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    Orca off the coast of Vancouver island BC Canada

    Orca off the coast of Vancouver island

    We live on Vancouver Island and fondly refer to it as the Hawaii of the north. But in the winter it’s a bit cooler.

    The Island is 460km long and about 60 km at its widest point and encompasses an area of 3200 sq. km of some of the most spectacular scenery in the world including a lot of old growth rain forest. Its highest point is Mount Golden Hind which is 2200meter high. And has a coastline of about 3,400 km. The population is about 726,000 and includes the Northern and Southern Gulf Islands.

    A Spanish frigate with the navigator Juan Pérez arrived in Nookta  Sound  in 1774 and traded with the local natives the  Nuu-chah-nulth

    Captain Cook first arrived in Nootka Sound in 1778 and also traded with the natives.

    In 1794 Captain Vancouver circumnavigated the island therefore establishing it as an island. And with Spanish captain Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra (Quadra Island) surveyed much of the island and surrounding area. The original name of the island was “The Island of Quadra and Vancouver.

    When I first came here I found it interesting that place names were in native languages as well as Spanish and English. As an example we have Juan de Fuca strait which separates us from the U.S. and the Strait of Georgia separates us from the Canadian mainland.  Caycuse River (flows wVancouver Islandest into Nitinaht Lake) from the Nitinaht Indian word meaning “place where they fix up canoes”.

    In 1843 The Hudson Bay Company built a fort on the site of what is now Victoria, as they were worried about the U.S. expanding into the region. Victoria

    became a city in 1868 and when British Columbia became a province in 1871 it became the Provincial capital. The first Governor was Richard Blanchard.

    There are several ferry routes onto the island but the biggest and busiest are from Nanaimo to Horseshoe  Bay, on the mainland and from Schwartz Bay on the mainland to Tsawwassen.

    Vancouver Island is the largest Island in the Americas on the Pacific side and is mostly unpopulated.