THE PENDER ISLANDS HANDBOOK
UPDATES TO THE 10th ANNIVERARY EDITION (2016) AND BOOK REVIEWS.
THESE ARE ITEMS THAT HAVE CHANGED SINCE PUBLICATION OF THE 2016 EDITION.
Items marked with * were updated in the 2017 printing.
Last Updated April 2021
Chapter 3 Travel Guide
The new Salish ferries, Orca and Raven, now operate between Pender Isl and Tsawwassen replacing the Queen of Nanaimo, which is now in Fiji. Some sailings stop at Long Harbour, Salt Spring Island first instead of Galiano and Mayne Islands.
Chapter 4 Accommodations and Camping
Chapter 5 Dining
* New for summer 2021 at Hope Bay:
The Hub Mediterranean flatbread, tapas, etc and workspace.
*At the golf course: Pender Sushi closed. Zoupa's Bistro took its place, then closed, then Clubhouse Cafe, and for summer 2021 is El Faro (Mexican/Canadian). Same contact info.
The Browning Pub is now redesigned and reopened as Bridgman's Pub and Bistro. Same contact info.
*Sea Star Vineyards: Cafe at Large is no longer operating there. It is at Southridge Farms. At Sea Star summer 2021: Information pending, see their website. Sea Star purchased Saturna Vineyards for its grapes but later sold it. At some future date the new owners may re-open the bistro, or maybe not.
*Penderosa Pizza operated since Oct 2016 at the Medicine Beach Marketplace but closed at the end of 2020.
At Woods on Pender: The Camp Truck is closed. See website for coffee and dining hours at Coffee+Kitchen.
Chapter 6 Shopping and Services
At Hope Bay Store, "Gather" has opened where Sladen's was located. "An eclectic boutique carrying cuckoo clocks and trombones to eco lifestyle and grammophones."
p76 SEARS Canada went out of business in October 2017. The long tradition of being able to pick up items at the Pharmacy window has come to an end.
*p86 Alpha Pest Management has closed.
Chapter 7 Wedding & Event Planner/LGBT
*p92 In Full Blume catering has closed.
Chapter 8 Attractions Off-Island
Tea in Victoria: Point Ellice House no longer offers a tea service. The house is under new management and is open for tours seasonally.
Chapter 12 Hiking North Pender
*p135 Hike 6 George Hill Park - There is now a 3-car parking lot just up Ogden Rd from the main trailhead. AND new for 2020 is another trail up George Hill from Clam Bay Road. From Pt Washington Rd look for a small parking area on the left. A path leads up to a viewpoint over Clam Bay Farm and then up to the summit of George Hill to meet the other trails. You can do a loop using the Ogden Rd trailhead by walking along roadways.
*p141 Hikes 12 and 13 - M.A.P. has constructed the Armadale Loop Trail from the Grover Sergeant Memorial Cairn (#13) to Armadale Rd. This also impacts loop hike #12 since now you can cut through on this new trail and walk less on the roadways.
p148 There is still no bridge replaced for Roe Islet and you cannot access it during high tide (Hike 25). Parks Canada has installed stairs to get down to the sometimes slippery channel bottom. Perhaps lots of complaining will do some good here, although it seems the government has been cutting Parks Canada's budget so it may be a while. There is a new dinghy dock on the mainland here that National Parks uses for their boats. Dinghies can tie up around them and explore the area on foot. There are also nice new restrooms, a rarity for Pender Island.
p150 At Roe Lake, Gulf Islands National Park, a sign near T3 directs hikers up the steepest most slippery trail as opposed to the Handbook's suggested #37 more gradual trail up switchbacks. The book says to follow National Park signage if it supersedes what the book has instructed. Use your own judgement! We recently tried the Park's suggested trail and it was extremely steep, probably the steepest trail on the Penders. Coming back down it would be extremely slippery, especially in the fall.
*p167 Hike 59 Lively Creek Park -- A new easy trail, Logan's Lane, runs detween Ketch and Scarff in about 6 minutes. It is being transformed into an emergency escape road which has caused controversy since it is removing some beautiful trees. The trail to the summit has shifted, just follow the signs from the park sign at Ketch rather than from the gravel road as stated in the book.
Chapter 14 Bicycling Guide
ReCycle bike shop at the Recycle Depot is open on Saturdays from 10 am to 3 pm.
Chapter 15 Boating/Orca Watching
p241 Medicine Beach boat launch. Logs were removed and now a gravel ramp makes it accessible to launch small trailered boats as well as kayaks. This is most likely an unofficial boat launch.
Chapter 16 Pender Writers and Artists
Red Tree Cooperative has closed its gallery at the Hope Bay Store. The cooperative is still together though.
