Discover Pender Island, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty
Pender Island, located in the Salish Sea, British Columbia, Canada, is a part of the Southern Gulf Islands. With an area of approximately 34 km2, it is home to about 2,250 permanent residents and a large seasonal population. The island enjoys a sub-Mediterranean climate and features open farmland, rolling forested hills, several lakes, small mountains, and numerous coves and beaches.
The Geography of Pender Island, British Columbia
Pender Island is divided into two islands, North Pender and South Pender, separated by a narrow canal dredged in 1903. The islands were connected by a one-lane bridge in 1955, which remains today. Most of the population and services are located on North Pender Island, with the highest concentration surrounding the upscale Magic Lake.
The Rich History of Pender Island, British Columbia
Pender Island was inhabited by Coast Salish peoples speaking the North Straits Salish language at the time of European contact. An Indian reserve at Hay Point on South Pender Island is home to members of the Tsawout and Tseycum First Nations. Carbon dating of artifacts in shell middens near Shark Cove identifies an Indigenous village site that has been inhabited for five millennia.
The island was visited by a Spanish expedition led by Francisco de Eliza in 1791, who named it "Ysla de San Eusevio". The islands were later named after Captain Daniel Pender, who surveyed the coast of British Columbia from 1857 to 1870. The first permanent resident of European descent arrived on South Pender Island in 1886.
Culture and Recreation on Pender Island, British Columbia
Pender Island is a popular destination for fishing, boating, scuba diving, and other outdoor activities. The island has a 9-hole golf course and a 27-hole disc golf course called Golf Island Disc Park. Pender Island is also home to Canada's first olive grove, Waterlea Farm.
The Pender Islands Handbook, a 400-page traveler's reference, provides information on hiking, biking, boating, and the history of the islands. The Pender Post, the island's locally-owned independent newspaper, has been operating since 1971.
Parks and Beaches of Pender Island, British Columbia
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers opportunities for boating, kayaking, hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The park features several trails, including a difficult 1.5 km trail at Beaumont and Mt. Norman, and a moderate 1.5 km trail at Roe Lake. Visitors can also explore a historic 1908 farmhouse restored by members of the Pender Islands Museum Society at Roesland.
Camping on Pender Island, British Columbia
Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers two camping options on North Pender: The drive-in, frontcountry sites at Prior Centennial Campground or the walk-in (or kayak-in) backcountry sites at Shingle Bay. Private camping is also available at Port Browning Marina.
Transport to Pender Island, British Columbia
Pender Island can be accessed by regular ferry service provided by BC Ferries from Swartz Bay (near Victoria), Tsawwassen (near Vancouver), and other southern Gulf Islands. The island also offers scheduled seaplane and water taxi services, and a system of "car stops," Pender Island's official alternative to hitchhiking. The island also has a helicopter pad located near the main shopping mall, the Driftwood Centre.