About Camp Artaban

OUr vision statement

Experience camping in a unique waterfront island setting where campers are challenged to be their best in a safe, Christian community.


Our Mission Statement

Camp Artaban’s Purpose is to challenge children, youth, and adults, spiritually, mentally and physically in a camping context; so that they may be brought into a closer relationship with God and each other in a loving community.

our core values

Respect, Safety, Openness, Stewardship, Community, Christian

a far cry from the busyness of life

Camp Artaban is described as “awesome” by youth and “paradise” by adults. Less than one third of its scenic setting is used for accommodation and activity, leaving 47 pristine acres and access to hundreds of acres of crown land for natural exploration, outdoor adventure and all levels of hiking.

Summer breezes play on the sea and send ripples of sparkling sunlight toward a rocky shore. One hundred year old cedars climb the craggy mountains toward an endless sky. A dappled fawn meanders through the firs and ancient stumps while the branches overhead rustle from the beating of a raven’s wings.

Camp Artaban is scenic, serene and seldom silent. Its soundtrack is underscored with the laughter and shouting of boys and girls at play and the breeze carries voices rising and falling in song. The waterfront is alive with splashing and shrieking as chattering children conquer their fears and boldly leap into the cool, echoing waters.

The ancient cedars muffle the gasps of young climbers when they reach the heights and take in the breathless views on the many hiking trails. A twig is snapped by the fawn as he disappears back into the brush. Paper artwork carefully hung to dry crackles in the breeze. Sleeping bags are zipped and unzipped, confidences are whispered, cameras click, lunch dishes clatter, a young archer’s arrow whistles through the air and thwacks the target, the breeze carries the splashing of oars in water and the boisterous shouting from an impromptu Capture the Flag game mingled with the cries of a gull and stirring spiritual music radiating from the chapel in the woods.

Children deserve to play in natural spaces drenched with drowsy sunlight or summer mist. They deserve to discover how God’s love adorns leafy trees, sparkling waters and forest trails. Children deserve to laugh and run, far from concrete and smog, strong in the knowledge of God’s grace. Children and youth deserve to experience Camp Artaban.

Where we started

Camp Artaban has been providing Christian Camping, rooted in Anglican tradition, on Gambier Island in Howe Sound, since 1923, making it one of the oldest camps in British Columbia. The site was chosen by a group of ministers and businessmen under the leadership of Bishop Heathcote and the first camp was held in 1923. Transportation from Vancouver was via Union Steamship, and campers and luggage were deposited on a small, floating dock in the middle of the bay. From there, they were rowed to the campsite, where they slept in tents or “chicken coops” (open air huts on the west side of the creek where the craft building now stands).

What’s in a name?

In 1927, Jesse Valiant (nee Sewell) suggested the name “Artaban” after reading Henry Van Dyke’s The Other Wise Man. This book tells the story of the legendary “fourth” wiseman, Artaban, who travels to see the Christ child. Artaban struggles to reach his goal, carrying valuable gifts — a sapphire, a ruby and a pearl — to give to the Messiah.

During his journey, Artaban finds that there are many people with immediate needs around him. He stops to help each needy individual he meets, using his precious jewels along the way, and thus is too late to meet the other wisemen or the Christ child in Bethlehem.

While he misses the Lord’s birth, Artaban does pursue God throughout his life and in a special way he serves the Lord in each generous action he takes. Thus, Artaban finds and serves Christ as he “walks” through life. Through his actions he meets the Messiah that he so longed to serve.