Kraken Theatre at Port Browning shows periodic movies. Schedule: www.thekrakentheatre.com. Phone 184.108.40.2064
Chapter 17 Natural Environment
See the websites referenced for the latest data on the resident orca population, which has changed since publication, unfortunately downward. Resident orcas are typically absent from Pender shores, probably for the first time thousands of years due to poor salmon runs in the Frasier River. There have been transients (Biggs whales) and humpbacks instead.
Chapter 18 Living on Pender
Those businesses mentioned in this book are urged to submit changes to info @ penderhandbook. com.
REVIEWS, MEDIA AND INTERVIEWS
Among the featured items below are are reviews from the September 6, 2006 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood and the October 22, 2006 Issue of Vancouver's North Shore News. An interview with the author from the November 5, 2006 Victoria Times Colonist is also shown.
From BC Tourism's Website, HelloBC.com "Richard Fox's The Pender Islands Handbook covers every last aspect of island life in great detail and rates among the most comprehensive of all BC guidebooks." This is their description of the Pender Handbook's grand bike tour:
Author Richard Fox and the Pender Islands Handbook was featured in a 30-minute interview and article on the UK's Great Destinations Radio Show in January 2017.
The Islands Independent (7 August 2009). Reviewer Trysh Ashby-Rolls referred to the 2nd Edition of the Pender Islands Handbook as "Fabulous" and
An example of comments to the author from Pender B&B owners follow:
"Many of my guests have bought your book at the Saturday market and truly enjoyed it. You did an incredible job putting all the information together & portraying what Pender really has to offer." (Sunraven)
"I bought 3 books so far and my guests love them. Many thanks for your hard work on this, you did a fantastic job putting it all together." (Ferndale on Pender)
NORTH SHORE NEWS
The Voice of North and West Vancouver, British Columbia since 1969. Online since 1995.
A TALE OF TWO ISLANDS - Pender splendour
The Pender Islands Handbook by Richard Fox. Printorium Books, 394 pages, $24, www.penderhandbook.com.
John Goodman email@example.com
October 22, 2006
Richard Fox may not have been the most authoritative source when he started writing his new guide on North and South Pender Islands but he certainly is now.
After Fox became a six-month-a-year resident in 2002 he found that there was very little information available about his new home. He began compiling material for visitors and from that expanded his findings into a book which he published this summer.
"Every aspect was researched and re-researched," Fox says. "I started writing the book in '03 and each piece of information has been changed and updated several times. I'm obsessed with getting the information correct."
Known as a whale-watching, bird-watching, hiking, biking and boating paradise Fox puts the two Penders in perspective and breaks his 356-page guide down into Travel, Recreation and Life on Pender sections.
The islands get a lot of visitors each year with the permanent population of 2,200 tripling in the summer months. Three-quarters of the residents live on the northern island which has a couple of residential subdivisions, a shopping centre and ferry terminal at Otter Bay.
BC Ferries arrives twice daily from Vancouver (usually making one or two stops at other Gulf islands) and seven times daily from Victoria (usually non-stop).
"There's a lot of Vancouver people who have cottages on Pender," says Fox. "The Friday afternoon ferry is called the Party Boat because everybody knows each other. Those boats are crowded all year round."
In the travel section of his new book Fox goes into a lot of detail about restaurant options. Although there isn't a lot of variety available what's there is usually of a high quality, he says. "They are all geared to vacationers who want a nice meal out. Islanders is a favourite on the island. It has a nice view, great ambience and wonderful food. Georgina does all the cooking herself and she's a fantastic cook. It's up from the ferry terminal on MacKinnon Rd. I usually go there with visitors if they want to go to a nice restaurant because you always have a great experience there. The food is consistently excellent. I often go to Pistou (in the Driftwood Shopping Centre) in winter. It's great for a special dinner or a gourmet quick lunch at a reasonable price. Their chef Pierre is excellent." The waterfront Hope Bay Caf‚ is another good bet for a quality meal with a great view.
Both those restaurants are on North Pender with the only options in the south at Poet's Cove Resort which has two restaurants. Syrens is affordable and a fun place to go, while Aurora is pricier and better suited for special occasions.
The handbook's travel section also has a shopping and services guide as well as wedding planner for those planning to get married on the islands.
When you're talking about shopping on Pender you're mainly talking about the Driftwood Shopping Centre.Located in the centre of North Pender Island it's got all the action - liquor store, gas station, bank, pharmacy, True Value supermarket, Talismans bookstore and just about everything else you will need for your stay. If you can't find it at the Driftwood you'll probably have to go off-island to get it. "A lot of Penderites lament that it's not on the water like Ganges but I guess they had to do that for costs when they set it up. In the '90s we got a regular supermarket. It used to be a very small market and in the '90s True Value moved in and now we have a top quality market. It seems there's one of everything on the island and they are all pretty good quality. The new waterfront Hope Bay store also has some nice shops."
