The Roberts Creek Mandala Project is an amazing undertaking having evolved from a humble creation of five friends who came together one weekend to paint over some negative graffiti. Eighteen years later it has become a week long community event, bringing together over 500 painters.
The overall design is laid down in white latex paint by the mandala’s crew of organizers and then the community gathers to paint a specific “canvas” and share their artistic vision.
Paint, brushes, and all other necessary implements are supplied and creativity is encouraged in this sacred space of focused intention. Children of all ages bring the Mandala back to life each summer.
There was definitely a festive mood when I visited the mandala a few years back. It was the final day of painting and the sun was shining brightly, music filled the air and several vendors had set up booths. Later that day there would be a celebration with more music and dancing.
You can find the mandala at the foot of Roberts Creek Road, at Chak Chak Point overlooking the gentle waters of Roberts Creek as they flow into the beautiful Salish Sea.
Most of us remember our first car – mine was a ’51 Chev, which I bought for a hundred hard-earned bucks. I worked part time pumping gas and the mechanics in the back were always pretty good about helping me to keep it running. I learned a lot about fixing cars.
1951 Pontiac Chiefton – not much difference between Pontiacs and Chevs back in the day
A few years later, after working all summer in a remote fishing cannery, I came home with enough money in my pocket to pay for my next year of university, and became the proud owner of a 1961 Chev Impala Hardtop. It was sky blue and I’ve got lots of great memories of driving around in that beautiful car.
1961 Chev Impala lots of memories in this baby
The Festival of the Rolling Arts, also known as the Sleepy Hollow Rod Run and Show’n Shine is coming up soon. It’s an all weekend event where we get an opportunity to walk down memory lane, remembering the cars we owned and those we once dreamed of owning.
Old classic cars usually start showing up in our community during the week, and on Friday the Rod Run rolls out at 6:15pm. Last year’s run had 416 classic cars winding their way for 30km, through 3-4000 spectators, lining the highway on both sides from Sechelt to Halfmoon Bay and then along Redrooffs Road.
The drivers are always amazed at their warm welcome from the enthusiastic cheering crowds. They make signs, dress in costumes and place couches/ lawn chairs in their driveways, with a number of barbecues and house parties in full swing. I’ll be gathering on Redrooffs Road, just before the Halfmoon Bay Fire Hall, where I’ll watch and party with my my son’s in-law’s. One year my two sons from Vancouver jumped in at the head of the parade in their old vintage motorcycles.
Next morning, in downtown Sechelt, the main street is blocked off and lined with cars parked on both sides, stretching for several blocks. This is definitely a walk down memory lane, where you get a chance to have a closer look at these beautifully restored cars. Check out this great video by local blogger Duane Burnett
and here’s a sampling of some of our local entries:
1929 Model A Ford
1932 Ford Phaeton
1930 Model A Sport Coup
1967 GTO – one of the first muscle-cars
If you haven’t seen this show then you’re in for a real treat, and if you can’t make it this year be sure to mark your calendar for next year’s event – it’s always the second weekend in August – and that’s always a great time to visit the Sunshine Coast.
Follow this link to return to Coracle Cove Waterfront Suite
The shíshálh have lived on the Sunshine Coast for millennia, benefiting from the rich resources of the sea and the rain-forest, while enhancing their wealth through strategic marriages to foster peace, goodwill and trade. With a population exceeding 25,000, their vast territory extended from Princess Louisa Inlet through the waters of Sechelt Inlet to their present community chálich (outside waters)
First Nations – Pulling Together
The shíshálh were semi-nomadic, travelling between their summer and winter camps, in large canoes much larger than the war canoe pictured above. A journey of over 100 miles would involve many days of hard paddling. During the winter months the clans would gather at chálich where they would celebrate large potlatches, often lasting several weeks and sometimes months, as a means of enhancing their strategic relationships.
Talaysay Tours and Sunshine Coast Tours, have joined together to offer the Sechelt Inlet Cultural Tour, providing visitors with an wonderful opportunity to learn more about the shíshálh culture and to explore this ancient waterway. Our tour began with a traditional song of ?imash (welcome) sung in a rich baritone voice by drummer Andy Johnson.
