- A Green Island

List Hornby is a spectacularly green island, particularly in the spring when every shade is vibrantly on display. Thanks to a mild climate and to the profusion of salal and sword fern under a canopy of Douglas fir and cedar, the Island remains green year round.

Hornby is also green in another sense. Living surrounded by water makes us very aware of the limits of a small island - and of a small planet. Residents generally strive to leave a modest footprint. We invite you to join us in living lightly on Hornby Island - and have fun while doing it!

Go Slowly


On our small island it is possible to get many key locations on foot using the trail system (see below) - and you don't have to worry about parking.


An increasing number of visitors bring bikes to the Island and park their vehicles most of the time they are on Hornby. If you don't bring a bike, you can rent one from the Hornby Outdoor Sports (located by the Co-op).

Take the trails.

Walking and biking is made even more enjoyable by a network of trails created through countless hours of volunteer effort. Roadside trails connect the Bakery, Community Hall, School and Co-op and can take you most of the way to Helliwell Park. One of the most popular off-road trails connects Ford's Cove (store, marina and art gallery) with Shingle Spit (ferry, pub and restaurant). There are many more trails to discover once you get here.


The ocean provides a wonderful way to experience the Island. Hornby Ocean Kayaks provides rentals and instruction.

Tread Lightly

Experience our recycling centre.

Paying tipping fees and watching our garbage being trucked via two ferries to Vancouver Island has made us very sensitive to creating waste. Recycling is a way of life here. In fact, Hornby's (almost) 30 year-old recycling depot was one of the first in North America. Now we recycle 70% of our waste stream. Our per capita rate of unrecycled waste is less than half the provincial average.

A fun feature is the Free Store where we can leave reusable items - books, clothes, appliances, tools, etc. Some of our most fashionable dressers have scored complete outfits from the free store.

Take shorter showers.

Winter rainfall makes gumboots a standard item of clothing. But come the summer, water is a precious commodity as the dry season coincides with the highest demand for water. We have no surface reservoirs on the Island. Most of our water is pumped from underground aquifers that become increasingly depleted until the winter rains come. (Many people are installing cisterns to hold water collected in the winter.)

We have all come to take a great deal of care in our use of water. Taking a shower on Hornby is briefer and less frequent activity than where there is piped city water. We try to get some extra wear out of our clothes before putting them in the laundry basket. Leaving the tap running, watering the lawn, washing the car - well we just don't go there. Have fun going native. What's a little dirt between friends!

Enjoy local food.

The twice weekly Farmers' Market is a great place to obtain fresh food grown and/or processed on the Island. If you miss the market (Wednesdays and Saturdays) you can buy fresh produce at the farm gate as advertised. Local stores and food outlets also offer local and regional products as much as possible. In addition to fresh fruit and veggies, you can also find locally made bread, coffee, vegetarian pate, pies, jams, wine and mead.

Growing and producing food is a struggle in a market dominated by huge companies. Supporting local producers helps to ensure the diversity and sustainability of our food sources.

Enjoy nature carefully.

"Coastal BC supports the highest concentration of biodiversity in Canada. Rich and varied ecosystems are well represented on Hornby - from dense rainforest to oak meadows rich in wildflowers, to bare rocky areas with cactus. These special areas are home to a number of rare species of both plants and animals.

The marine environment around Hornby includes an amazing range of inhabitants from one of the world's largest concentrations of Harlequin ducks to the mysterious six-gill shark and giant Pacific octopus. The annual herring spawn in early spring is a spectacular occasion, the air filled with sea-birds and the water alive with sea lions.

We are fortunate that most of our sensitive areas are protected in extensive parks. Parks attract many people who want to experience nature. We just have to be careful that we don't love these sensitive areas to death! Erosion from many feet is taking its toll on the fragile soils of Helliwell Park. Experts have helped us define restoration areas - and the local efforts to protect these are resulting in a re-growth of vegetation.

Take only pictures.

The wildflowers are alluring, but we have learned that they should be left in place to provide seeds for future years. We are also learning the importance of keeping the foreshore undisturbed and leaving creatures where they are. (If you see an islander stooping to pick something up, it is likely to be a piece of garbage as we strive to keep our Island as pristine as possible.)

Rather than taking bits of nature back home with us, many Islanders and visitors perpetuate their experience of nature through photography, painting and sketching. The work of many local artists is inspired by the local environment. Such artworks can extend your memory of Hornby when you leave the Island. A number of local artists also provide workshops to help residents and visitors develop their own skills.