Galiano Education Program FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about our programs and facilities. 

Booking a program

  • How do I know which programs are right for my group? 
  • Do you do overnight programs?
  • What months are available?
    • We offer programs year-round, seven days a week except major holidays.  Once you’ve chosen a program, you can click on the calendar on each page to see if it’s available on a given day. 
  • Can I do a program in a single day from Vancouver or Victoria?
    • Yes, definitely. We will begin your program as soon as you arrive
  • What time does the program start? The booking system is asking me to enter a time. 
    • Normally, it’s 11:00 am if you’re coming from Vancouver or around 12 noon from Victoria. Just enter your best estimate. 
  • What are the total costs? 
    • Prices (per student) are listed on each program page. You will also need to budget for getting your students to Galiano, and taking care of their meals and incidental costs (unless otherwise stated- we do include some meals in some of our overnight programs.) If you need transportation, you’re welcome to travel in our bus. There is a fee for that- see below. 
  • Are leaders and chaperones also charged the per-person fee? 
    • No, leaders and chaperones are free—just let us know how many you’re bringing. 
  • What are the minimum-maximum numbers for your programs?
    • Normally, our minimum is 12 participants and our maximum is 50 to 60. But if your group falls outside that range, please contact us by phone or email and we’ll accommodate you if possible.
  • I would like to book a program but I don’t want to pay by credit card. 
    • Enter your details in our booking system or give us a call, and we’ll send you a booking invoice and you can mail us a deposit cheque. Your program date won’t be secured until we receive your deposit. 
  • How much is the deposit? 
    • 20% of your total fee (program and bus)
  • Can I get a refund if I cancel?
    • Yes, up to two weeks before the event. After that the cost is non-refundable as we will have already laid out staffing costs.
  • We don’t have much money—is there anything we can do to reduce the costs?
  • Should we wait until we know if we have a bursary before booking?
    • It’s up to you. If you’re worried about securing the date, book now, pay the deposit, and we will apply the bursary to your balance. You can always cancel if you’re more than two weeks out. 
  • Can you accommodate a program for multiple ages?
    • Yes, we do it all the time.
  • What if our preliminary numbers change?
    • Please give us your best estimate when you book. If it changes, we can adjust your final price. If it’s a substantial change, please call or email us as soon as you know.
  • Once we have booked, is it possible to change dates?  
    • Yes, if the date is open and if we have more than two weeks’ notice. 

The Ferry: Getting to Galiano

  • How do we get to the island?
    • The majority of groups travel by ferry.
  • Are the ferries at convenient times?
    • Yes ferries from both Victoria and Vancouver are at times that are ideal for both day trips to the island and well as overnight ones. More information here. 
  • Do we drive on or should we walk over?
    • It’s up to you. Most school and youth groups come over as walk-on passengers. We meet our groups (with the bus) at the ferry terminal. 
  • Does the program fee include transportation to and from the Galiano ferry terminal?
    • No. Transportation on-island from the ferry to your program and back again can be provided with our bus, at  $150-$190 round trip depending on where you go on the island. If you need a bursary to help with this cost you can apply here.

Bus

  • We would prefer not to bring our own transport to Galiano, do you have a bus available?
    • The bus is available to take you from the ferry to your program locations throughout the day/days
  • How many people can the bus carry?
    • We have a large school bus available that seats up to 54 children or 36 adults.
  • How much does the bus cost?
    • The bus is available to take you from the ferry to your program locations throughout the day/days, for a price range of $170 – $210 per group.
  • Will the bus pick us up from the ferry?
    • Yes, the bus, bus driver, and a member of the Galiano Conservancy Education team will meet you at the ferry and lead you to the bus.
  • Are bursaries offered to cover bus expenses?
  • If the program ends with quite a bit of time before the ferry, is there somewhere we could wait, or a public access beach nearby?
    • Yes, there is a public beach just beside the ferry terminal, and restaurants nearby. The ferry terminal has heated waiting rooms and washrooms. 

