A secret island where artists, writers, and non-conventional types live completely off grid? It actually does exist and it’s called Lasqueti.
Only 12 miles long and 3 miles wide, this small island is between Vancouver and Vancouver Island. It’s home to a community of unconventional, non-mainstream folks who strive for a lifestyle that is free from the conformities and homogenization of Canadian culture.
The key is living simply. Respecting the land and maintaining a small carbon footprint. While 426 people are said to live there, the full-time, year round residents number in the 350 range. It’s not just older retired folks either. Seventy children are said to live on the island.
The Lasqueti community blog states that the island consists of: “individuals, with poets, artists, physicists, fishermen, loggers, tree planters, designers, professional musicians, published authors, some small scale manufacturers, some commercial agriculture as well as professional consultants in education, engineering, forestry and alternate energy.”
Renewable resources are a high priority on Lasqueti and many rely on solar panels, wind turbines, water mills and wood burning stoves for power and heat, while others simply go without electricity.
The community is living in a way which is much more natural than the continual consumption of fossil fuels many have depended on for decades. This reliance on fossil fuels can’t last forever and eventually more and more communities will be forced into alternative energy sources to maintain their lifestyles. The Lasqueti residents aren’t waiting for things to run dry, they are using alternative energy and actually enjoying the simple, more natural way of sustaining oneself.
These are not hippies either, trying to relive the past. These are forward thinkers, and actually highly educated individuals. Statistics state their community is one of the most highly educated in British Columbia. Not only that, they possess skills that the average individual is generally clueless about. Building ecological structures, wooden boats and canoes, are but a few skills they possess which will likely be very important for future sustainability as a whole.
What about nightlife? Entertainment? Well, the island does have one cafe and one bar.
They employ a sharing economy as they have a location where monetary exchange is not permitted, but rather items are brought there to be shared with others who want to use them.
Another important aspect to sustainability is food growing, as there is no grocery store on the island. Many grow their own food and also have chickens. Some forage for wild food in the forest.
As far as bathrooms? Everyone uses composting toilets which don’t require plumbing or additional water.
If you want to visit Lasqueti, there is an important message from the community you should read first:
“However you decide to come, and whatever you are hoping to find here, please keep this in mind: Lasqueti is not some utopian paradise, it is not an “intentional community”, and it is probably not whatever you think it is – it is just a relatively remote island, populated by a small, tight-knit community of quirky, independent-minded people, with its own unique culture and identity.”
“Come with an open mind, a willingness to discover something a little different, and without rigid expectations. Resist the urge to project upon us your vision of what this place “should” be. It is what it is, and we like it this way, warts and all. If you can get with that, you too may find a place here.”
Check out this short documentary about this simple, yet extraordinary island. We get to meet some of the residents and get a real feel for what it is like actually living here.