World's Best Town: Gibsons, B.C.
A huge honour has been bestowed on a small B.C. town, which was named Tuesday as one of the most livable communities in the world.
The town of Gibsons, population about 4,000, was named the best place in the world to live, among communities fewer than 20,000 residents, by the International Awards for Liveable Communities. The award program has the endorsement of the United Nations.
Gibsons is the southernmost town on B.C.'s Sunshine Coast, a 40-minute ferry ride northwest of Vancouver, and was already well-known for more than its sea views and hillside homes.
The town was first thrust into the spotlight on The Beachcombers, an internationally distributed CBC television comedy-drama series that first began filming there almost 40 years ago.
Among the qualities recognized in Tuesday's award announcement was Gibsons' commitment to healthy living and environmental sustainability.
A geothermal plant is in the works, generating heat for hundreds of homes with a minimal carbon footprint. But residents said it's just one of the innovative ideas that won them the award.
"We may be small, but we're really good," town councillor Lee Ann Johnson told CBC News. "I think it really speaks to the community, because we have a very committed and involved community at all levels."
When Craig Perry docked his boat in Gibsons, it was supposed to be a brief stopover on a sailing trip to Russia.
"We tied up for I guess a week, and a week turned into a month, and a month turned into a year, and we never did get any further," said Perry.
That was 15 years ago. Perry now runs a floating fish-shop, hooked by Gibsons' charm.
"I think it's wonderful, I'm really proud of the town, and it's a really beautiful place to live," said resident Joanie Carter.
The community does have it's challenges, and closely fought local elections in 2009 reflected the split between those who want to encourage development and those who want to slow it down.