lasqueti Island where visitors will find the Island’s only hotel, pub and restaurant. Pay parking for cars is available at the French Creek marina, with the trip taking up to an hour to complete, depending on the state of the sea.
Approximately 19 kilometers (12 miles) long and nearly five kilometers (three miles) wide, Lasqueti Island covers an area of 6,645 hectares (16,420 acres). This area increases to 7,358 hectares when the more than 20 other neighboring islands are factored into its dimensions, the largest of which include nearby Jedediah, Jenkins, and Sangster Islands.
The island received its Spanish-themed name in 1791, thanks to the explorations of the region that nation was carrying out at the time. A Spanish Naval officer, José María Narváez, who at the time was serving as the commander of the 42 foot schooner Santa Saturnina, was the first European to reach the island. He named his new discovery after Juan Maria Lasqueti who was a well-known Spanish naval officer.
The term “off the grid” definitely describes life on Lasqueti Island. The island lacks paved roads, has no public transportation and is not serviced by BC Hydro. The island’s nearly 400 residents (according to the 2016 Census) have elected to either live without electricity at all, or have invested in alternate power sources, primarily generators, solar power or in some cases micro-hydro. The Lasqueti Island Hotel for example shuts off its generator at 11:30 each evening, allowing its guests to better enjoy the peace and serenity the island is famous for.
The residents in many cases live a quiet ‘back to the land’ type of lifestyle, as there is little in the way of industry or business on the island. Small scale subsistence farming provides for much of their needs, with trips to Vancouver Island looking after the rest. Get away cabins, and retirees seeking a slower pace make up much of the remaining full time population. The resident population had actually dropped by four percent between the 2011 and 2016 Census, as people moved on to other adventures.
For somewhere different, for a region operating at a slower more Natural pace, there are few destinations more idyllic than Lasqueti Island. Why not check it out for yourself?