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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

Explorer Quotient

Authentic Explorer | Cultural Explorer | Cultural History Buff | Free Spirit | Gentle Explorer | No-hassle Traveller | Personal History Explorer | Rejuvenator | Virtual Traveller

 Park staff barbecuing Saturna Island Lamb BBQ
© Parks Canada / Matthew Payne

Cultural Explorer

You seek constant opportunities to embrace, discover, and immerse yourself in the entire experience of the culture, people and settings of the places you visit. Not content to just visit historic sites and watch from the sidelines, you want to participate in the modern-day culture as well. You often attempt to converse with locals, attend local cultural festivals, or go off the beaten track to discover how people truly live.

Welcome to the heart of culture on the west coast. Wherever you go in the Gulf Islands you will meet folks with unique traditions and ways of life– whether they be First Nations, hippies, yuppies or everything in between.

Soak up some easy-going island charm and experience first-hand the distinctive culture and lifestyle of each island. Rub shoulders with the locals, check out the bounty at the Saturday farmers’ market on Saturna and Pender Islands and browse for treasures handcrafted by island artisans.

See for yourself the deep traditional bond between Coast Salish people and the land and the sea. Join a First Nations’ educator throughout the park this summer; enjoy storytelling, singing and drumming and try your hand at wool knitting or cedar bark weaving. First Peoples will regale you with stories about the islands and their personal connection to the area.

For the Cultural Explorer, we suggest…

Get out to sea – How better to experience the Gulf Islands than to relax on a boat captained by a knowledgeable expert? Treat your family to a guided excursion and visit some of the top destinations in the park. You can see eagles, otters, seals and maybe even a whale!

A true Gulf Islands experience – Go to the annual “Saturna Island Lamb BBQ” and celebrate Canada day with islanders at a country- fair-style picnic. Play games, enjoy the entertainment and if you are a carnivore try the lamb with mint sauce (harvested and made on the island)! July 1st at Winter Cove on Saturna Island.

Get away from it all – A peaceful forest trail leads you down onto a beautiful rocky point, surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters and tall echoing cliffs. Take a seat, breathe in the clean forest air and admire your stunning surroundings at Narvaez Bay on Saturna Island.

Natural encounters – Touch a slug, smell a tree, hear the “poof” of a whale and get your feet wet while you discover the plants and animals of the park reserve on a free and fun nature program.