Mount Norman, Pender Island Photo: Kim Walker
Pender Island is one of the spectacular Southern Gulf Islands located in the Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia) between Vancouver and Victoria with stunning views in every direction. It is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve that consists of lands on 16 islands, plus numerous small islets and reef areas. Recreational opportunities include boating, kayaking, picnicking, hiking and simply enjoying the many sheltered beaches. Pender Island has dozens of walking and hiking trails from beach strolls to logging roads and uphill climbs. One of the most beautiful is the hike from Roesland on North Pender over to Roe Lake and down to Shingle Bay. Rent a bicycle, play a round of golf and go paddling. While on Pender Island, make sure you visit local artisans and galleries, sip on a glass of wine or cider, sample local produce and take time to relax.
Pender is only a 40-minute ferry ride from the BC Ferries terminal at Swartz Bay near Victoria, and less than 2 hours on the ferry from Tsawwassen near Vancouver.
Pender Island was named by Captain Richards for Staff Commander (later Captain) Daniel Pender, R.N. who surveyed the coast of British Columbia aboard the Plumper, the HMS Hecate and the Beaver from 1857 to 1870.
Pender Island consists of two islands, North Pender and South Pender, which are separated by a narrow canal originally dredged in 1903. In 1955 the islands were connected by a one lane bridge, as it remains today. North Pender was the scene of rivalry for many years between Hope Bay and Port Washington, where the first wharf was built in 1891. Both sites lobbied for the ferry and post office, and both won – on and off. The first postmaster, Washington Grimmer, brought the mail to North Pender by rowboat from Mayne Island.
Now the rivalry is gone and both locations, still steeped in history with their red “government docks” and country stores are popular destinations for locals and tourists.