An Island Sanctuary

Retreat Island sits snugly within Xetthecum, or Retreat Cove – a shallow, protected bay on the west coast of Galiano where Greig Creek flows out into the Trincomali Channel.  This mixing of fresh and salt water creates a rich marine ecosystem, supporting eelgrass (Zostera marina) meadows, shellfish habitat, and remarkable biodiversity.  Breeding hooded mergansers (Lophodytes cucullatus), soaring belted kingfishers (Megaceryle alcyon), prolific blooms of jellyfish, and foraging river otters (Lontra canadensis) are all common sights.  The island itself is insulated from deer browsing, and as a result supports spectacular wildflower displays in the spring, including large patches of sea blush (Plectritis congesta), camas (Camassia spp.), white fawn lilies (Erythronium oregonum), and chocolate lilies (Fritillaria affinis).  The exposed bluffs on the west coast of the island support a small, terraced Garry Oak meadow ecosystem.  

The Galiano Conservancy owns about half of Retreat Island, which was donated by Robin and Jillian Ridington.  In addition to protecting this sensitive ecosystem, the Galiano Conservancy performs annual removal of introduced Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius) and Himalayan blackberry (Rubus armeniacus) on Retreat Island.

The Institute for Institute for Multidisciplinary Ecological Research in the Salish Sea (IMERSS) is working on an eco-cultural mapping pilot for Xetthecum.

Retreat Island

At a Glance

  • Size: 1.72 ha
  • Legal Description: Lot B, District Lot 7, Galiano Island, Parcel Identifier 009-621-741
  • Covenant Holders: Islands Trust Conservancy, Garry Oak Ecosystems Restoration Team
  • Acquisition Year: 1999 – Donation (Robin & Jillian Ridington)

Nature Sanctuary

This property is closed to the public in order to protect sensitive ecosystems.

Media Gallery

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Knowledge Hub

Additional Resources

Explore the following resources to learn more about Retreat Island.