Shortly after leaving the Government Dock in Porpoise Bay, we passed by a small island, a site of significant religious significance to the shíshálh which our guide, Candace Campo, was able to share further with us.
We soon passed out of the settled areas of Sechelt, enjoying the immense beauty of Sechelt Inlet. We stopped again and were treated to another song, the story of a young warrior, inspired by a vision of a two-headed eagle, singing to the elders as they paddled their canoes toward chálich.
Candace shared stories of her own childhood, growing up on the shores of Sechelt Inlet, saying “when the tide is out, the table is set,” a reference to the rich marine life available for their food supply. She described how as a child she would be sent out with potato sacks to gather shell fish for the evening meal. As she and her brothers passed other families, they would share which areas had just been harvested to ensure that the habitat was properly managed.
With a keen eye for location, we were treated to a rare sighting of ancient pictographs, like this one, which is actually just around the corner from where I live. I’ve paddled past this cliff face more times than I can remember, without noticing this rock painting which has been there for centuries.
And here’s another one, much more intricate, and hidden to all, except those who know just where to look.
The shíshálh are currently collaborating with the Canadian Museum of Civilization and the University of Toronto to unearth the long-term history of their land. To date, the earliest artifacts recovered date from between 8,000-11,000 years with well over 600 archaeological sites to be carefully unearthed.
It is obvious that will be many more chapters to be told in this rich cultural history and the Sechelt Inlet Cultural Tour is a good place to begin. The tour is offered daily 2:30-4:30 and leaves from the Porpoise Bay Government Dock.
Any festival that’s been happening year after year for over 30 years has obviously found the right formula for success. The Sunshine CoastFestival of the Written Arts has been described as “Canada’s longest running summer gathering of Canadian writers and readers.
This year is the 32nd anniversary and another full slate of outstanding Canadian writing talent will be here to talk about their books. If you like reading, then the festival is a great place to hear about new work from your favourite authors, but it’s also a great introduction to others whose names are less familiar and a few about whom you know absolutely nothing.
In fact, in previous years’ festivals some of the new names have often been the best presenters and “in some instances, the hands down biggest hit of the Festival.”
The Festival takes place this summer over a four-day weekend, August 13-16. Jane Urquhart and Camilla Gibb are featured speakers this year and you can check out the full program at http://www.writersfestival.ca/
Does this incredible weather have you thinking about summer plans? Whether it’s a weekend getaway, or a full week of sheer bliss, there’s something on the Sunshine Coast for everyone, and every day. Here’s 15 great ideas to help with your summer planning and five more if you read through to the end of this blog.
There’s over 100 km of coastline, including Georgia Strait, Sechelt Inlet, and its two inlets. The views are great, they never end, and the water is waiting to be explored.
It’s easy to get out on the water with a guided boat tour. Mermaid Tours offers daily tours of Sechelt Inlet and can pick you up right at our dock.
Sechelt Inlet has it all – fantastic scenery with lots of wildlife, both in the water and on the shoreline, and kayaking is a great way to see it all. If you’ve never tried kayaking before, the protected waters of Sechelt Inlet inlet are the perfect place to get started. Pedals & Paddles have been doing this for over 15 years. They’ll set up with a dryland lesson and all the necessary safety gear, before you even get into the water. Give it a try!!
If armchair kayaking is more your style, and you want a good walk in the woods, then pay a visit to Skookumchuck Rapids. It’s rated one of the fastest tidal currents in the world and that’s an irresistible magnet to white water paddlers. The courage and skill of these kamikaze kayakers, as they try to stay atop the perfect wave, is pretty impressive.
The sand castle competition at Davis Bay produces some incredible sand creations every summer. But you don’t have to wait for this once a year event. Every day, when the tide goes out, a huge canvas of sand is waiting to channel your inner Michelangelo.
The Sunshine Coast is truely one of the most beautiful places on earth, with vast forested areas, networked with an endless choice of interesting trails, just waiting to be explored. Here’s a list of our favourites.
If you like chasing after a little white ball, on a well manicured grassland, you have a choice of three well established courses surrounded by beautiful forested areas.
