Discovering Roberts Creek, British Columbia: A Community Rich in History and Culture
Roberts Creek, British Columbia, known in the shíshálh language as xwesam, is a vibrant community nestled on the southern Sunshine Coast. This charming locale is situated within Electoral Area D of the Sunshine Coast Regional District, straddling the border of the shíshálh swiya (land, birthplace, "Territory" of the shíshálh Nation) and the territory of the Squamish Nation.
The Historical Roots of Roberts Creek, British Columbia
Roberts Creek has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Prior to European settlement, the area was seasonally utilized by both the shíshálh and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh peoples, who were drawn to the salmon-bearing creeks that drain into the Salish Sea. The community is named after William Roberts, the first European settler in the area. In the 1960s and 70s, Roberts Creek became a haven for American draft dodgers fleeing the Vietnam War, leading to the formation of several well-known communes.
Exploring the Infrastructure of Roberts Creek, British Columbia
"Downtown" Roberts Creek, affectionately known as 'The Heart of the Creek', is a bustling hub located near the beach where Lower Road, Roberts Creek Road, and Beach Avenue intersect. This area is home to an elementary school, the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 219, a post office, library, general store, cafe, restaurant, and other small businesses. The volunteer fire department and Roberts Creek Hall, a venue for live music, dances, community events, and craft fairs, are situated at the top of Roberts Creek Road at the highway.
Roberts Creek is also home to several beautiful beaches and the popular Roberts Creek Provincial Park. In 2020, the Province, in collaboration with the shíshálh Nation, installed dual-language she shashishalhem-English road signs along Highway 101, allowing visitors to locate Roberts Creek by its traditional name, xwesam.
Demographics of Roberts Creek, British Columbia
According to the 2016 census, the total population of Roberts Creek was 3,421, with a population density of 23.8 people per square kilometre. The census identified two separate areas: the 'Population centre' and the 'Designated place', each with nearly equal populations. Despite this, the land area of the "Downtown" incorporated population centre is much smaller than the unincorporated part of town. Like many small West Coast Canadian communities, the average age in Roberts Creek is older than the national average.
The Vibrant Arts and Culture Scene in Roberts Creek, British Columbia
Roberts Creek boasts a vibrant arts community, hosting a yearly Art Crawl and housing a collection of accomplished artists and writers. The annual festival, Creek Daze, is held in early August and features a parade, second-hand book sale, live music, and craft and food stalls. Regular live music, craft shows, and other events are held at the community centre, Roberts Creek Hall.
The community also celebrates Earth Day at the beach in April, and the Day Out of Time Celebration on July 25 each year. This event is preceded by the yearly painting of the Roberts Creek Mandala, a community art project, and culminates in a dedication of the new mandala with a community dance.
Roberts Creek is also known for its horse area above Highway 101, with riding trails all over the mountains, including a main feeder route to Electric Ranch. The annual Halloween celebration, EEK! the Creek, includes a Zombie Walk, Grave Decorating Competition, and Online Community Story Writing Contest.