Now featuring the new 2016 10th Anniversary Edition
This portion of the website is the extension of The Pender Islands Handbook featuring updates, news, links and other features.
The Pender Islands are a northwest vacation paradise located in the Gulf Islands along the ferry route between Vancouver and Victoria in southern British Columbia, Canada. Resplendent with parkland, the Penders offer a low-key commune with nature while providing enough services to satisfy both visitors and residents.The Pender Islands Handbook was released in July 2006 updated in July 2009 for the 2nd Edition, and again in 2016 for the 10th Anniversary Edition. It is the Penders' first comprehensive guidebook, with 400 pages of information useful for both visitors and residents. The highlight is a 75-page hiking and coastal access guide with detailed accompanying trail maps. Boaters will find the 50-page boating guide helpful whether setting out in a kayak, power, or sail boat. Check the Table of Contents below for a complete summary of its contents, or visit the link to amazon.com for a digital tour of the book.
The author, Richard Fox, is dedicated to providing purchasers of the book with the most up to date and accurate information possible. Since things continue to change on a regular basis, this website contains updates to the book. If readers discover anything in the book that has changed or is in error, they are urged to send an email to foxguidebooks(at)gmail.com.
This site also contains a Pender photo gallery, and links to Pender Islands Information.
The Pender Islands Handbook 10th Annviersary Edition is sold at Driftwood Centre at Pender's bookstore, Talisman Books, 250.629.6944. It is also available at the Pender Islands Museum and on line at Amazon.ca, Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk. Used copies of the various editions are typically available from other sellers.
News and Announcements
The Pender Islands Handbook was featured on a UK radio travel blog in January 2017, including an interview with the author about Pender Island.
Get interesting Pender Islands content by becoming a fan of the Pender Islands Handbook page on
For Facebook users there are lots of Pender Island related pages including: Pender Islands Arts Culture & Entertainment, Pender Islands Forum, Pender Islands Businesses, Pender Islands Online Market, Pender Island Housing, Pender Island Chamber of Commerce, Pender Island Museum, Pender Island Bicycle Gang, Pender Island Musicians etc
Orcas: Three of the six calves born during 2015 have died, and the resident orcas population is at its low point in recent years, with other mortality including 106 year old "granny." Be whale wise if boating. The residents were rarely seen along Pender during summer 2017 due to poor salmon stocks.
The Southern Gulf Islands were featured in the New York Times in an article "52 Places to go in 2016." (See #50 and link to "Comments on Facebook").
Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards has purchased defunct Saturna Vineyards for their grapes. Hopefully they will someday reopen the bistro and wine shop. Boaters stay tuned...
You can now attend a paddleboard yoga class on Pender Island, the first in the Gulf Islands. See Dog Mermaid: "excursions, rentals and retreats," located at Otter Bay. Also kayak and bike rentals; 250.222.0015
Cycling News: At present the following is not operating due to the mechanics leaving, but hopefully someday it will return: Pender has a bike shop, island style. Pender Island Recycling Depot operates "ReCYCLE." They offer tune ups ($10), repair ($20) & sell refurbished bikes for $20-$50. Coming to Pender & want a bike? Buy one & then contribute it back, or take it home. They also have an air pump.
Bike rentals at Otter Bay are now through Dog Mermaid. See also updates, Bicycling & Boating.
Bike rentals at Port Browning no longer include electric bikes, just pedal bikes, from Pender Island Kayak Adventures 250.629.6939.
Restaurant News: See Updates for the latest.
Shopping and Services: Sears Canada is out of business as of Oct 2017.
Trail News: See Updates, Hiking Guide.
Water Supply Study: Risk of Saltwater Intrusion (Simon Fraser U, 2016)
BC's Gulf Islands Have the 7th Best Coastline in the World! National Geographic Traveler rated coastlines around the world for authenticity and sustainability. Number 1 was Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. The Gulf Islands were in the "Top Rated" group: "In excellent shape, relatively unspoiled, and likely to remain so" with a score of 78/100, just 1 point behind Kauai's famed Na Pali Coast. Washington's neighbouring San Juan Islands were grouped in with "Puget Sound" way down the list with a score of 61, in the catagory "In the Balance - A mixed bag of successes and worries, with the future at risk." I can see some complaints coming about that one! Check out the list here.
Wifi Hotspots: Check these island locations for a free wifi signal: Community Hall, Library, Otter Bay Marina, Port Browning Pub, Slow Coast Cafe, Driftwood Centre, Poets Cove Resort. En route: Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen ferry terminals and the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen ferries. In many areas you need to be a Shaw subscriber to log in, such as Otter Bay.