Summer offers a great line-up of Music festivals. There’s nothing finer than listening to a jazz quartet playing in front of a scenic ocean back-drop. The Gibsons Jazz Festival is coming up soon.
If you’re looking to de-stress or just want to treat yourself, perhaps a spa day is just what you need. Book a massage or pedicure at the Painted Boat Spa and luxuriate in the therapeutic waters and heat therapies of their outdoor Spa Garden.
The Sunshine Coast has a well deserved reputation for nurturing health and well being. Compliment your getaway with a morning yoga class, and then choose either an invigorating hike on one of our fabulous rain forest trails, or a relaxing stroll along the beach.
The Sunshine Coast Festival of the Written Arts is the longest running summer gathering of Canadian authors and readers. The Festival brings together established literary stars and exciting, new voices, in a the beautiful outdoor venue, providing opportunities for writers and readers to mingle and share ideas.
The Festival of the Rolling Arts, also known as the Sleepy Hollow Rod Run and Show’n Shine is an all weekend event where we get an opportunity to walk down memory lane, remembering the cars we owned and those cars we once dreamed of owning.
The Roberts Creek Mandala Project is an amazing undertaking. It first started when five friends came together one weekend to paint over some negative graffiti. Fifteen years later it has become a week long community event, bringing together over 500 painters, who come to paint a signature image in the mandala
Persephone’s 11-acre farm-based brewery not only prides itself on fresh beer, but in a short time has also won several awards, putting it on everyone’s list of craft beers to try. My favourite is the Golden Goddess.
The Sechelt Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market is the largest on the Sunshine Coast, taking place every Saturday morning, and it’s a very popular venue for locals and visitors alike. It’s always inspiring to find locally grown ingredients, picked that morning, to plan your evening meal.
It doesn’t get much better than this – dining on the deck on a beautiful sunny day at the Lighthouse Marine Pub. It’s one of my favourite places to go and I readily recommend my guests enjoy at least one meal on this gorgeous patio.
Photographers often speak of a magic light that happens just after the sun goes down. With the large expanses of water on the Sunshine Coast, we enjoy a big, wide-open sky, and never tire of the magic.
here’s an extra bonus – 5 more things to do if you’re staying at Coracle Cove. We’ve noticed that a lot of our guests don’t want to leave once they’ve arrived. It’s relaxing, the view is pretty awesome, and you get very comfortable. So, if you’re staying at Coracle Cove here’s five more things you might enjoy this summer on the Sunshine Coast
Facing south, we enjoy the sun first thing in the morning and all through the day. The covered deck is a great place to start the day, especially with your favourite morning beverage.
There’s a second, larger deck that literally hangs over the water, providing a great place to do some relaxing summer reading, just as long as you don’t mind the occasional interruption of a passing boat or three.
There’s lots of marine life under our dock, so you’re usually guaranteed to get a nibble or two. It’s a great experience for kids to catch their first fish… now who’s going to put that worm on the hook?
Choosing between Adirondak chairs on the dock and the hot tub on the waterside deck may be the toughest decision you’ll make all day.
Then again, who says you have to decide – you can do both!!
Summer will be here soon, so start dreaming about your magical moments on the Sunshine Coast.
Watch this video and then come back to our website for more ideas and available dates at Coracle Cove www.coraclecove.com
If you’re driving up the Coast to Pender Harbour you may have a bit of trouble finding it. It’s actually a collection of small communities, who happen to share a body of water, called Pender Harbour. Still confused… this map may help.
That’s Garden Bay near the top of the map and Madeira Park directly below. But there’s much more to Pender Harbour than these two “urban centres.” Communities came to be known by their pioneer families, like Irvine’s Landing, Duncan’s Cove and Dusenbury Island Even Madeira Park was named after the homeland of Portuguese Joe, one of the major players during the early pioneering years. There’s a rich history here waiting to be told and we were looking forward to hearing some of these stories.
