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Mayne Island/Canada

Introducing Mayne Island

Once a stopover for gold rush miners (who nicknamed it 'Little Hell') on their way to the mainland, Mayne is the region's most historic island. Long past its importance as a commercial hub, it now houses a colorful clutch of resident artists. For further information, visit www.mayneislandchamber.ca.

The heritage Agricultural Hall in Miners Bay hosts the lively farmers market of local crafts and produce, while the nearby Plumper Pass Lock-up is a tiny museum that originally served as a jailhouse.

Among the most visit-worthy galleries and artisan studios on the island is Mayne Island Glass Foundry, where recycled glass is used to fashion new jewelry and ornaments – pick up a cool green-glass slug for the road.

The south shore's Dinner Bay Park has a lovely sandy beach, as well as a Japanese Garden. Built by locals to commemorate early-20th-century Japanese residents, it's immaculately landscaped and is lit up with fairy lights at Christmas.

For paddlers and pedalers, Mayne Island Kayaking offers rentals and tours.

If it's time to eat, head to Wild Fennel Restaurant, which specializes in seasonal fresh ingredients. The menu changes constantly, but hope for the Crab Three Ways – crab served in salad, bisque and lollipop form.

If you're just too lazy to head back to the mainland, Mayne Island Resort combines ocean-view rooms in a century-old inn with swanky new luxe beach cottages. There's also a large resto-bar and a new spa.