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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

2016 Events Calendar


McDonald Campground, Sidney  

  • Smores n’ More – Campfire Program
    Saturdays in July and August, 7–8 pm
    Share the magic of a traditional Canadian campfire with your family. Join an interpreter and guest presenters for songs, park stories, s’mores and more! Bring a flashlight and a mug for hot chocolate. Ideal for families with children 12 and under. Note: we will gather around a propane fire if there is a fire ban.
    *Please park at the adjacent Blue Heron Park and follow the signs to the campground. Meet at the group campfire ring.

  • A Taste of Camping
    Saturday June 18th, 12-4pm (Drop-in)

    Want to spice up your camping skills? Parks Canada, Mountain Equipment Co-op and others will show you how it’s done! Brush up your outdoor skills with fun activities, learn how to cook with everything from tin foil to a Dutch oven, and sample delicious camping food. We’ll be there, rain or shine!
    *Please park at the adjacent Blue Heron Park and follow the signs to the campground.

  • Coast Salish Clam Garden Campfire
    Saturday July 30th and Saturday August 27th, 7-8pm
    Curious about what a Clam Garden is? Similar to caring for a vegetable garden in your backyard, Coast Salish Nations tend beaches to make clams grow better! Join us around the campfire to learn more about clam gardens, our local restoration project, listen to Coast Salish traditional singing and taste clams.

Sidney Island

  • BioBlitz 2016
    Saturday August 13th 12pm - Sunday August 14th 12pm
    Help us find and identify as many different organisms as possible in 24-hours! Work side-by-side with experts and add to the park reserve’s official species list. Two ways to participate: join scientists for drop-in nature activities or become a citizen scientist for the weekend and camp overnight! Also join us to celebrate Coast Salish culture with traditional singing, dancing and clam tasting.

    Registration required:

Saturna Island

  • Sunset Wildlife Watch
    Fridays, July 8 - August 26, 8-9pm, East Point
    Discover the wildlife of the Salish Sea and relax into the peacefulness of an East Point sunset. Dress warmly and bring blankets, chairs and flashlights. Enjoy the talents of island musicians and storytellers. Meet out at the point (5 min. walk).

  • Orca News 2016
    Saturdays, July and August, 2-2:30pm, East Point

    A short, engaging update on the endangered southern resident killer whales. East Point is a prime spot for land-based whale watching, so you may be lucky enough to experience an appearance by the orcas themselves! Bring a blanket or a chair. Meet out at the point (5 min. walk).

  • Drop-in Family Sundays
    Sundays, July and August, 10am- 1pm, Winter Cove

    Dissect a real owl pellet. Make a nature craft. Pick up an Xplorers booklet. Bring along a camera or phone for a self-guided GPS Nature Photographer Adventure (we supply the GPS devices). There’s something for everyone, so drop-in anytime and don’t forget a picnic. Allow one hour to complete an adventure.

  • Saturna Lamb BBQ
    Friday, July 1, 10am–4:30pm

    Winter Cove
    Celebrate Canada Day with islanders at a country fair picnic centered on a traditionally prepared open fire barbequed lamb meal. Play games and win prizes at the Parks Canada booth. Learn traditional skills from our Coast Salish guest. Find more information here:

  • Parks Day – Intertidal Safari
    Saturday, July 16, 1-4 pm, East Point

    What will the divers bring up from the deep? Drop-in and join Parks Canada and the Saturna Island Marine Research and Education Society for fun marine activities. Enjoy free ice-cream courtesy of Saturna Island Parks and Recreation. Tour the Fog Alarm Building with Saturna Island Heritage Committee volunteers.

Self Guided Adventures

Pender, Saturna, Sidney and Vancouver Islands

  • Geocaching
    Year-Round *

    Try one of our geocaching programs and embark on a self-guided adventure to experience the park reserve’s cultural and natural hotspots. Choose from two routes: a family-friendly treasure hunt or a more strenuous quest to see the Top Ten Places in the park reserve. Find more information here: geocaching programs
    *Except for the Sidney Island caches. The island is closed to the public November 1 –February 29. 

  • Trail Guide App
    Check out our new EXPLORA trail app – available now for free on the App Store and Google play. Discover the park reserve in a whole new way with mini quizzes, historic photos and insider info! Routes available for: Sidney Spit, Russell Island, Georgina Point (Mayne Island), Roesland (Pender Island), Winter Cove and Lyall Creek (Saturna Island), McDonald Campground (Sidney) and Portland Island. Find more information here: Download our new trail app 

  • Xplorers
    Are you between the ages of 6 and 11? Do you want to hike, draw pictures, and use your GPS to find mystery locations? Then the Xplorers program is just the right adventure for you! Kids and their families can discover cool facts about the park reserve by completing activities in the Xplorers booklet. Pick up your copy from the Pender Island Museum, the Saturna Fog Alarm Building, the Shaw Ocean Discovery Center or the Park Office in Sidney.

More information on all park programs and events

  • Cost: Free, unless indicated
  • Ages: All ages, unless indicated otherwise
  • Registration: Not required unless indicated otherwise
  • Bring: Water, hat, jacket, sunscreen and appropriate walking gear
  • Meeting place: At the park kiosk/info sign at the location listed, unless otherwise noted
  • To get here: Travel to Sidney Island by Alpine Ferry; travel to Saturna Island by BC Ferries
  • To reserve an activity in French, please contact the park office at 1-866-944-1744