Our first stop is Portuguese’s Joe’s home town, Madeira Park. It was quite the busy place a hundred years ago, and still is… relatively speaking. But it’s not that big and right behind the old community hall you’ll find the best burger on the Coast, and if you time it right, you’ll be able to try one. It doesn’t look like much, but trust me, I’ve eaten there a few times myself, and always find lots of excuses to go back. Order the Sunshine Coast Burger – fried onions & mushrooms, real cheddar cheese, melted and a hand made, all-beef patty, grilled just perfectly – like burgers used to be before McDonald’s turned them into something else.
Newcomers to the Coast often joke about how slow things are on the Sunshine Coast. We actually call it coastal time… but folks from the Harbour have taken it to a new level. So get like the locals and slow down, relax and enjoy your burger.
Next stop is the Government Dock where the SloCat is moored. We recently went out on one of their tours and it was great. Captain Mark had a lot of stories to share about the area, and he’s pretty entertaining to boot. SloCat offers three scheduled tours a day – 11:00, 1:00 & 3:00, as well as a sunset tour during the summer. So pick a time and then build your burger fix around it.
Back in the day, before the roads were built, it was much easier to get where you wanted to go by boat, and that’s why Pender Harbour is often referred to as “Venice of the North.” Captain Mark shared with us the early, early history of the area, when over 5000 of the shishalh Nation occupied the area as one of their winter camps.
The Europeans didn’t arrive in numbers until about 1880, attracted by fishing and logging. The fishermen built their shelters as close to their boats as possible, often up on stilts, and hanging precariously over the water. More fishermen were drawn to the area, encouraged by the bounty of the sea and returning to port with a boat full of fish was cause for celebration. Whiskey was the choice of many and soon the area came to be known as Whiskey Slough for all of the empty bottles floating in the small bay.
Today, many of these shelters have been fixed up and converted into beautiful homes. Perched just over the water they are the ultimate waterfront home.
That’s Mount Daniel in the background and it’s a moderate hike to the top where you’ll see the most amazing view. Mount Daniel was an important location for the shishalh, who stationed lookouts on top to guard their territory. It was also a spiritual place where young maidens would be cloistered for puberty rituals and there is still evidence of moonstone circles.
There was a boardwalk over on Garden Bay, used by locals to get to the hospital which was built in 1930. Later the the Hospital was moved to Sechelt, but the original building still stands and is a gallery with one of the largest collections of Sunshine Coast artists.
Along with derelict boardwalks, there are many other images of the past… an old tug boat abandoned and washed up on the shore.
We did a complete circle around the Harbour, going right outside the entrance. We could see Texada Island as well as Vancouver Island in the distant background.
90 minutes on the water for only $35 is a real bargain, especially when you throw in the entertainment. Captain Mark has a background in radio, he’s an active musician and a great story teller. He kept us well entertained with his stories – a healthy mix of interesting information about the area, together with lots of juicy gossip about some of the personalities, both past and present.
Once back on shore, we made a final stop before heading home. The Copper Sky Cafe and Gallery is another option for lunch, where you can enjoy a hearty bowl of soup, a good selection of paninis, or a pastry to go with your cappuccino. Having just had my burger fix, I was looking for the latter and passed on the pastry. But for me, there’s always another day to visit the Harbour so it wasn’t such a hardship. And while you’re waiting for your order, be sure to visit the gallery, which always features a good selection of art from some of the local artists.
Finding a good plate of fish & chips on the Sunshine Coast is relatively easy, but I’m searching for something great and that narrows the options. So how do I define great?
The quality of the cooked fish and fries are obvious, but the ambience of the location, and then the price should be considered when choosing where to satisfy that elusive craving.
Lower Gibsons, originally a fishing settlement, has three places worthy of consideration. Molly’s Reach, the iconic cafe of Beachcomber’s fame, has the show piece location, together with outside tables offering a great view looking over Gibsons Harbour.
$14 gets you a 1-piece halibut and chips with a small side of coleslaw and tartar sauce. They are also licensed, offering a good selection of brews and beverages to accompany your meal.
Smitty’s Oyster House is just down a flight of metal stairs from Molly’s. Outdoor seating is communal on a long wooden plank table that is literally just a few feet from the salty brine, scoring greatness for the location factor.
