Travel Story 

A Warehouse Hide-A-Way

Comfort and style in the heart of Old Gibsons Landing

In 1886 George Gibson's boat, the Swamp Angel, blew off course forcing him into the entrance of Howe Sound. After a night on Keats Island he and his two sons crossed over to the mainland, liked what they saw, claimed homesites, and settled the land that still bears their family name. While our own recent visit to Gibsons Landing was less dramatic it was also something of an accident.

When our planned trip to southeast Asia was cancelled due to SARS we decided to explore some destinations closer to home – and where better to start than the Sunshine Coast. With our kayaks on the car we took the Queen of Esquimalt from Horseshoe Bay across to Langdale, drove down to Gibsons, and like George and his boys, found much more than we expected.

In the guide to accommodation on the Sunshine Coast it's listed as just another bed and breakfast, but as soon as we arrived at the Warehouse Hide-A-Way we realized it was much more. True to its name the place is indeed hidden. A short distance up Gibsons Way from the wharf in the centre of town a small sign signals a sharp right turn into a gravel parking area at the head of Killarney Lane. First impression – this can't be right! No vacancy sign, no sign at all, just a rough cedar gate. But swing open the gate and enter the secluded world of Mary Jean Brown's B&B – a leafy green oasis right in the heart of Old Gibson's Landing.

The rustic garden, bounded on one side by a steep fern-covered bank and on the other by a low fence draped with vines and fish-floats, is shaded under a canopy of giant broad-leafed maples. Patio-block walkways lead past a central grape-arbor and raised garden beds to the immaculately restored old warehouse that has been transformed into Mary Jean's home, studio, gallery, and the two stylish cottage/lofts that offer accommodation to visitors like Betty and me.

At the front door we are greeted enthusiastically by Madi, the resident golden Lab. who seems overjoyed to see us. Before showing us the cottages Mary Jean welcomes us into her home and tells us a bit of its history. Looking at it now it’s hard to imagine this was once a warehouse. Below the high ceilings the walls are hung with original art. The space is tastefully divided into comfortable sitting and dining areas, kitchen, studio, and a computer work-station. Originally built by the Inglass family as a stove factory the structure subsequently housed boat builders, a moving and storage company, and finally, during the 19-year filming of the Beachcombers TV series, the CBC leased it as a place to store sets.

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