Camping

  • Do you provide camping gear for students/staff without their own?
    • Dependent on the program gear is typically provided. For teachers, leaders and other staff accompanying students or youth, a small rental fee will be charged for the use of gear.
  • What are the facilities at the camping area?
    • The camping area has tent platforms, pit toilets, a communal eating tent, picnic tables, and two firepits.
  • Is there space to camp inside or do we need to camp outside in tents?
    • You can sleep inside the Learning Centre or outside in tents – whichever you prefer.
  • Do we need to bring our own food cache systems?
    • If you are renting the Millard Learning Centre facility, there is ample storage inside. For those only renting the camping area, you are encouraged to bring your own totes to store food and ropes and dry sack to create a cache in a nearby tree.
  • What is available for toilet and bathing facilities?
    • Two pit toilets are available on the premises, and showers and additional toilets are in the final stages of construction. These will hopefully be available in late summer.
  • Is wildlife a concern?
    • Wildlife is present on Galiano Island—predominantly deer and small rodents. Predators very occasionally swim over to the island, however this is quite rare. We take precautions by storing our food properly and leaving no trace.
  • Are campfires allowed?
    • It depends on the fire danger rating and the need for permits. We will let you know what the status is during site introduction. 
  • Do you think there is a chance there will not be a fire ban so we can have a fire in the evening?
    • Complete fire bans are normal here in summer.  We have a propane fire ring that can be used instead of a campfire. 
  • Should we bring our own toilet paper, sanitizer or general cleaning supplies?
    • No, we provide all these items.
  • Is the kitchen fully equipped with dishes, pots, cooking utensils, etc.?
    • Yes the kitchen is fully equipped
  • Is there an eating area?
    • Yes we have a covered area, complete with four picnic tables.
  • Is there drinking water on site?
    • Yes, there is drinking water inside the building, and if you are camping we will provide you with ample supplies of drinking water. There is also non – potable water available at a dish washing station and from taps on the exterior of the building.
  • What should we pack?
    • Dependent on weather and program, there is a variety of items that are needed. Please check out are recommended packing list.
  • What are the garbage and recycling facilities on site?
    • We have recycling, garbage and compost systems available on site. We encourage you to pack consciously to limit garbage, as all garbage left on Galiano has to be sent off island.
  • Swimming
    • Galiano Conservancy staff are first-aid and CPR certified but do not possess any additional lifeguard certifications. Swimming will not occur during programs during the day. Students are welcome to swim on their free time at the Cove but this would be at your discretion and under your supervision.  The Cove is quite rocky and can be slippery due to seaweed growing on the rocks. Please ensure students who do wish to swim have adequate, sturdy footwear (such as water shoes) if they do choose to swim as barnacles often cover the rocks.
  • Bears/ Wildlife Safety
    • Occasionally bears and cougars swim over from adjacent islands but this is rare. In general, Galiano does not have a resident bear or cougar population, so the threat is minimal to none. No bear spray will be needed. That being said we have MANY other creatures who like to snack on your food crumbs, such as raccoons, ravens and mice. We will provide you with a secured space inside the building to pack away all “smelly” items overnight to keep them (and your tents) safe from critters.
    • Please ensure that students understand that “smelly” items constitute as:
      • Any fragrant body products including: toothpaste, sunscreen, bugspray, lotion, shampoo/ soap, deoderant, perfume
      • Food (even if it is packaged)
      • Drinks (drink crystals, Gatorade, juice, pop etc)
      • Before they go to sleep students will need to separate these items from the items they keep in their tents with them overnight. Smelly items will be kept inside the building and students will have access to them until it is time to go to sleep. It might be easier to have students separate these out when they pack their bags before they arrive on Galiano. Although sometimes the message doesn’t always get across, so we will provide a time for you to do this onsite as well.
  • Free time
    • On day one of an overnight program,  free time typically happens before and after Galiano Conservancy-directed programming. 
    • Free time is not supervised by Galiano Conservancy staff as it is outside of the educational programming itinerary.

Millard Learning Centre

  • What does the Learning Centre have to offer?
    • Situated on 188 acres the Learning Centre features a recycled structure, industrial scale kitchen, expansive multi – purpose space, cooking and dishware, desk and chairs. Additionally, the building was designed to have a small footprint, with a portion of the energy produced by solar panels on the premise, as well as a water recycling system.
  • Are we able to use it while we camp?
    • Yes, a group can either choose to rent out the space and space around it, or simply rent out the camping facilities and utilize the basement for food storage.
  • Does the facility have wifi and phone service?
    • Limited cellphone service is available at the site. Dependent on the program or rental agreement limited wifi could be made available.
  • Can the facility be rented out?
    • Yes, the Millard Learning Centre can be rented, independant of educational courses. It is the perfect site for conferences, retreats and field schools
  • Is there space to “camp” indoors?
    • In bad weather, groups sometimes sleep on the floor of the Centre.  It is heated with a wood stove.
  • Other Concerns
  • Is there a hospital on the island?
    • There is a clinic on the island and a doctor on call. There is also an ambulance and three fire stations on Galiano. For emergencies, Victoria, Vancouver and Salt Spring hospitals are nearby and accessible by boat, or if needed helicopter ambulance.
  • Is there any grocery stores in case we forget anything?
    • Yes, there are three grocery stores on the island, as well as a hardware store, to purchase any forgotten items.