Gibsons is a growing coastal community located in southwestern British Columbia, Canada on the Strait of Georgia. Gibsons is 64 kilometres north of Vancouver, in the area known as British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. The community is accessible by ferry from Vancouver and by air. Gibsons is divided into three regions: (1) the Town of Gibsons; (2) Elphinstone (Sunshine Coast Regional District Area E including Gower Point); and (3) West Howe Sound (Sunshine Coast Regional District Area F including Port Mellon, Williamsons Landing, Langdale, Hopkins Landing and Granthams Landing).
Gibsons has many nearby public beaches: Armours Beach, Georgia Beach, Pebbles Beach, Ocean Beach Esplanade and Chaster Provincial Park. There are three major habitat areas around Gibsons, namely, Woodland, Streamside and Coastal Waterfront. Each area supports a variety of unique animal and plant species. Natural vegetation includes coniferous forest (Western red cedar, Western hemlock, Douglas fir), deciduous trees (broadleaf maple, red alder and Western flowering dogwood) and mixed ground cover (salal, vine maple, Oregon grape and salmon berry). Pine and arbutus thrive along the rocky shoreline and in exposed bedrock areas. Coastal blacktail deer, Douglas squirrels, bush rabbits and raccoon populate the area. Marine mammals are in abundance: harbour seals, Stellar sea lions, and killer whales (orcas) and other whale species and dolphins. Pacific salmon also abound the waters off Gibsons, especially chum and coho salmon, cutthroat trout and mussels, oysters and clams. Woodland birds include black-capped chickadee, pileated woodpecker, ruffed grouse, rufous-sided towhee, winter wren and varied thrush. Marine birds in the area include bald eagles, great blue herons, Canada geese, osprey, cormorants, loons, sandpipers and coots.
Average annual temperatures for Gibsons (and the Sunshine Coast area) are slightly higher than that of Vancouver (13 versus 12 degrees Celsius) and Gibsons has on average more frost free days (334 versus 329 for Vancouver). Winters are relatively mild and abundant precipitation makes this area green and blooming year round.
Climate data for Gibsons, BC
Source: Environment Canada (2010)
The Town of Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast region are currently experiencing rapid growth and development. According to the 2006 Census, the most popular occupations, by number of workers include occupations in: (i) sales and service; (ii) trade, transport, and equipment operators; and (iii) business, finance, and administrative services.
The pulp-and-paper industry, logging, and fishing are primary sources of revenue generating activity. Logging is an important industry to the area, with primary timber harvesting and log storage activities. The area houses the Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Mill facilities at Port Mellon. The Gibsons area is part of the major inside passage (Georgia Strait) marine system. Natural salmonid spawning habitats contribute to valuable commercial and recreational fishing.
According to the 2006 Census, Gibsons has a growing population of over 4,100 residents. The median age of the community is 50.2 years, with 86.7% of the population over the age of 15. Of those residents over age 15, more than 82% have gained their high school diploma (or equivalent), with 52% having some post-secondary education.
The population of the Gibsons area is largely families with young children. There is a higher percentage of single parent homes in this region of the Sunshine Coast and fewer people of retirement age. Approximately 80% of the housing is single detached homes, 15% mobile homes, and 5% multiple-unit dwellings (apartments and duplexes).
The Town of Gibsons is the administrative and governance centre of the Gibsons area. Town affairs are led by the duly elected Mayor of Gibsons and the Town Council of 4 members. Gibsons has a unique group of community-based business people, the Gibsons Landing Business Association, whose mission is to be an active partner in the economic, cultural, social, political, intellectual and spiritual development of Gibsons Landing by promoting a healthy community. The Association seeks to develop a sustainable and caring community marked by personal contribution, an abundance of accessible services and activities, and deep and respectful public discussion. In their view, a healthy community provides economic stability and sustainable employment, and promotes individual and collective responsibility, encourages innovation, cross-cultural collaboration, citizen participation and systemic, positive and acceptable change. The Association also believes that a healthy community recognizes the important role that arts, culture, recreation, sports, the environment and social services play in the creation of an economically vibrant place to live and work. (Source:www.gibsonslandingbc.com/membership.html – link no longer active).
The Town of Gibsons was established in 1886 by George Gibson and his sons. It was incorporated in 1929 as “Gibson’s Landing,” and in 1947 the name was changed to “Gibsons” at the request of the residents. The town is now split between the seaside area known as “Lower Gibsons” which is mostly residential but which includes Molly’s Reach, of the Beachcomber’s CBC Television fame (first aired in 1972 and ran until 1990), and a few shops catering mostly to vacationers, and “Upper Gibsons” which is clustered along Highway 101, and which contains the commercial areas of town including Sunnycrest Mall, the town’s two major supermarkets, and a variety of fast food restaurants.
Gibsons has recently earned international recognition when it was named the “Most Liveable Community under 20,000” in 2009 in a world-wide competition by the UN-backed International Awards for Liveable Communities. In 2005, Gibson’s was recognized with the Berkley Springs International Water Tasting Award as the Gold Medal Winner.
April 2010 © C-Change Secretariat (Canada) & C-Change Partners for Gibsons.