Hornby Island

Discover Hornby Island, British Columbia: A Blend of History, Nature, and Community

Hornby Island, British Columbia, Canada, is a gem nestled among the northernmost Gulf Islands, its sibling being Denman Island. This quaint island, located near Vancouver Island's Comox Valley, is a haven for artists, retired professionals, small business owners, remote workers, and young families who cherish the tranquility of rural island life.

Hornby Island, British Columbia: A Coveted Destination

With a small community of 1,225 residents as of the 2021 census, Hornby Island has evolved into a coveted destination over the past 30 years. During the summer months, the island's population quadruples as visitors flock to enjoy its natural beauty. The shoulder seasons are ideal for hiking, mountain biking, marine activities, weddings, and retreats.

Access to the island is primarily through ferries from Buckley Bay, Vancouver Island, although a growing number of private boats moor at the Ford Cove Marina or anchor at Tribune Bay. The nearest airport is Comox Valley Airport in Comox, offering regional, national, and international service.

Exploring Hornby Island, British Columbia

The island's primary attractions include Tribune Bay Provincial Park, Helliwell Provincial Park, Ford's Cove, Heron Rocks, and Whaling Station Bay. Hornby Island is also a popular mountain biking destination, with designated trails in Mount Geoffrey Regional Nature Park, Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Provincial Park, and Crown Land. The island spans 29.92 square kilometres (11.55 sq mi), with 40% of its area dedicated to parkland.

Hornby Island, British Columbia: A Glimpse into its Geology and History

Hornby Island's unique geography is a result of post-glacial rebound following the retreat of the last ice age. Before European settlers arrived, the island was home to the Pentlatch, a Coast Salish First Nations band who named the island Ja-dai-aich, meaning The Outer Island.

The island was discovered and named Isla de Lerena during the 1791 voyage of the Spanish ship Santa Saturnina, under Juan Carrasco and José María Narváez. The name honors Spanish Finance Minister, Don Pedro López de Lerena, who supported the movement of Spanish Ships to the region. In 1850, the British renamed the island after Rear Admiral Phipps Hornby, then Commander of the Pacific Station.

Hornby Island, British Columbia: A Rich Tapestry of Vegetation and Soils

Hornby Island is predominantly covered by mixed forest, with Douglas-fir being the dominant species. Other large conifers include western red cedar, western hemlock, grand fir, and lodgepole pine. The island's soils have developed from marine deposits of variable texture, with most of Hornby's soils being sandy or gravelly.

Fossil Hunting on Hornby Island, British Columbia

Hornby Island is a treasure trove for fossil collectors. Ammonite and Baculite fossils have been discovered at Boulder Point. A species of saurodontid fish, Gwawinapterus beardi, was identified based on a fossil found on a beach on Hornby Island.