Victoria Nearby: Pender Islands
North and South Pender islands, also known as the "friendly islands" are joined by a bridge. The 34 square kilometres of island have 1,800 permanent residents. Originally the islands were joined by a narrows sandy neck called Indian Portage, which was dredged in 1903. The highway bridge re-connecting the islands was built in 1955. Most residents live on North Pender around Magic Lake.
Ferry access to the Pender islands is at Otter Bay on the north-west end.
You can rent bikes at various places on the islands. The public beach access points around the island are well marked, so you can enjoy the water whenever the spirit hits. Hamilton Beach on North Pender and Mortimer Spit on South Pender are two of the best beaches. Beaumont Park is a 20 minute hike from the Mt. Norman parking lot, or by boat. It has camping, picnicking, swimming, water & toilets. Mortimer Spit, off Canal Road between North and South Pender, is a popular spot for on-beach picnics and small boat launching. Near Driftwood Centre is Prior Centennial Provincial Park, with the only camping spots accessible by road.
The islands have a number of small communities, including Port Washington (on Grimer Bay), Hope Bay (with great trails and bird watching), Driftwood Centre (the island's commercial centre) and Bedwell Harbour. Driftwood Centre has a bakery, deli, grocery store, post office, pharmacy, gift store, clothing store, a gallery/book shop, a liquor store and a real estate office. And on Saturdays in summer & fall, a Farmers' Market is held at Driftwood Mall and at the Community Hall. In other pars of the Islands, you can get groceries at Magic Lake Market, Poets Cove Marina and the Otter Bay Marina.
Business listings for Pender Islands
This is a major port of entry, with a summer time Canada Customs station for boats and sea planes. You can take guided tours of Coast Salish archeology on the North Pender side of the canal. You can take a path to Egeria Rock, where a cliff face has the inscription HMS EGERIA 1904, a British surveying ship that was stationed at nearby Esquimalt. The Church of Good Shepherd is a rustic Anglican church built in 1938 by island pioneers. Offshore is Beaumont Marine Park, accessible only by boat. A trail leads up to Mt Norman, which at 260 metres high, is the highest point on the Penders.