British Columbia Travel Guide
The unofficial BC Travel & Tourism Guide
There are few places in the world where such a variety of climatic influences come together and create the beauty that is found on the islands in the Gulf of Georgia. The Japan Current chills the waters on the foggy B.C. coast, and the islands are about 50 degrees north. On the other hand, the mountains in the centre of Vancouver Island protect the inside waters from the open ocean, the strong tidal currents are diminished in the central and northern Strait, and summers are usually long, hot and dry.
Denman Island is a perfect example of a place to benefit from these contrasts. Arbutus trees drop their strange red, skin-like bark amongst conifer forests; a cool but fecund sea washes over warm sandstone bays; apple orchards thrive; and kayaks and sailboats safely ply the shores and channels. Islanders often say they have found paradise and visitors will return year after year. Facing Vancouver Island across Baynes Sound, the western shores are steeper and dominated by forests of Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar. The eastern side is of loamy sand, and in the north, a long sand spit is separated into shallow channels at high tide. The clear green waters glow over the sand and broken clamshells. The island is about 5km wide and 19km long.
The island has been long known for its thriving community of artists. People escaping urban areas have been coming for decades to enjoy an alternative way of life. A minimal but adequate array of services is provided on the island: post office, gas station, school, bakery, community halls, grocery store, craft stores and pubs. There are numerous B&Bís, guesthouses and cabins for rent.
Activities include rural walking and biking, garden tours, art shows, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and sailing. There are two provincial parks: Boyle Point on the south and Sandy Island Marine Provincial Park on the north. A regular car ferry service carries visitors from Vancouver Island to Denman. From there, you can continue across the island and take another ferry to neighbouring Hornby Island.
Location and access
Denman Island is located 75km north of the city of Nanaimo, and just south of Courtenay. It is accessible by a ferry from Buckley Bay. Crossing time is 10 minutes.
Denman Island Accommodations
Denman Island Things to Do