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General News · 18th June 2016
On Saturday, June 25th, ten Cortes Island craftspeople, artists, and gardeners will open their studio doors and garden gates to the public during Cortes Island's Creative Spaces – Gardens & Studios, a popular annual tour showcasing some of the many imaginative spaces on Cortes Island.
The studios that comprise this day-long glimpse into private creative spaces will invite you to discover countless one-of-a-kind works-in-progress. They feature sculpture, ceramics, paintings, art cards, loom weaving, wool dying, photography, and painted canvas mats, among others. Two vibrant artists new on Cortes will introduce themselves with their original works in the Old School House Art Gallery. A special welcome by creative young students awaits you at a colourful weaving studio.
The tour's gardens are similarly diverse, but all include a wide variety of colourful flowers, flowering shrubs and trees, edibles and some rare species – many of which are indigenous to BC. Cortes gardens connect to the rocky ground beneath them and become part of the beauty of this annual tour. Some gardens incorporate fish ponds, winding woodland trails, beach scapes, and mature cedars and Douglas firs. Fairhaven Gardens Nursery has an amazing display of heritage roses, some of which can be purchased, and also many deer resistant plants that won't need fencing from these prolific munchers.
This tour features a combination of both newly-created and well established gardens and studios, reflecting the creativity, resourcefulness, and ingenuity of Cortes Islanders. For example, many of the tour's gardeners use recycled materials throughout their grounds, and are endlessly innovative in the protection of their gardens from deer and invasive species. A garden host will be on-site at each tour stop, welcoming visitors to his/her creative space, as well as fielding questions from (and swapping stories with) the day's numerous guests.
Lunches may be purchased from: The Floathouse Restaurant at Gorge Harbour; The Cove Restaurant or Flying Squirrel take-Away in Squirrel Cove; or at the Cortes Market Deli, the Market Take-Out, or the Natural Foods Co-Op Cafe in Manson's Landing. Colourful buffet lunches are available at Hollyhock if you register a day ahead at 250-935-6576. Visitors may also opt to pack their own lunch and enjoy a picnic at any one of Cortes Island's beautiful parks or beaches – or enjoy the picnic bench under fruit trees in the Cortes Museum's Heritage Garden.
Off-island visitors should arrive on the first ferry to Cortes on the morning of June 25th. Those coming from Campbell River should catch the 8:20 am ferry to Quadra, which connects with the 8:50 am ferry to Cortes from Heriot Bay. This allows visitors ample time to peruse a combination of Cortes Island's inspiring gardens and busy studios, before catching the last ferry off Cortes at 5:50 pm. Those wishing to stay overnight on Cortes can find a list of accommodations available online at

Tour tickets are still only $12 and include a map of Cortes Island with the address and a brief description of each garden and studio on the tour. Advance tickets are available at the Cortes Museum, all Cortes Island stores, and during Friday Markets at Manson's Hall. Same-day tour tickets will be sold near the top of the hill up from the Cortes ferry landing – look for a sign with balloons at the corner of Seavista Road – between 9:20 and 10:00 am on June 25th.
This fun, casual, rain-or-shine event offers visitors a rare opportunity to explore some of the more private, unique, and creative spaces on Cortes Island. This tour is sponsored by the Cortes Island Museum & Archives Society, with all proceeds benefitting public education and community outreach programs, as well as the continued development of the Museum's own Heritage Garden featuring plants from early Cortes homesteads. This year a new installation in the Heritage Garden will challenge you to count rings on the giant “cookie” cut from the old growth Douglas fir that fell on Bartholomew Road last summer.
Refreshments will be served throughout the day at the Cortes Museum with entertainment by local musicians on flute, harp and guitar – for all to enjoy.
Don't miss this rare chance to glimpse an insider's view of Cortes Island on Saturday, June 25th, 2016, from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. For more information, contact Cortes Museum at or or 250-935-6340.