BC Ferries route 19 Nanaimo Harbour - Gabriola Island

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Route 19: Nanaimo Harbour - Gabriola Island
Type of Route Minor
Terminals Descanso Bay
Nanaimo Harbour
Vessel based out of Descanso Bay Quinsam
Refit replacement Bowen Queen
Sailing takes 20 minutes
First and last sailing from Descanso Bay 5:15 am *
6:20 am ***
10:35 pm ***
*Monday to Friday year round
**Saturday & Sunday year round
***Daily year round
First and last sailing from Nanaimo Harbour 5:45 am *
6:45 am **
8:10 am ***
11:00 pm ****
*Monday to Friday year round
**Saturday year round
*** Sunday year round
****Daily year round

Route 19 is a ferry runs that is under contract and receives subsidy from Province of British Columbia to BC Ferries. This is minor route in BC Ferries route network.

Route Details

This route sails across Nanaimo Harbour between Downtown Nanaimo and Gabriola Island.

Points of Interests

  • McGregor Park
  • Nanaimo Harbour
  • Descanso Bay

Number of sailing

  • 15 sailing Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
  • 14 sailing on Saturday
  • 13 sailing on Wednesday & Sunday

How to determine the vessel for the sailing?

The route departs 65 minutes from both terminal excluding certain sailing that don’t occur certain days.


The government contracted to operate the route was given too Higgs Gabriola Ferry LTD with there vessel named Atrevida which carried 5 vehicles and 40 passengers per sailing. In 1947 the contract changed to Gabriola Ferry Company with Atrevida. In May 1955 the government sold the Eena which carried 10-12 vehicles and 70 passengers per sailing. In February 1961 Ministry of Transportation Salt Water Ferries took over route along with Eena. In June 1964 Westwood which carried 18 vehicles and 125 passengers per sailing.[1] With ever growing demand for the route Ministry of Transportation Salt Water Ferries built the MV Klatawa which carried 26 vehicles and 150 passengers per sailing which lasted no more than year in 1973 a 30 vehicles and 200 passengers per sailing was built named Kahloke. After five years of service Ministry of Transportation Salt Water Ferries determined a 50 vehicle and 300 passengers per sailing vessel named Quinitsa even after five years she was determined to be to small for route. Ministry of Transportation Salt Water Ferries built yet another vessel for route which carried 70 vehicles and 400 passengers per sailing named Quinsam. In 1985 route was transferred to BC Ferries.[2]

Future of Route

With the planned retirement of Bowen Queen in 2022 and the planned move of Quinsam to Crofton - Vesuvius. BC Ferries will bring back two boat service year around on route in 2022 with Island Class.[3]


  • Gabriola ferry Eena, 1955−64Nick Doe.ca, retrieved 04-13-2021.
  • Eena West Coast Ferry Forum, retrieved 04-13-2021
  • BC Ferries Island Class BC Ferries, retrieved 04-13-2021.