For $17 you get a definite step up on your plate – tempura battered halibut pieces with a malt vinegar reduction and yam frites… yumm!! They’re also licensed, offering a selection of craft brews and wine. The added bonus is their menu of other seafood dishes and as somebody said to me “why just limit yourself to fish and chips?”
Codfather’s is just around the corner, along a busy little street with several small cafes and gift shops. Fish & chips have been served at this location for 58 years. Codfather’s has a loyal following and are always busy, with seating limited to a few tables set out on the sidewalk.
$14.95 gets you a plate filled with more fries than you can eat and a meaty piece of ling cod. The dish came with a freshly prepared cole slaw and a most interesting tartar aoli.
Locals in the know have long headed to Sharkey’s for their favourite dish. Tucked away in upper Roberts Creek, it can be hard to find. If you’re coming from Gibsons, turn right at the traffic light and watch for this small sign on your left. It’s take-out only so the location factor suffers. However, there are two wondrous waterfront locations within a short five minute drive – Roberts Creek beach and the Davis Bay Seawall. Bring your own beverage of choice, find a big, bleached log to sit on, and enjoy your meal. It’s the most splendid location ever.
Just $6 will get you all this – 4 oz of chipped cod, lightly battered and cooked to perfection, plus the piece de resistance, a side of chips, “twice cooked,” as they were meant to be. The cole slaw is fresh and the tartar sauce, tangy. These are the greatest of the great.
Further down the highway, at Davis Bay, where the road runs along beside the ocean, is the latest entry into the competition. Lighthouse on Location has re-appeared under new management. This location, along the popular seawall is absolutely outstanding, especially at low tide which exposes a large sand bar.
$8 gets you a small plate of fish and chips, strait-up with no cole slaw or tartar. They’ve just opened up so I’d give them a few weeks to work out their menu. They do offer other choices, so if you’re already at the beach, you may want to give them a try.
The Lighthouse Pub in Sechelt gets top location marks for its large outdoor deck and amazing views looking up Sechelt Inlet. You’ll be entertained by the parade of colourful boats and float planes coming and going in the busy little marina.
$13.75 gets you a delectable plate of craft beer battered halibut, galley fries and a generous serving of slaw. It’s a licensed pub so you also get a full choice of beverages, including a few tasty local craft beers.
I live in Sechelt, so the Lighthouse is my #1 choice, especially if I want to have a couple of pints. But if I’m in Gibsons, I’ll choose Smitty’s for their unique presentation. Then again, if I’m on the road and I’m not too fussy about location, then it’s Sharkey’s, hands down!!
I’m sure I’ve left out other favourites so please feel free to add your comments and let’s get a dialogue happening. The whole purpose of this blog is to give visitors and locals a bit of insider information on where to find great fish & chips on the Sunshine Coast.
It had been several years since I last walked the Brookman Park trails, but I had a little extra time on my hands and what better way to get some exercise and take a few pictures. Besides, I wanted to see if I could spot any of the hidden gnomes I’d heard about.
If you’re coming from Sechelt, the trail is accessed just past the big sandy beach at Davis Bay, and just before the bridge. It follows along beside Chapman Creek.
You’re never too far from the creek and soon after I had started, the sounds of traffic were replaced by flowing water and the plaintiff call of a Swainsons Thrush hiding somewhere in the brush.
The trail is well maintained with this footbridge recently built over a perennial wet spot in the trail.
I was on the look-out for gnomes and was soon rewarded with this pair carved into the aged stump of an old growth cedar.
…and then, just as quickly, another appeared right in front of me. These stately faces were carved several years ago by Terry Chapman, using a chainsaw. Terry started carving at a very young age, making boats and figures from bark found along the riverbanks of the Fraser River. He now lives in Ladysmith where he has his own gallery.
I had heard that there were several gnomes along the trail, as many as seventeen. Some are quite obvious and others… well, they’re gnomes so you have to keep your eyes open… and sure enough I was rewarded with another pair, hidden a little further off the trail.
My time was running out and finally I had to turn back. I’d had a great walk through the woods, took a few pictures and had spotted a few gnomes. All in all, not a bad outing. My gnome count for the day – six, but I’ll be heading back to see if I can spot a few more.
