8 Most Liveable Canadian Islands

Want island bliss without leaving the country? Turns out there’s a lot more off the mainland than P.E.I., Cape Breton, and Newfoundland. These gorgeous offshore towns, submitted to our ongoing Canada’s Most Interesting Towns Contest, make island life in Canada a real possibilty. 

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1. Pender Island, B.C.

Set in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia, Pender Island is renowned for its natural beauty and unique location. Local island activities include whale watching, disk golfing, fishing, hiking, guided kayak tours, yacht rentals, viewing the local art gallery and playing a round of golf on a breathtaking nine hole golf course. It's a island that offers something special to everyone.

-Robert de Clare

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2. Tancook Island, N.S.

Tancook Island, because it is accessible only by boat, compels one to slow down, unwind and get in touch with their creativity. It has become a mecca for writers, photographers and artists.  It is the same 110 residents that head up our emergency response team, recreation centre, fire defensive team, school advisory council and marketing team, giving of themselves time and time again to make the community work. It is that same giving spirit that held us together during tragedies such as the Swissair Flight 111 crash, let us rejoice in comradery after saving a beached whale, and unites us as neighbours.

-Rosa Cross

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3. Change Islands, N.L.

Change Islands is a small Island located on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland in Notre Dame Bay. The island is assessible by a 64 car ferry shared with neighbouring Fogo Island. The population is only 250 people, and the people live off of the land, hunting, fishing and picking berries in season. Many people grow their own vegetables and make use of their natural resources. Traditional speedboats, skiffs and rowboats remain tied up to the wharfs. Salt box houses that are well over a hundred years old are still lived in and line the coves.

-Robin Payne

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4. Campobello Island, N.B.

In the town of Wilson's Beach, on Campobello Island, we all know each other and can depend on each other for help. The community stepped up when my daughter had a beautiful baby girl with Downs Syndrome, and supported us when her situation did not turn out like we had hoped. The community holds public suppers and donates to families who require our support. We have annual fund-raisers for the Juvenile Diabetes Association, the Charlotte County Cancer Society, and for many other local causes. This small Island never ceases to amaze me with its support.

-Della Malloch

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Photo: J. Stephen Conn/flickr

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5. Bobcaygeon, Ont.

Centrallized in the Kawartha Lakes, the town is a heartbeat away from the Kawartha Winery and its unique blends of fruit wines, the Kawarthas Settlers Village showcasing life in the 19th century, the Bridge of Heroes commemorating our heroes of war, and a downtown core that allows tasteful shoppers to browse at their leisure. There are also  the infamous Kawartha Dairies, offering the best ice cream around. And on a hot summer day, a cool boat ride to the sandbar with its waist-deep waters is unbeatable. 

-Dave Blake

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Photo: Loimere/flickr

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6. Montreal, Que.

Montreal is a vibrant city of two cultures-the French and the English-and diverse ethnic groups which paint a mosaic that is a joy to behold. Grocery stores from the Orient to the Far East including the Middles East and the Caribbean have mushroomed all over the Montreal, with Sushi being the latest trend. 

The Montreal skyline has changed dramatically with the rise of skyscrapers that jockey for position in the city centre. Montreal began to take shape in 1535 when Jacques Cartier was the first European to reach the village known as Hochelaga on the island of Montreal. Since then it has progressed rapidly to what it is today a bustling, thriving (island) city.

-Emiliano Joanes

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Photo: Kevin Félix Polesello/flickr

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7. Ucluelet (Vancouver Island), B.C.

Why Ucluelet? You can start with surfing Long Beach.The sand stretches for what seems like forever, peppered with drift wood and shells. During the day you can walk the Pacific Trail, check out the light house, and watch the waves come crashing in. You might even catch the sight of a whale swimming by, depending on the time of year. Take a dip in the hot springs or hire a boat to take you swordfish, salmon, or shark fishing. And after your adventurous day, relax at one of Ucluelet's fine dining establishments.

-Trevor Pascoe

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Photo: Zero-X/flickr

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8. Fogo Island, N.L.

Fogo Island is a rural fishing village of about 2200 people that is made up of the recently amalgamated local towns. In late spring you can watch the icebergs from your backyard as they travel through iceberg alley, and you can see whales and dolphins from the shoreline.

Fogo has scenic walking trails, rugged shorelines, sandy beach, rolling hills, and an amazing ocean view. The island has recently been in the news because of its innovative geotourism and the erection of the Fogo Island Inn-a multi-million dollar tourist destination on a rocky shore with an amazing view of the North Atlantic ocean. In recent years many artists have visited the island because of its unparallelled beauty and welcoming atmosphere, its artist studios, and artist in residence programs.

-Iori Oake

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