One of the biggest challenges to living on the island is that most things are only open a couple of days a week and/or part of the day and there is no universal closing days or times. This can result in wasted trips. What I have done to get around this is until to take a picture on my phone of the sign on the door of places I visit. There are not many websites with opening and closing times. Times can vary by season with longer opening hours in the summer. There is a map that you receive on the Ferry with a list of services with location and hours. However a universal website would be of benefit to summer visitors. That said, because the cell coverage and WIFI is variable across the island, people tend to rely on word of mouth, Facebook, signs poster on roads, paper and land lines. I have included links to some of the services I have accessed that might be handy for other visitors.
The master site for Hornby Island is http://hornbyisland.com/ which includes links to accommodation, arts, events and transportation.
The range of accommodation is wide in terms of size and modern conveniences. Some cottages are without TV, laundry etc. Some people rent out space on their properties for RVs and tents. Some rentals are done by word of mouth. Many accommodation are posted on the Hornby Island Site with few if any listing on Airbnb. Booking is done by contacting the individuals listed as contact for the accommodation. Starting rentals are around $ 1500 a week to sleep 4-6 people over the summer months. An availability calendar is available on the site. Booking in May for July/Aug is wise. Trip advisor is another site for booking accommodation as is Wind and Waves. Camping sites are at a premium. There is a beautiful campsite site at Heron Rocks under management of the Heron Rocks Camping Cooperative which is open to members and then non-members if space available. Phone: (250) 335-2670 as no website was found.
Getting to and from Hornby Island is a lengthy process. Here is a typical schedule for a trip as a foot passenger from Vancouver to Hornby Island. If you are coming as a foot passenger there is an express bus from Downtown Vancouver to Horseshoe Bay. The Ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay at Nanaimo is about 1 hr 40 min. Then you can pick up the Island link shuttle from Departure Bay to Buckley Bay. Advance booking for the Island Link is necessary and can be done online. From Buckley Bay you get the ferry to Denman Island. Then you have a 20 min drive to the ferry landing on the other side of Denman Island to pick up the ferry to Hornby Island. Each crossing is about 10 min. People travelling as foot passengers often approach travellers with cars to hitch a ride across Denman Island. Seniors with a BC ID are free on Mon-Thurs but you still have to pay for your car. The ferry fare on Hornby/Denman includes the return fare.
One should check the BC Ferries website up to an hour before leaving as ferries have been known to break down and not be replaced due to lack of availability of replacement ferries. The Denman and Hornby Island operate on a schedule but will increase sailings if line-ups occur.
The Island Link shuttle will also stop on the highway next to the Nanaimo Airport and then it is a 5 -10 min walk to the departure terminal. You have to book to Ladysmith.
Here is a typical schedule for a walk on passenger from Vancouver. Times can vary so check the schedules of Translink, BC Ferries and Island Link. Taking your car requires advance booking on BC Ferries to ensure a spot on the ferry at your desired departure time. The ferry schedule for Denman/Hornby is different on some days of the week so close scrutiny of the schedule is warranted.
|From Vancouver to Hornby|
|depart||Depart time||arrive||Arrival time||fares|
|Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 250||9:56||Horseshoe Bay||10:30||$ 1.85 senior|
|Horseshoe Bay BC Ferries||11:00||Nanaimo Departure Bay||*free for seniors Tues-Thurs|
|Departure Bay -Island Link Shuttle Bus||1:00||Buckley Bay||2:10||$28.99|
|ferry Buckley bay-Denman Island||3:00||Denman||3:10||*|
|ferry Denman-Hornby Island||3:40||Hornby||3:50||*|
Total travel time 6 hours
|From Hornby to Vancouver|
|depart||Depart time||arrive||Arrival time|
|Ferry Hornby -Denman||10:00||Denman Island||10:10|
|ferry Denman-Vancouver Island||10:40||Buckley Bay||10:50|
|Buckley Bay Island link||11:20||Departure Bay||12:30|
|Departure Bay BC Ferries||1:15||horseshoe bay||2:55|
|Granville and West Georgia downtown Vancouver bus 257||3:15||Georgia and Granville downtown Vancouver||3:45|
Flying from Vancouver into Comox Airport with Harbour Air is an option. There are 2 flights a day and prices range from $ 132-$ 199 depending on the day. This would require ground transport or water taxi to Hornby. A site called Rome2rio.com gives a number of options to get to Hornby from Comox with the shortest being a 2 hour trip using a car from Comox Airport. A Water Taxi service is available to/from Hornby and Buckley Bay $ 150, Comox Harbour ($175) as well as other destinations. Comox Water Taxi advertises Hornby to Comox in 35 min.
Services on Hornby
The location of most of the services listed here are on the visitor maps you receive on the ferry.
Laundry & Showers. Joe King Park – Laundry takes 2 or 3 loonies per load. Water is cold unless you opt for the $ 3 loonie wash. This is apparently for members. How to get a membership is posted in the laundry room.
Computer access center Mon-Friday 10-4 near the school offers WIFi and printing but the WIFI coverage was intermittent when I used it.
Credit union Hornby Island Branch 2115 Sollans Rd 250.335-2326 Tue, Wed, Fri 9:30 to 3:00 and there is no ATM.
Co-op Store. You can find most things you need here both groceries and hardware. The website includes hours of the COOP, the gas bar and businesses in the same location as the COOP and the Gas Bar. There is an ATM there.
The Cove Store– Has some groceries, marina, camping and cottages. 7:30 am ~ 9:30 pm everyday July and August 8 am ~ 8 pm everyday September to June
Medical Care Monday to Friday 9:30 am – noon and 1:30 – 4 pm
The Library offers free computer access and wifi
|Tue||10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm|
|Thu||10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm|
|Sat||10am-12pm & 1pm-5pm|
There is a summer bus.
Farmers Market Wed and Sat 11am -2 pm
Recycling/Free store – The recycling depot is open from 9-1 Thursday to Sun (summer) for vehicles but you can walk up the driveway to access the services during other hours. The free store is the place to find anything you forgot to bring with you. I have accessed warm clothes, scissors, a frying pan and ice cube trays. There is a great selection of books. A friend recently scored a couple of Persian rugs and a radio in excellent condition.
Bank Machines are available at the COOP and the Thatch during opening hours. Many merchants only accept cash.
Cell phone coverage is variable but seems to be good around the library.
http://hornbyisland.com lists many events including concerts and movies.
Art Gallery shows and events: https://hornbyislandartscouncil.wordpress.com/
One of the major events on Hornby is a music festival Aug 1-10. www.hornbyfestival.com
Hornby Island Community Radio 96.55. The community radio station is one of the treasures of Hornby Island. The sad part is that it does not transmit beyond Hornby Island. However you can enjoy it while you are there. Multiple DJs have wide ranging tastes in music and deep knowledge of the artists and genres. You can support the station with an online membership.
Hornby Island has a unique natural history including rocks, marine life, fossils and birds. The natural history museum is only open during July and August, Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 3pm. It is well worth a visit before you go exploring. It is on the corner of Central and Sollens in the school.
New Horizons offers yoga and other activities for seniors. Chair yoga, book readings, and The Kitchen runs 3 times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) at 12:30 with meals by donation.
Cycling rentals- 250-335-0448 email@example.com
Mountain Biking. A map of the mountain biking and walking trails in Mt Geoffrey Park can be purchased at the bike shop beside the CO-OP.
Walking trails are shown on the visitor’s maps you receive on the ferry.
There are a number of Facebook groups related to Hornby interests: Hornby Helps, Word of Mouth and Hornby Island Buy and Sell.