The Gulf Islands are comprised of 14 islands situated in the Strait of Georgia, between mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island. And although each has a unique personality, topography and community, none is quite so unique as Pender Island.
Pender is actually comprised of two separate islands - the North Island and the South Island. Together, their standing population floats around 25 hundred residents but due to the fantastic fishing, exceptional boating, picturesque beaches, lush forests and rolling farmlands, the seasonal population is drastically higher; because when the warm, sub-Mediterranean weather hits, droves of visitors arrive by ferry, floatplane, water taxi and helicopter to enjoy everything the two islands have to offer.
Most of the Pender population is concentrated on the north island around the community of Magic Lake but the narrow canal that separates the two islands is spanned by a small bridge, making the untamed rural charm of the south island readily accessible. And while these islands are more beautiful than big, don't let their size fool you. The north island commercial hub that is The Driftwood Centre has grocery stores, a liquor store, a gym, a bank, a post office, a bakery and even a pharmacy. Maybe a lazier afternoon is in order… Drive ten minutes and you'll find the galleries, bookstores and cafes of Hope Bay. One of the islands' most popular events is the Saturday morning Farmer's Market, a bustling bonanza of arts and crafts, entertainment and of course, produce.
Recreation takes an interesting twist here. While the islands are home to a beautiful 9-hole golf course, it's the 27-hole disc golf course that has made a name for itself. Golf Island Disc Park is home to The Pender Island Invitational - an internationally-acclaimed Frisbee-golf tournament that has, since the mid-nineties, been attracting 'athletes' from all over the world. Play involves a 27 hole-round that decides who will win The Bark - a gnarled chunk of arbutus that bears the names of this unconventional competition's previous winners (Keepers of the Bark). The course is comprised of tone poles for the front nine while the middle and back nine are chain baskets. Whether spectator or participant, this event might just be the most unique part of your vacation.
If you're looking for conventional fun, Pender is one amazing place for almost any water-sport imaginable, from scuba diving to kayaking to wakeboarding.
This is Pender. Make it your island this vacation.
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