Out and About Denman Island

Denman Island is a one hour drive north of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and a beautiful 10-minute ferry ride from Buckley Bay. However, given its proximity, one would think that this island retreat would feel less removed than it does. But that is certainly part of its charm. Just one visit to Denman and you’ll wonder why you’ve never been here before … and you’ll be planning your next trip while still aboard the return ferry! Denman Island is also part of the Discovery Island Group.


Every Island has a story …

Denman Island’s namesake was the Admiral of the H.M.S. Sutlej who pursued and prosecuted the perpetrators of the Matilda Creek Massacre from the ship called the Kingfisher, destroying nine native villages, and killing 15. Though it has a rather bloody past, Denman Island also has a rich history amongst its middens, petroglyphs, and earthworks. For centuries, the Coast Salish from Comox had summer camps on Denman and their presence can still be felt amongst these historical remnants. Early European settlements date back to the 1870’s with many arriving from the Orkney Islands in Scotland. The population of the island had already reached 100 by 1894 and the settlement contained a school, post office, church, and community hall. The earliest industries on Denman were the sandstone quarry, logging, agriculture, and fishing. Most of the island remains undeveloped to this day, apart from some extensive logging in the north. 

Who lives on Denman?

Denman is home to 1,200 artisans, commercial business owners, retirees, farmers, wildlife enthusiasts, and recreational adventurers. 

Where is it and how do I get there?

Denman Island is literally a stone’s throw away from Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island. Regular ferries cross the Bay in 10 minutes, just enough time to take a photo or two. Denman is considered one of the easiest Gulf Islands to get to. Check the BC Ferries web site at www.bcferries.com or call 1-888-BCFERRY (BC) or (250) 386-3431 (Victoria).Boat Charters...

When should I go?

Denman is busiest in the drier spring and summer months, with visitors arriving by ferry every hour. With a long stretch of warm, dry weather in May, this is a great time to plan your visit to Denman. Brace yourself for some unexpected traffic if you are just getting off the ferry! Due to Denman’s popularity, as well as that of its eastern neighbour, Hornby Island, the few roads of Denman can often be busier than you would think for a smaller island. However, there is probably never a bad time to visit this beautiful island, so get planning!

What should I do when I get there?

Be sure to visit "Downtown Denman" - close to the ferry dock and includes a historic store, cafe, bicycle shop, museum, gallery, senior's centre, and theatre. Denman Island has three parks: Boyle Point Regional Park, Sandy Island Provincial Marine Park, which can be reached at low tide, and Fillongley Provincial Park. The south end of Denman Island is popular area to try salmon fishing and Chickadee Lake and Graham Lake provide for good trout fishing. Outdoor activities include swimming, hiking, cycling, birding, whale watching, kayaking, canoeing, fishing all thus and much more.

What are some of the Island’s unique features?

Artistic Abundance ...

Denman is home to a fantastic array of artists, artisans, and crafter's– especially potters. There are too many to list here, so it goes without saying that a visit is certainly warranted!From Birds to Butterflies..
Sandy Island Provincial Park is the place to see an amazing population of both birds and butterflies. Of course, there you can also camp, enjoy the water, and take in some fishing. 

Stop and Hear the Music ...

Denman has a rich and vibrant musical scene with a full concert schedule available at http://mars.ark.com/~gero/denman.html.  Concerts take place throughout the year and are enjoyed at the Denman Community Hall. 

Peddle Around ...

Such a large and flat island makes for a great cycling adventure. Denman is only 5 kilometres wide and 19 kilometres long, so you’ll ride past lakes, a public campground, Fillongley Provincial Park on the ocean, and other beautiful spots perfect for a rest, picnic, and photo opportunities!

Visit an Orchard ...

Can you visualize yourself wandering through one of Denman’s lush nurseries or orchards, picking the vegetables or fruit for your next meal? Denman is known for the best farmland in the Gulf Islands since it is located in the fertile Comox Valley and receives optimal rain and sun year round. The popular Home & Garden Tour is a must, but be warned that it often sells out. You can literally get a taste of the island from one of the many local farming operations!


Where should I stay? 

No matter what your budget will allow there are a number of  accommodation options available to you! Gulf Island Accommodations


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