The communities of Garden Bay, Madeira Park and Irvine’s Landing are known collectively as Pender Harbour. Madeira Park was named by Joseph Gonsalves, who settled here in the early 1900s after arriving from Madeira Island near Portugal.
Pender Harbour is a tough part of the Sunshine Coast to get a handle on. If you try to figure it out as you pass by on Hwy 101, you’ll have only a half-baked notion of where freshwater lakes end and saltwater coves begin. This place is a wonderful geographical mess.
Even if you take the plunge and begin exploring the roads that connect the three oceanside communities that comprise Pender Harbour, you’d be hard pressed to keep your bearings. You’d probably do just as well if you were blindfolded and spun around three times.
Today, Madeira Park is the main shopping centre for the Pender Harbour region, with banks, a large supermarket, Government liquor store, pharmacy, hardware, and several smaller shops.
Location: Madeira Park is located on Pender Harbour off Highway 101 on the Sunshine Coast of BC. The Sunshine Coast is accessible from the rest of the Lower Mainland only by boat or airplane. Travellers aboard BC Ferries leave Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver for the 45-minute ride to Langdale on the Sechelt Peninsula. Highway 101 links Langdale with Madeira Park, approximately 31 miles (50 km) to the northwest.
Government Wharf: The Madeira Park government floats provide over 400 metres of moorage space and are only a brief walk from ‘downtown’.
At the private Madeira Marina you can rent or charter a boat or launch your own.
The Iris Griffith Wetlands is a community wetlands park located in Pender Harbour in the downtown core of Madeira Park. The boardwalk trail, seats, interpretive signs and fish ladder for spawning salmon create a quiet and fascinating place for residents and visitors to spend time.
The April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge is held in Seafarer Millennium Park in Madeira Park. Situated on the shore of spectacular Pender Harbour, Madeira Park is a jewel of the Sunshine Coast.
Take a short stroll over to delightful Welbourn Cove, where you’ll find a marina, a picnic area, boat launch and cultural centre.
Directly across the water, off Beaver Island, is Whiskey Slough, once a favourite anchorage for bachelor fishermen of Scottish extraction!
Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park: Daily cruises depart from Madeira Park to the glacier fjord of Princess Louisa Inlet and the magnificent Chatterbox Falls. Your vessel will navigate up Agamemnon Channel and Jervis Inlet, offering you stunning views of the sheer mountains and cascading waterfalls of this awe-inspiring inlet, one of the most impressive views in British Columbia. Voted most scenic natural anchorage in the world,Princess Louisa Marine Provincial Park has a charm and scenic beauty that must be seen and experienced to be fully appreciated, a tranquil paradise tucked into the Coast Mountains on the BC mainland.
Marine Cruising: Kayakers, sailors and pleasure-boat cruisers are treated to quintessential Pacific Northwest scenery while exploring the area. Here, peace and quiet reign in secluded beaches, bays and fjords.
Diving: The maze of coves, bays, and islands around Pender Harbour make it the most popular diving spot on the Sechelt Peninsula. You’ll need a boat to reach the four most popular sites at Fearney Bluffs, Nelson Rock, and Anderson and Charles Islands, and Madeira Park is the ideal departure point.
John Daly Park has a salmon wintering pond with a large grassy area suitable for picnics, located on Roosen Road off Garden Bay Road close to Highway 101 in Pender Harbour.
Golf: Pender Harbour Golf Course was built with a unique combination of flat and hilly fairways, and water hazards scattered throughout to add challenge to your game. The fairways are tight, with elevated greens and tees that enable you to take in the great views of the surrounding mountains and scenery. Nine holes with four tee boxes allow 18-hole rounds. Covered driving range. Located just five kilometres north of Madeira Park at 13823 Sunshine Coast Highway. Golf Vacations in British Columbia.
Francis Point Provincial Park protects pristine waterfront on the Francis Peninsula, west of Madeira Park. This extremely fragile and sensitive ecosystem combines the scenic and ecological attributes that have made the Gulf of Georgia world famous; intricate coves, windswept pines, mossy headlands and towering old-growth veteran Douglas fir. The park offers unlimited opportunities for kayaking and swimming, and some of the best diving on the Sunshine Coast. There is a short (one hour) wooded and rocky hiking trail that leads to the viewpoint at the top of the Francis Peninsula, with scenic views of Vancouver Island, Texada Island and the BC Gulf Islands. A branch of the trail leads down to the rocky oceanfront. The proposed park is easily accessible, and features cozy bays suitable for sheltering small craft.
Garden Bay Marine Provincial Park is a delightful 163-hectare forested park in Garden Bay on the north shore of Pender Harbour. Energetic hikers will be rewarded with spectacular views from atop Mount Daniel, known as “Kwiss Cham” by the local Sechelt people, and of great ceremonial and ritual significance. It was atop Kwiss Cham that young maidens made their rites of passage into puberty.
Spipiyus Provincial Park is documented as the oldest closed-canopy temperate rain forest in Canada. The park protects pockets of old-growth Douglas-fir stands, and contains groves of the oldest living Yellow Cedars, Mountain and Western Hemlocks in the world. Also known as the Caren Range, the 2,979-hectare Spipiyus park also protects prime habitat for the Marbled Murrelet, which was found breeding close to the many lakes and in the ancient forests of the Caren Range above Pender Harbour.
About 2.5 miles (4 km) south of Madeira Park is Secret Cove, a popular summer resort retreat in a sheltered harbour near the entrance to Smuggler Cove Marine Provincial Park, which boasts some of the best fishing charters of the Lower Mainland and Sunshine Coast of B.C.
The small village of Garden Bay is tucked between Garden Bay and Hospital Bay, across Pender Harbour from Madeira Park. Postcard-pretty Garden Bay, with its yacht club, marinas, general store, restaurants and heritage inn, offers a gorgeous setting and terrific ocean views.
In Joe Bay, at the mouth of Pender Harbour, is the historic community of Irvines Landing, a popular tourist and fishing stop. The lifestyle of Irvines Landing is centred around the water and the boat launch ramp, with many residents engaged in commercial fishing, sports fishing and pleasure boating. Irvines Landing offers a campsite, and a general store is located at John Henry’s at Hospital Bay.
Circle Tours: See the best of the area on a driving Circle Tour. Head north out of Vancouver for the scenic Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island Circle Tour. Board a B.C. Ferries vessel at Powell River that will take you across the waters of the Strait of Georgia to Comox, on Vancouver Island’s east coast. Travel south to Victoria and return to Vancouver by ferry from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen. Circle Tours in British Columbia.