The 10th Anniversary Edition versus the first two editions: The new edition began distribution in November 2016. The book was completely updated with the latest information including new hiking trails and ocean accesses, and all the info that was in the original book has been checked and updated. It's amazing how many things needed updating in a book so densely packed with information. New features were added as well, including the most recent map of the Car Stops and a complete Farms and Farm stands section. The latest printing has some updates made during summer 2017.
I would appreciate feedback on the updates that I post on this site. If you find the updates helpful, please let me know by sending a note to
For helpful Pender Island links and info, Click here.
This site now only updates the 10th Anniversary Edition (2016). For FREE updates, Click here.
US Passport Requirements Those traveling to the US via air, land or sea are now required to have a current Passport.
Boaters: Pleasure Craft Operators Cards (PCOC) Now Required All Canadian operators of any size motorized boat are required to carry a PCOC or face a fine of $250. Contact the Pender Island Squadron for information.
The Southern Resident Pods and Other Cetaceans: Resident and transient orcas have been sighted along Pender's shores for years, but now the humpback whale is making a comeback! See links to whale organizations on this website. The resident orcas are not doing well due to poor salmon runs in the region.
WHAT'S IN THE BOOK?
Check out the Table of Contents here or Look Inside the 1st Ed Book at Amazon.com
1 HOW TO USE THE BOOK Main Pender activities, how to use the book, etc.
2 INTRODUCTION Pender facts & figures; Pender information sources.
THE TRAVEL GUIDES
3 TRAVEL GUIDE Transportation options, complete BC Ferries and Washington ferries information, air travel summary with airline destinations, rail, rental cars etc. 30 pages.
4 ACCOMMODATIONS GUIDE Pender resorts, Inns, B&B's & campgrounds with rates.
5 DINING GUIDE Pender restaurants with sample menus, and groceries, produce, bakers, roasters and wineries on Pender and nearby.
6 SHOPPING & SERVICES GUIDE Where to buy just about anything by category on Pender and highlights of the Victoria area. Services and utilities available on Pender; post and courier, radio and TV station frequencies, Internet access, etc.
7 WEDDING GUIDE A wedding planner includes venues, vendors and locations for weddings. Also info of special interest for same-sex weddings, and LGBT resources in the region.
8 NEARBY ATTRACTIONS OFF-ISLAND Places accessible by public ferry, concentrating on the Victoria-Sidney area with a dining guide, list of attractions and the arts. Features on Butchart Gardens and Symphony Splash.
THE RECREATION GUIDES
9 RECREATION GUIDE Summary of recreation opportunities of all types available on Pender, and includes a web resource guide and regional ski area info.
10 GOLFING GUIDE Pender's popular 9 hole course and the world renowned Golf Island Disc Park are described in detail. A map and scorecards for the disc golf course are included.
11-12-13 COASTAL ACCESS AND HIKING GUIDE 75 pages of detailed information on 100 hiking trails and beaches around the islands. Features trail maps with topography, places to swim, summaries of trail types by difficulty, rankings of the trails and ocean accesses, etc.. All features are given a unique number and are cross-referenced in other chapters & maps.
14 BICYCLING GUIDE The complete 'Tour de Pender' ride is outlined km by km. Three best and easiest routes are presented 'for the rest of us.' Pender's road conditions are summarized, and off-island cycling highlights in the surrounding region from Vancouver to the San Juan Islands and Victoria are described.
15 BOATING GUIDE A 50-page summary of boating opportunities around the Pender Islands. Area cruising information is also included. The best kayaking routes around the Penders are described, and information about area fishing and diving is presented. Pender's marinas and anchorages are also described, along with info on customs, tides, and resources.
LIFE ON PENDER GUIDES
16 ARTS & ISLAND EVENTS Summary of Pender artists, musicians, writers, and theatre companies, All major annual events are listed.
17 THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT Contains Pender climate info and statistics, an orca-watching guide, birdwatching guide, gardening guide, flora, fauna, environmental issues and agencies, Pender geology, groundwater and water resources.
18 LIVING ON PENDER A historical timeline, Pender historic buildings, the Pender Museum, Health Services Guide for Pender and clinics/hospitals in Victoria area, School and Church Guide, Senior Citizens Guide, Government Agency Guide, Hazards, Pests, Emergency Preparedness & Procedures,
MAPS & INDEX
PENDER ISLANDS MAP ATLAS 25 detailed maps cover the islands, with 100 trails and roads mapped (and cross-referenced throughout the various chapters). Includes topography, places of interest, helpful phone numbers, emergency numbers, and maps of Victoria & Sidney.
INDEX 20-page index makes it easy to find what you are looking for.
Comments about this website? Please send an email to info (at)penderhandbookl(dot)com