Gabriola Honour Shops

“Do you know where I can get a nice piece of pottery for my Mother?”

A friend from the big big city was staying with us on Gabriola Island.

“She collects a lot of white pottery – heavy, obviously handmade, different.”

Aha! We knew just the place.

The friend looked a touch skeptical as I drove through this and that backroad, well away from the pretty gallery signs.

“Are you lost?”

A reasonable question, given my stunted spatial sense.

“Nope! We’re here.”

‘Here’ was a lean-to at the edge of someone’s property. The lights were off, windows closed, nobody home. Yet, there on a rickety bookshelf were beautiful pieces of off-white pottery, laid out with price labels. $23, $31, $45.

“I don’t get it?” Our friend was baffled. “Who watches the stuff? Where do you pay?”

“It’s an honour system. You choose the one you want, then leave cash in the box.”


He couldn’t get his head around it. Pottery just sitting there for the taking. An unlocked box with cash in it. Shoppers taking and paying exactly what they should, sometimes leaving extra cash.

These honour shops are dotted around Gabriola. Perhaps they are on islands or small towns you visit too?

Here, you’ll find pottery and other handmade creations, farm eggs, plants, freshly-picked bouquets, vegetables and fruits.

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Others run their honour shops as mini-flea markets or antique shops. Bring cash!

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Written by Elizabeth Newton

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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton