Travel Spotlight

Quadra Island

Quadra Island is one of the Discovery Islands situated between Vancouver Island and the BC mainland and is a popular destination for relaxation and outdoor activities. Heriot Bay is the picturesque hub of the east side of Quadra Island, facing the dramatic views of the mainland coast. It offers an art gallery, Government Wharf, boat & kayak rentals, and more. Cape Mudge village is on the south-west shore of the island in a lovely bay looking across Discovery Passage. The rich culture of the Kwakwak’awakw First Nations is showcased in the renowned Museum and the adjacent Artists & Carving Centre provides a spectacular facility for the creation of new works. Quadra’s rich marine environment and extensive freshwater lakes system provide many choices for boaters and anglers. The sheltered waters on the east side of Quadra are ideal for sea kayaking. Browsing galleries and studios can offer a relaxing alternative to outdoor activities. The creative spirit is strong here and is reflected in the quality work produced by the Island’s artists and artisans. Cycling is a way of life and often the best way to see the many interesting sights. Bikes can be rented.

Location

The Discovery Islands are a group of rugged, forested islands located 150 km (100 mi) north west of Vancouver. Quadra Island is served by a 10-minute ferry service via 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.

Today, Quadra Island is home to a lively close-knit community of 2,700 people from all walks of life and all parts of the world. The We Wai Kai band of the indigenous Laichwiltach People, (Kwakwak’awakw First Nation) reside at Cape Mudge (Yaculta). Nearby Quathiaski Cove is the main port of arrival and commercial hub of the island. Picturesque Heriot Bay serves as the departure point for the ferry to Cortes Island and other boat services to the outer Discovery Islands.

Contact Information

www.quadraisland.ca

Camping Lodging

The Super Camping / Select Lodging Guide

First Published in 1989