Carol Martin

Small Town Retirement

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Carol Martin has been described as the "Match Maker of People to Properties on Gabriola Island". She specializes in Gabriola Island real estate properties, where each transaction is as unique as the island itself. Moving to Gabriola from Vancouver, Carol quickly became immersed in the community of Gabriola through the Lions Club, the Gabriola Arts Council, Gabriola Theatre Festival, the Silva Bay Yacht Club, Silva Bay Kayaking Adventures, Gabriola’s Garden Club, and the Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre. Clearly a people-person, there is nothing more important to Carol than delivering superb customer service.

retirement 1If cost isn’t an issue, then there are plenty of beautiful places to spend your retirement: a penthouse in Saint-Tropez, perhaps a small winery in Tuscany, or a hideaway in the Bahamas.

For most retirees, the issue of cost is a factor. So, when we start to think about retirement, the first question we ask is “Can I afford a home in that particular location?” The second question we often ask is, “Would I enjoy living there?”

Looking to move to an affordable home in a community that offers a good quality of life is, for most retirees, a dream come true. Fitting all the necessary puzzle pieces together, we could focus on health, happiness, affordability and lifestyle. These four pillars of life are much the same anywhere in the world. Being sensible about it all, we’ll spend some time discovering Gabriola, Gulf Islands, British Columbia, Canada.

retirement 2Gabriola boasts a warmer all-year-round climate than almost anywhere else in Canada and although a rural island, Gabriola offers amenities designed to entice retirees. Plus, and this is the great news, Gabriola property is very affordable.

Given the market values of just about any major city in Canada, a home on Gabriola will realize definite savings. For instance, you’re moving from Edmonton … or Calgary … or Toronto … or Vancouver, where average detached houses are selling for upwards of $400,000 to $1M+. Costs of living in these places tend to be steeper as well.

Now consider a move to a Gabriola home where a 1,400 sq foot, three bedroom home, on acreage, with a garage/workshop come in at somewhere between $300,000 – $400,000. There is a premium to pay for waterfront, but again, look at well under $1M and you’ll have a home you’ll love for many years.

retirement 3Price isn’t everything, I know. Proximity to medical facilities and the usual amenities you’ve come to take for granted in the city are high on your list of needs.  Well guess what?  We have most if not all of those right here on Gabriola. In fact, my next post will be highlighting all we do have on Gabriola, and why I love living here.

So, what’s it like living on Gabriola Island? Well, for many living on the Island, time is a concept, not a dictator. I love watching newcomers adjust to the pace of life. You can see a physical change in people as they start to settle in. Scheduling every minute of a day makes you ask where the years went. On Gabriola, when the sun rises, a new day begins. When the sun sets, a new night starts. It’s as simple as that. The sun doesn’t live by the clock and neither do the Islanders. It makes me chuckle to think that I once purported to be the “Five-Minute Manager” or was it the “One-Minute Manager” in my busy Vancouver city life.

retirement 4Being more relaxed about time doesn’t mean there is little to do on Gabriola – just the opposite. New residents are often surprised at the number of events and programs that are available, from professional and community theatre to tennis, from kayaking to painting, from sea fishing to walking the Island’s amazing trails.

Ever wanted to volunteer for a deep passion that you’ve had all your life? It is likely you will find it here, where learning and growing in a safe environment will give you that quick step and instant friends with big hearts.

It has been said that vibrancy on the Island is characterized by the ability of people from different generations, interest groups and backgrounds to work together. The Island’s dynamic and often creative community has demonstrated many times its capacity to act jointly and to generate bold solutions to common issues. Collaborating in this way has helped the community benefit socially, culturally, economically and environmentally. Most certainly these benefits have been achieved in no small measure through the highly active, vocal and organized volunteer and community sector.

retirement 5The people of the Island come from all walks of life. Perhaps initially, the only things they have in common are a zest for life and a real estate investment on Gabriola. Many though, do seem to have an enthusiasm for all things artistic: music, theatre, poetry and the visual arts. This has resulted in the Island attracting wonderfully talented artists, and producing incredible events, festivals and concerts.

In recent times, Gabriola real estate has been an attractive proposition for many academics, business people and executives. The younger generation are also impacting positively on the community. A number of young families have properties on Gabriola and are spearheading a renaissance in local food systems, taking advantage of renewed consumer interest in eating locally grown and produced food.

retirement 6Or maybe the vibrancy is simply more to do with the Island’s natural beauty and climate. The dry Mediterranean summers and mild winters, combined with the splendor of its beaches, forests and world-class views, have the ability to make anyone energetic, spirited and vibrant!

You’ll wish you’d arrived years ago. So, what’s stopping you?!


Carol Martin_featuredCarol Martin
Coast Realty Group
Email Carol



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  1. What about rental properties? I no longer want the responsibility of a house.

    • Hi Wendy. Thank you for asking about rentals on Gabriola, and my apologies that I’ve taken so long to reply. We do have rentals but you would need to check out our newspaper – Gabriola Sounder ads, or Kijiji or Craig’s List. Probably the best way is to contact our Coast Realty Property Management division in Nanaimo. They look after rentals on Gabriola.

      Any other questions, I would be very pleased to help in any way I can. All the best!

      Carol Martin

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