stewarded by the Gabriola Historical and Museum Society
Protection and Stewardship of our Covenant Lands
The Gabriola Historical and Museum Society’s mission includes the protection and stewardship of island lands and natural history.
The Gabriola Historical and Museum Society stewards Conservation Covenants for the following sites which are importnt to our island history and resources:
- Museum Site
- McRae Land Covenant.
- Coats Millstone Reserve
Thanks to our Museum members and volunteers who contribute to the protection of these lands.
Gabriola Museum Site
In November 1990, Stan and Maxine McRae generously donated an acre of land (assessed at $35,000) on South Road to the Gabriola Historical and Museum Society (GHMS) to be used exclusively for a community museum. The McRae’s legally transferred the land title to the Society in February 1993.
With the help of grants, fundraising, community donations and volunteer labour, the Museum building was constructed and officially opened in 1995.
McRae Land Covenant
In 2020, close to ten years after Stan and Maxine McRae put their land into a conservation covenant, the Gabriola Museum and Historical Society (GMHS) purchased the 19 acre McRae Covenant lands adjacent to the museum. One acre of the land that hugs the museum property is outside the covenant area and has the potential to be sensitively developed for a much needed expansion of our facilities.
As landholder, GMHS works closely with the covenant holder, Islands Trust Conservancy with the assistance of Gabriola Land & Trails Trust (GaLTT), to maintain the public trails and honour and protect the ecological integrity of the conservation covenant.
Purchase of the Covenant Land is only possible because of generous community support. The Museum is a non-profit society, so donations and fundraising are ongoing to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible.
- 2019 article from the museum. “The McRaes – Two of Gabriola’s Finest”
- 2010 article from The Heron – a newsletter from the islands trust fund.“Gabriola and Galiano Island Landowners Protect Vital Wildlife Habitat” featuring McRae property.
Coats Millstone Nature Reserve
The property overlooks Descanso Bay in the northwest corner of Gabriola Island. In the 1920’s the quarry produced sandstone that was used in the construction of significant buildings and in the 1930’s, pulp grinding mill stones were supplied to B.C. mills and Scandinavia.
Vertical round holes were left after millstones were removed and now form unique pools of water on quarried rock shelves.
In 1993, Mr. Clyde Coats donated the Coats Millstone land to the Islands Trust Fund (now the Islands Trust Conservancy) to preserve its significance to Gabriola Island.
The co-covenant holders – Gabriola Historical and Museum Society (GHMS) and Nanaimo & Area Land Trust (NALT), along with the landholder, theIsland Trust Conservancy (ITC) – ensure the on-going protection of mananage Coats Millstone Nature Reserve. Management Plan for the Coats Millstone Reserve
“The purpose of the Coats Millstone Reserve is to preserve and protect, in perpetuity, the historical, natural and scenic values of the site.”
The Museum, which is in fairly close vicinity to the Reserve, includes Coats Millstone Reserve artifacts in exhibits and museum partnership programs.
Public safety and ecological conservation are ongoing priorities for the management and care of the Coats Millstone Nature Reserve.
Learn more about the Gabriola’s Millstones
More information on Gabriola’s Millstone Quarries
Gehlbach J., Gabriola’s millstone quarry, pp.25–41, SHALE 19, Nov. 2008
Gehlbach J., Gabriolans and the sandstone quarries, pp.42–52, SHALE 19, Nov. 2008
Gehlbach J., The origins of quarrying for sandstone on Gabriola, pp.3–9, SHALE 19, Nov. 2008