About the Gabriola Commons

Where land and people meet

The Gabriola Commons is 26-acres of land and ammenities belonging to the people of Gabriola.

The Gabriola Commons is intended as a source of agricultural, ecological and community well-being.

It is protected in perpetuity for the benefit of the people of Gabriola Island and the land itself.

Located in the village core, the Commons brings together Community, Agriculture and Ecology.


The Commons brings people together to meet, move, create and celebrate!

At various times, there are concerts and celebrations, music jams and dance groups, potlucks and food feasts, school field trips, a bio-mapping projects, meetings, community fairs, and workshops.


The Gabriola Commons is set in the BC Agricultural Land Reserve.  Allotment gardens, an orchard of fruit trees and blueberries, various other gardens and a “Little Field” provide space for farming and growing food together.

The Timberframe structure provides sheltered outdoor space for activities such as farmers’ markets and agricultural fairs.


Mapped into 22 “polygon” areas for descriptive purposes, the Commons is home to a highly varied ecology of flora and fauna.

Ecological features include a pond which is home to a huge number of species (some protected), trails that link fir and cedar forests.

The Commons features peaceful rural landscapes, rich ecosystems and significant biodiversity.

The property includes connecting pathways, open vistas, meditative spaces, vibrant community gardens, trails, and learning and meeting facilities for the use and enjoyment of Gabriolan individuals or groups. No-one is permitted to live on the land.

Stewarded and supported by the people of Gabriola.

The Commons is stewarded entirely by volunteer teams and supported by community members’ donations.

Representatives of teams meet monthly at the Commons Coordinating Council to share progress on ongoing work, accomplishments and projects and plan proactively.

In teams and at Council, decisions are made using egalitarian, non-hierarchical principles.

Decision Making on the Gabriola Commons (pdf)

Amenities available for use by the community

The buildings that remain from its time as a goat farm have been renovated to new uses.  These include:

  •  Large two-story farmhouse
    • upper floor with community meeting rooms
    • ground floor leased to community organizations
    • solar panels on the roof
  • Woodwork shop with an attached pottery space
  • Community Kitchen (designated food safe by the Vancouver Island Health Authority)
  • Open timberframe structure with roof
  • Former goat barn which can be adapted for community arts events
  • Equipment shed which doubles to hold a second solar array

link to facilities

Gabriola Commons Charter

The Gabriola Commons is intended as a source of ecological and community well-being that exists in perpetuity for the benefit of the people of Gabriola Island and the land on which it is situated.

As a source of well-being, the Gabriola Commons contributes to our sense of community, of belonging, and of our bonds to one another and the land. It draws the community in, and brings the people of the community closer to each other. It is a space for creativity and justice, for art and learning, and for fairness and openness.

The Gabriola Commons demonstrates ways to enhance sustainability, to preserve ecosystems and biodiversity, and to promote equity both on this island and in the world.

The land includes a number of significant natural gifts and community amenities in one contiguous property:

  • rich wildlife habitats
  • a pond and wetland area
  • open vistas and meadows
  • cedar groves and forests
  • pathways linking neighbourhoods
  • a rural agricultural heritage and landscape for farming and gardening
  • indoor gathering places for community celebrations and events, for solitude and sanctuary, performance and festivity.

The property of the Gabriola Commons is a gift from an earlier generation that we in turn must pass on in perpetuity, undiminished and enriched, to those who follow us.


Guiding Principles

Public Trust

The Gabriola Commons exists in perpetuity for the benefit of the land and the people of Gabriola including future generations not favouring one generation over another.

Ecological Sustainability

The assets and the land of the Gabriola Commons are used and valued only in ways that respect its ecology.

Social Sustainability

The Gabriola Commons sustains and nourishes the fabric of the community for generations yet to come.

Local Democracy

The Gabriola Commons stewardship is democratic, equitable and local.

Community Engagement

The Gabriola Commons is a community legacy, involving the community in the broadest and deepest sense.

[GC Foundation Bylaws, Part 1, 3 – June 2009; Revised September 22, 2012]

Proudly part of the Global Commons Movement

Around the world, commons are being reclaimed by communities, reviving ancient traditions in modern settings, reminding us of an almost forgotten history when the precious resources of a region were managed locally and sustainably.

The Commons offers a renewed and bold re-visioning of how society at the local level can counter the destructive, extractive invasion of land and resources driven by indifferent markets, consumerism, appropriation and commodification.

Commons emerge wherever a beloved landscape in our communities brings people together to protect and preserve it.

The commons consists of working, evolving models of self-provisioning and stewardship that combine the economic and the social, the collective and the personal.

David Bollier

Think Like a Commoner, 2014

Imagine a space where re-invigorated and re-imagined communities are centred in ethics of sufficiency, local self-determination, ecological resilience, social equity and a culture of stewardship that informs the duty of care and shared responsibility ….

Imagine the Commons