Travel Spotlight

Heriot Bay

Heriot Bay is the picturesque hub of the east side of Quadra Island, facing the dramatic views of the mainland coast. It is the port of departure for the regular ferry service to Cortes Island and is also the point of departure for the north end of Quadra Island which includes, Granite Bay, Bold Point, Surge Narrows, Walcan, Main Lakes Chain, Open Bay, Village Bay Lake and many of the hiking trails that criss-cross the upper end of the island. It has an abundance of things to see and do including the art gallery, Government Wharf, boat & kayak rentals, and more. In Cape Mudge the native Artists & Carving Centre provides a spectacular facility for the creation of new works. Nearby Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park is a narrow hook of land on the east side of Quadra Island and excellent for beach exploration and picnicking. Sandy beaches line both sides of the 2-km spit. Walking trails lead along both sides of Rebecca Spit and offer ample opportunities for exploring the beach. Swimming, fishing and kayaking are all popular. Fishing for salmon is very popular in the waters around Quadra Island and hiking opportunities are plentiful on the island, whether you enjoy a gentle stroll or a more vigorous all-day hike. One of the best ways to see Quadra is to cycle. You can choose to tour Quadra’s scenic roadways or to explore the many trails. Interesting sights are within a short pedalling distance of Quathiaski Cove or Heriot Bay.


The Discovery Islands are a group of rugged, forested islands located 150 km (100 mi) northwest of Vancouver. The two most populous islands, Cortes Island and Quadra Island, are served by regular ferry service via the city of Campbell River on Vancouver Island.

A Step Back in Time

Quadra Island was home to the Coast Salish peoples until the arrival of Captain George Vancouver in the late 18th-century. He came to Cape Mudge in 1792 and found a settled community with long houses, boats, and approximately 350 residents. It was not his arrival, however, that drove them out, but rather an invasion by other First Nations people in the early 19th-century. The We Wai Kai band of the Kwagiulth continue to live in the village of Cape Mudge today.

Quadra Island was named after Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, the Spanish Naval Officer and close friend of George Vancouver. The island remained a pristine wilderness until the 1880s, when it became known as one of the few Gulf Islands where both logging and mining could be profitable. The Lucky Jim mine opened in 1903 and for a time yielded tonnes of gold and copper ore. A fish-canning plant also flourished in the early 1900s, at its heyday employing between 200-300 workers. It burnt down in 1941 and was never rebuilt. By 1904, Quadra had two post offices, a school, hotel, lumber camps, mills, and a mission. A passenger ferry started in 1949 and a car ferry in 1960.

The Heriot Bay Inn was established in 1895 by Hosea Arminis Bull. The building burned down and was subsequently rebuilt in 1912. In addition to its 19 sleeping rooms, the newly-built hotel boasted a large office where travelers gathered around the fireplace to socialize and tell stories, an upstairs dance hall, and an aviary containing rare canaries. Mr. Hosea Bull sold the Inn in 1926, two years after his wife passed away. It changed hands again in 1943 and was renovated by the new owners. Renovations continued and the sleeping rooms all received their own bathrooms in 1986. 2005 marked the launch of a major renovation and additions project under the direction of new owner Lorraine Wright. This major project included upgraded rooms and a new harbour view patio, cozy fireside lounge, enlarged and finished dining room, adventure centre office, and an upgraded marina. There were also new gardens, and landscaping renovations. Today, you’ll still find much of the original historic 1912 structure. The warm wood panelling and single-pane windows found in the office & lounge are a few of the historic clues. The main wing of Mr. Hosea Bull’s original Inn is now the lounge, office, and lobby. The wing with the gift shop was turned 90 degrees in 1943 and attached to the main wing, creating an L-shaped structure. The Inn’s historic roots blend beautifully with the new additions, showcasing the best of both.

Contact Information

Travel Spotlight
Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989