Denman Island is a quite a bit different from the other Gulf Islands. It always amazes me how vastly different one island can feel from another and how people’s lives weave into one big colorful quilt.
Denman Island is one of those places where you can bicycle around without feeling like you’ve gotten in way over your head! The island is 19km long and 6.5km wide, perfect for any novice or expert who loves to bike around. And it’s not just cyclists the island attracts; artists of many different types love to come here, too.
The Artistic Community Thrives on this Vancouver Island Attraction
I know what you’re thinking: there are many places here in BC that boast a large artistic community, so how is this one any different? Well, compared to other artistic communities, Denman Island has had the honour of being number three for having the most artists in one community in rural Canada.
One can see why this is so; the climate is a bit different there, with lots of sun and rain making for a beautiful terrain, perfect for gardens and green fields, likely to be an inspiration for all five senses. Studio tours can be arranged, and exhibits are usually announced on the community website. There, you can find out what’s happening in the music world as well, with genres ranging from Ravel to Celtic, to gypsy-fusion style.
If you are coming for a longer period of time than a day, there are a handful of cozy B&B’s to stay at. Those interested in camping are limited to one site however, at Fillongley Provincial Park. One must book early for a site here, since it’s especially popular for being located on the beach. Also book early for the annual Home and Garden Tour tickets for when the next season rolls around.
Explore more Inspiration-Provoking Provincial Parks
Other provincial parks on Denman Island offer different views, such as Sandy Isle Provincial Park, also known as Tree Island, in the northern area. There you can share space with an abundance of birds and butterflies. There will be other creatures such as snakes, so better keep your wits about you.
On the south end of the island you’ll find Boyle Point Provincial Park. This is a prime spot to spy on eagles feasting on the spring herring run. Or if you prefer, you can walk out to the lighthouse at Boyle when the tide is low, and see the petroglyphs carved in to the rocks from long ago.
How to Reach Denman Island
A mere hour’s drive north from Nanaimo, or 20 minutes south of Courtenay, will get you to the ferry in Buckley Bay. From there, you have a 2km ride before arriving at Denman Island. Once you are finished poking around, you can jump on the ferry at Gravelly Bay and explore a bit on nearby Hornby Island, a popular destination for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path spot of paradise. Cyclists in particular enjoy the trails here that are invisible to the naked eye.
Denman Island is another one of those little break-away-from-home islands that attracts many artistic types to its shores. But if you want to explore by bike or by car, you get two islands for the price of one. Nearby Hornby Island is just a short ferry ride away and you can compare for yourself the natural beauty of each place.
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