Garden Bay is a small community of some 330 people located on the Sunshine Coast. Collectively, Garden Bay, Madeira Park, and Irvine's Landing are known as Pender Harbour.
The Pender Harbour area was originally occupied by the Coast Salish First Nations. The first European settler was a man named Charles Irvine who built a log trading post and became involved in the gold rush. In 1904, he sold his property to "Portuguese Joe" Gonsalves and his Salish Coast Nation wife, Susan Harris. Together, they further developed the area building a dock, general store, post office and hotel/saloon.
Garden Bay was named after a government surveyor, a Mr. Garden, who was assigned to mapping and naming the area, and it seems was lacking in imagination, leaving the community with Garden Bay, Garden Bay Road, Garden Peninsula and Garden Bay Lake.
Garden Bay is located in Pender Harbour, 71 km (44 mi) north of Langdale ferry terminal on the Sunshine Coast. From Vancouver, take the Horseshoe Bay Ferry in West Vancouver to Langdale and drive Highway 101 and follow signs for Garden Bay Road.
The historic Sundowner Inn was built in 1929, and originally served as a hospital for the Columbia Coast Mission. Known as St. Mary's Hospital, the injured, sick, and expectant mothers came here. In 1964, the hospital was closed down and the original building converted into a hotel.
The community of Garden Bay is the gateway to Garden Bay Marine Provincial Park, which features 200 m (650 ft) of shoreline, and Mount Daniel towering in the background. Open all year, the park is a popular boating area, with many marinas and other services, as well as excellent fishing, swimming and picnicking.
There are over 100 popular dive sites on the Sunshine Coast. Sechelt Inlet is rated one of the world's top 20 recreational dives by Scuba Diving Magazine. A popular dive site is the 366-foot wreck of the HMCS Chaudiere at the mouth of Salmon Inlet, which was scuttled in 1992 by the Artificial Reef Society of BC.
Sailing or boating in the sheltered waters off Pender Harbour provides endless days of relaxation and pleasure. Kayaking is popular in the bays along the coast where you can see plenty of wildlife.
Enjoy relaxing walks down easy paths, or go on more difficult hikes through the area surrounding Pender Harbour. The routes to Pender Hill and up Mount Danial are popular with experienced hikers, their summits providing spectacular views overlooking the harbour.
The Sunshine Coast offers many wonderful opportunities for both saltwater and lake fishing, whether on your own or on a guided tour. The Strait of Georgia is a migratory route for salmon and the deep waters of Pender Harbour are excellent for lingcod. Shellfish in the area include prawns, oysters, crab and clams. Lakes are full of rainbow, steelhead and cutthroat trout.
Golfing is a favourite pastime in this area. The 18-hole Sunshine Coast Golf & Country Club in Roberts Creek (between Gibsons and Sechelt) is carved from the rainforest and accessed east of Highway 101. Located close to Sechelt, the Sechelt Golf & Country Club is an 18-hole par 72 championship course with stunning views of the Sunshine Coast and mountains. The Pender Harbour Golf Course is a 9-hole course set amid the lakes and mountains close to Madeira Park.
Trail rides are available for all riding levels from Pender Harbour where horses take their riders into the mountains and views of the ocean, Pender Harbour, the Caren Mountain Range and mount Daniel are spectacular.
Pender Harbour Online
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia