In a city where travelling by car is often considered a necessity, Barnston Island is a breath of fresh (exhaust-free) air. This true hidden gem is a haven for those who really yearn to venture off the beaten path. (Bonus points for those who prefer exploring on two wheels!)
Like a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, the Barnston Island Ferry awaits you at the north east end of 104 Avenue. This ‘ferry’ is nothing more than a wooden barge pulled by an adorable tugboat that wouldn’t look out of place in a child’s bathtub. Its capacity of five cars and fifty-two people is modest. Its schedule? Non existent. The little boat runs by demand and the crossing time is a short and sweet five minutes.
One thing you need to know prior to discovering Barnston Island, is that there isn’t any public parking. That’s right. None. Don’t worry, though. A car won’t be necessary! We suggest parking in the gravel lot in front of Surrey Bend Park, and exploring the island by foot or by bike. It won’t take long to travel the quaint island’s 9.8 km perimeter loop.
Barnston Island is rich in agricultural land and Aboriginal history. It’s no surprise, considering that its 150 residents are either members of the laid-back farming community or The Katzie First Nation. The island may be small, but in addition to the forests and fields, it’s home to a number of flourishing businesses such as Painted River Farm, Barnston Island Herbs, Apollo Cranberries and Avalon Dairy. At the northern tip of the Island is Robert Point Regional Park, a picturesque destination and an ideal place to enjoy a picnic.
Officially, the rogue little island belongs to no municipality, although it is tethered to the mainland by underwater cables. And if you look closely at the incoming mail, you’ll notice ‘Surrey, BC’ on many of the envelopes. Sure, this sweet piece of land might not officially belong to us, but we’re happy to pretend it does!
Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @trishyjewison