My Dad and I recently visited Gabriola Island, British Columbia, where my great-grandparents had a homestead 100 years ago.
Our family hasn’t moved very far since then. We all grew up in Nanaimo, just a hop, skip and a 10 minute ferry ride from Gabriola Island.
While some of the waterfront areas on Gabriola have grown a lot since my Dad was a child, he says the middle part of the island looks like nothing has changed. It’s still quiet farmland.
Our mission was to find the piece of land where the homestead was, and we think we did, although there is nothing left of the old buildings now.
While there, we toured around the island a bit and visited Degnen Bay, a lovely anchorage, where I’m sure everyone in my family sought refuge at some point, whether on fishing boat, pleasure boat or kayak.
Then we went over to the other side of the island to visit Malaspina Galleries, a very cool rock formation where you can sit out of the sun and enjoy the view.
This is the view looking out towards Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.
Here’s my Dad playing in the galleries 🙂
I like this photo because we have a photo of my grandmother as a young lady in this very location.
The sandstone is very soft and makes for great texture images!
It was a lot of fun exploring the island and looking for evidence of my ancestors. There were 12 of them, my great-grandparents and their 10 children, but only a few of them are in any of the records in the archives. I’ll have to do some more research and see what else I can find.
In case any of my Gabriola Island friends are curious, the family name is McNeil and the homestead was on North Road. The access to the land today is on McCollum Road. I’d love to hear from you if there’s anyone in your family who remembers the McNeils.
It’s such a peaceful place. I could really see living there one day!