When Merv and Annette Sweeny did a subdivision of five acre view lots along North Road in the late 80′s , they offered the community land on which to build a recycling depot. There was a contest to name the road that was built to access the depot, and many entries were filed in the box at ‘D’Pizza’ ( the predecessor to Windeckers/ Suzy’s/ and now ’Robert’s')
’The winning name is a slight variation of an infamous neighbourhood in Manhattan – Tin Pan Alley – that was the centre of the American music industry in the mid to late 1800′s. Here, Tin Can Alley is the centre of the Gabriola recycling industry, and the social experience that comes with it. Many dedicated volunteers man the Gabriola Island Recycling Organization (GIRO) depot every Wednesday and Saturday. They are joined by a procession of recycling islanders, many of whom make it a social event, and linger to chat with friends and neighbours over a bin of cardboard or plastic. It speaks well of Gabriola’s roots as a down-to-earth community – and there are some fine bargains to be had.
Directly across North Road from Tin Can Alley, is an inobtrusive access to Gabriola’s 707 acres of community forest. The ‘single track’ trail leads between some private acreages and ends up connecting to a myriad of trails that wind through this large chunk of Gabriola’s hinterland.