It doesn’t get much better than this – dining on the deck on a beautiful sunny day at the Lighthouse. It’s one of my favourite places to go and I definitely speak from experience when I recommend my guests to have at least one meal at the Lighthouse.
It’s casual dining, and the place to be is on the deck, where you can watch all of the action. Porpoise Bay is a busy waterway with small work boats coming and going and float planes landing and taking off throughout the day.
…there’s all sorts of things passing in and out of this amazing vista. The view is constantly changing, keeping you entertained while relaxing on the waterfront deck
Even when it’s a cloudy, misty day, your table is protectively tucked under the retractable roof and you’re still able to enjoy the ever-changing view. And if it’s one of those “rare” west coast rainy days you can move inside and sit beside the warm fireplace.
The Lighthouse is all about enjoying one of the most amazing views on the Sunshine Coast and their expansive outside deck has plenty of seating.
They’ve got a good selection of brews on tap, including some great craft beers. My favourite… Total Eclipse of the Hop, a strong IPA brewed with six varieties of hops, produced by nearby Howe Sound Brewing. If you like a beer with some character, then I would recommend giving this one a try.
Yesterday’s special was the Warm Seafood Salad and as you can see the serving was extremely generous, with fresh prawns, mussels, salmon and whitefish served over a bed of mixed greens. The seafood was cooked perfectly and the dressed mixed greens were fresh and crisp.
Some of my other recommended choices: Seafood Curry Hotpot, Baha Fish Tacos, Braised Lamb Shank, anything with Mussels, and of course their Fish & Chips… and if you’re feeling a bit more carnivorous I’ve heard their Pile Driver is pretty unbelievable.
You can’t get any closer to waterside-dining at the Upper Deck Cafe because you’re actually floating on it. Located in Secret Cove Marina in Halfmoon Bay, they have a well deserved reputation among boaters, many of whom plan their trips around a scheduled overnight mooring in order to sample their fare.
Secret Cove is just a short 25-minute drive from Coracle Cove and we regularly recommend this small intimate restaurant to our guests who are looking for a special dining experience. They were recently reviewed in Flare Magazine’s “Five most romantic little getaways in the world.”
This seasonal restaurant, open from May to September, has been managed for the past few years by a family who alternate their seasons between Secret Cove and Melaque in Mexico where they operate their own restaurant during the winter season. Mother is the genius in the kitchen while her affable son most capably manages the floor.
They offer a limited menu with a fresh sheet for daily specials which allows them to extend a variety of choices over their short season. The tantalizing choices will definitely keep you focussed as you struggle to narrow down your selection. My wife is a self-admitted scallop junky and when we were last here she ordered the sambuca-orange scallops with wild rice and barley.
Fortunately, scallops were on the menu again, this time prepared in a ginger, basil, coconut sauce. Cooking delicate scallops demands impeccable timing to keep them moist and to maintain their briny flavours. They were cooked perfectly and accompanied with julienned pepper, red onion and zucchini sticks, together with Thai curry rice cakes that were just spicy enough to add a counter balancing zing to the palate.
We were on our way home from a Skookumchuk hike where we had watched a group of crazy kayakers surfing in a 15+ knot tidal current. Normally I’m a bit of a carnivore, as evidenced from this image from my previous review: a coffee-crusted tenderloin. It was tender, with a bit of spicy heat and the coffee crust and balsamic reduction a lovely counterpoint.
It was late into the evening, however, so I wanted something a little lighter. The Proscuitto wrapped halibut came with a lemon-caper beurre blanc sauce that was absolutely succulent. Like the scallops, the halibut was cooked perfectly, moist throughout with fresh ocean flavours. As you can see the serving was most generous, coming with a side of mixed greens and a wonderful mushroom risotto, with lovely, little oyster mushrooms.
The food was marvellous, the service efficient and friendly, and the bill quite reasonable – $90 including a generous pouring of wine for each, plus tip. In addition to this fine dining experience we were entertained by boats of all sizes passing by our outside table on the upper deck. Dessert wasn’t necessary, but the colourful sunset was a wonderful finish.