The recreation guide highlights everything that is special about the Pender experience. Whale watching the orcas in J, K and L pods is at the top of his list of things to do. "A lot of people on the island are part of a telephone tree," says Fox. "People on South Pender call people up the coast and people keep calling each other so everybody is notified and they know to race down to the various whale watching points if they don't live on the coast. You have to know that they're coming sometimes. The whales only come by at most once a day in summer and if you don't happen to be there at a vantage point you'll miss them."
Bird-watching is also equally rewarding. Fox has been following generations of eagles since he arrived on Pender. One giant eagle's nest near Otter Bay provides a visual feast for passersby. Kayak Pender Island guides point out the nest as they paddle along the coast south from the ferry terminal.
One of Pender's best-kept secrets is the 27-hole Golf Island Disc Park in Magic Lake Estates. "Everybody loves that. It's fantastic," says Fox. "We've dragged people there because a lot of people are skeptical but everybody's thrilled that plays there. It's probably one of the best courses anywhere of that type. A lot of frisbee golf courses are in a field with no trees. They just put up the baskets in a park whereas in this one they've created fairways through the forest and it's just amazing. We're really lucky to have that here." The challenging course, first developed in 1982, winds around a hill and has more in common with the Grouse Grind than most other frisbee golf courses. Founders Alex Fraser, Dave Watson and Doug Keating made sure there were no easy shots but nothing is impossible either. It's a lot of fun for all ages and so far they've managed to keep the course in operation without charging admission. "A lot of people don't realize that," says Fox. "It's free now but they keep warning if people vandalize and abuse that they might change it in the future. Alex Fraser's still around and the park has strong community support."
The main part of the recreation guide is a 75-page hiking and coastal access section with numbered trails that are cross-referenced throughout the book and on 25 maps complete with trails and topography.
Fox closes out the new handbook with information directed at those who live on Pender. After summer ends the islands don't close down and he focuses on the best year-round activities. Almost everyone on Pender seems to be involved in The Fall Fair, held in late August, and he also says New Year's Eve is a special time for residents. "The Lantern Festival on Magic Lake on New Year's Eve is really amazing. It's a full pageant with characters on stilts holding fire batons and marching to New Age music. Spectators are given sparklers and it ends up with a kayak ballet on the lake. I was impressed. The festival starts around 5 o'clock rain or shine."
The new Pender Islands handbook is a goldmine of information for residents and visitors alike. For more information go to www.penderhandbook.com.
VICTORIA TIMES COLONIST
Everything You Wanted To Know About Pender
Vicki-Lynn Dutton, Special to Times Colonist;
Published: Sunday, November 05, 2006
It seemed only fitting that, after spending 10 years as a part-time resident, followed by two years full time on Pender Island, I had to look at one of the maps in Richard Fox's The Pender Islands handbook (softcover, $24.95) before the interview. I had to track down just where he lives.
But for anyone who has been to Pender, there's a certain amount of understanding on hearing he lives in Magic Lake Estates, a rabbit's warren of a subdivision. When the 49-year-old came to his waterfront home from the U.S. in 2002, he thirsted for comprehensive information about his part-time residence, everything from maps of hiking trails, to emergency contact numbers should the big one rattle the timbers. What he found were guide books that lumped the Southern Gulf Islands together. What he wrote was 356 pages that dishes up everything about Pender, and a little bit about Victoria and Sidney, for those who venture off-island now and again. He pictures daytrippers on the ferry, using sticky notes to earmark pages of particular interest, planning just how much they can get done in a day.
"Pender is such an untapped place for Victoria people," he says. "And everyone on Pender can benefit from the book with a little bit of everything you could need. I use it myself to look things up ... And obviously for visitors if they're interested in a comprehensive guidebook."
It's the kind of volume that could hold a place on an islander's shelf next to the local phone book, in a daytripper's knapsack ready for a quick trip and beside a traveller's computer when they're making reservations.
Fox offers information about food, from restaurants to where to pick up baked goods, including Ewa's table at the farmer's market on Saturdays, the table next to the one from which he has been selling his self-published book since he launched it there on Canada Day. As he laments his weight gain, he waxes poetic about Ewa Jarosinska's work.
Then there's the accompanying web site, penderhandbook.com, which he updates regularly with any new information.
© Times Colonist (Victoria) 2006
From Aqua magazine, Jan-Feb 2017