Pender Island

Pender Island Facts

Welcome to The Penders

Coast Salish First Nations peoples have visited and lived on the island for over 7,000 years. Their name for the island is Sqla-lot-sis or Homeland. Shell middens appear on several beaches around the islands and evidence of encampments has been found at higher elevations. Today the Tsawout people have a reserve on their ancestral lands at Hay Point on South Pender.

Explorers from Spain and Great Britain traveled through the Gulf Islands in the 1700s but did not settle. A Spanish expedition visited Pender in 1791, naming it Ysla de San Eusevio. The islands were given their current name by Captain Richards for Staff Commander, later Captain, Daniel Pender, RN who surveyed the coast of British Columbia aboard HMS Plumper, HMS Hecate and the Beaver from 1857 to 1870.

Residents are very protective of the ecology and environment. Reduce, reuse, recycle are definitive of Pender lifestyles. The beautiful Mediterranean-like climate means that fresh water is a precious commodity not to be wasted. There are a number of clubs, groups, societies and other organizations to suit all interests and abilities.

Area Information

As a popular holiday & recreation destination, Pender Island has approximately 2500 full-time residents with an additional 5000 part-time residents joining us in the summer months. The majority of Pender's population resides on North Pender, where the largest amount of services and amenities are located. South Pender is more rural with the exception of Bedwell Harbour, where there is a resort & marina.

Island Size:
Pender Island is 58.72km2 in size - that's 14,681 acres.  The island's highest point, Cramer Hill, is 266m above sea level.

Pender Island's shoreline is approximately 84km in length with over 38 public beach access points.

Located within the Georgia Straight, between the BC mainland and the east side of southern Vancouver Island, just north of the San Juan Islands, lay the Southern Gulf Islands, including North and South Pender Islands.


Pender Island has an average of over 2,000 sunshine hours each year. Boasting a mild sub-Mediterranean climate and pristine wilderness, Pender Island is great for a getaway or a special place to call your home or for those of you looking to enjoy a year-round active outdoor lifestyle.

The average annual rainfall on Pender is just 36 inches.  That's 26% less rain than Vancouver, which receives an average of 45.5 inches.  It is more rainfall than in Eastern Canada, but of course, this statistic is influenced by the fact that during Winter it rains on Pender while it snows out East. If you find yourself missing the snow there are some of the world's best skiing resorts just hours away, including Whistler, home to the 2010 Winter Olympics.


One island or two?
North Pender and South Pender were originally one island connected by an isthmus. This is a site that was used by the Coast Salish First Nations for thousands of years, and has a rich history. A canal was dredged in 1902 to allow the steamship, the SS Iroquois that served the islands a quicker, safer passage to Sidney on Vancouver Island. The two islands were later connected in 1955 by a picturesque one-lane bridge, which is still in use today.

Building On Pender Island

If you're considering building or fixing up a home on Pender Island visit our Building Guide


There is a fantastic and varied cultural scene on Pender Island including all areas of the visual, music, language and performing arts. Many artists have studio spaces and there are several venues for music and theatre.   The following are some of the links to visit to find out about groups, events, activities, festivals, workshops, plays, concerts and more – check for Facebook pages too.

Ptarmigan Arts                        

Sea Star Winery                    

The Community Hall                

The Royal Canadian Legion 

The Pender Post          

Pender Island Conservancy

Pender Island Chamber

Pender Listings

-> View Pender Listings here