Location - Gulf Islands
The Gulf Islands are situated along the southeast coast of Vancouver Island, separated from the British Columbia mainland by the Strait of Georgia. Comprised of over a dozen large islands and many smaller islands in various stages of development, the Gulf Islands are blessed with an abundance of sunshine and a diverse ecosystem. The area is in close proximity to Vancouver, Victoria, and Seattle and is easily accessible via ferry, private boat, or float plane.
The Gulf Islands were originally home to the Coast Salish, and settled by the European explorers in the 18th Century. The name Gulf Islands originated from the “Gulf of Georgia”, a term erroneously used by Captain George Vancouver in his early mapping of the southern part of the archipelago. Each island has a specific and unique history.
The Southern Gulf Islands are made up of seven major islands that have ferry access, as well as numerous less populated islands. Pender Island is one of these main Islands. In all, The Gulf Islands are home to approximately 14,000 residents. The largest island community is Salt Spring Island with a population of approximately 9,600. This number increases dramatically in the summer, as vacationers retreat to benefit from the warm climate and sunshine that the area enjoys. In fact, the Gulf Islands boast a cool Mediterranean microclimate - being the mildest climate in Canada, with just 840 millimeters (33 inches) of rain annually and average summer temperatures of approximately 20.5 degrees Celsius (69° F).
The rural nature and natural setting of the Gulf Islands provides for an abundance of recreational opportunities. The area features clean swimming beaches, picnic grounds, and tremendous opportunities for kayaking, hiking and salmon fishing. The area provides for excellent boating as the seas rarely become too large, and the next anchorage is always just around the corner. The Gulf Islands also produce an abundance of high quality, local organic goods. The economy of the Gulf Islands is service-oriented and is heavily reliant on the tourist industry. This includes a variety of rental properties that help accommodate the large influx of seasonal tourists. The area also has a long history and is well known for its agriculture. Most recently, several vineyards and estate wineries have been established to take advantage of the area’s Mediterranean climate. Small businesses are also a vital part of the local communities, with many artists living in the Gulf Islands, as well as various entrepreneurs and web-based businesses.