Welcome to the Dictionary of Island Terms. Its purpose is to pin down the patois of Vancouver Island by recording its toponyms, nicknames, phenomena, slang, personalities and places. Explore the ever-growing A-Z here.

Milk Run | travel, ordeal | A local, commonly employed term that describes BC Ferries’ beautiful but time-consuming routes through the Gulf Islands or to more remote coastal communities where there are several stops along the way. The milk run from Tsawwassen, for example, visits Galiano, Pender, Mayne, Saturna and Salt Spring. The old Queen of Chilliwack milk run was an epic 17-hour cruise from Port Hardy to faraway spots like Klemtu, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Shearwater and Ocean Falls.

If you’re in the mood to chill on a beautiful day, the milk run can be a magical, affordable escape that glides past some of British Columbia’s most stunning shorescapes. If you’re commuting or in a hurry, however, it’s an interminable nightmare that can’t end soon enough. The term originally came to common parlance during World War II among Allied bomber crews who used it to describe a safe or otherwise uneventful mission involving multiple stages and/or targets (as if they were milkmen delivering the milk).

Usage: “Hi Mom. I made the ferry just in time but it’s a milk run so it’s probably best that you start dinner without me.”

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