Cortes Island is situated in the Discovery Islands' group just east
of Quadra Island across Sutil Channel
and west across Desolation Sound from British Columbia's mainland
near Lund. Cortes Island
is around 25 km (16 miles) long, 13 km (8 miles) wide and has an
area of 13,000 hectares (32,124 acres).
To reach Cortes Island, take the regularly scheduled ferry service
on BC Ferries from Heriot Bay on Quadra Island. The BC Ferries scheduled
sailing usually takes around 40 minutes one way to the Whaletown
ferry terminal on Cortes Island.
Located at Whaletown is where there is a post office and the Whaletown
store. There is also a government dock situated near the store at
the end of Whaletown Road. Near the government dock you can also
find a very relaxing beach area just an excellent setting for a
picnic or family get together.
From Whaletown travelling east the road follows Gorge Harbour where
you can find great views of some tidal flats along the coastline
of Cortes Island. Gorge Harbour offers some protection from the
prevailing winds or storm conditions if you're boating in the area
and need to wait the weather out.
Harbour Marina Resort
If you are boating around Cortes Island and need a place to berth
for the evening, try the local facilities at the Gorge Harbour Marina
Resort. Not only is there a full-service marina but also an RV park
situated in a picturesque treed campground with a view of Gorge
Harbour. To get to the RV park, take Whaletown Road to Hunt Road,
then turn south towards Gorge Harbour.
Once you're past Gorge Harbour on Whaletown Road, you'll come to
a junction point for Gorge Harbour Road. If you take this road all
the way to Seaford Road, you'll end up going through Manson's Landing
Provincial Park. From here you then travel on Sutil Point Road until
you come to the small settlement of Manson's Landing.
Centre for Cortes Island
Manson's Landing serves as the main centre for the local people
of Cortes Island. Here you can find the majority of services such
as: Manson's Community Hall, Cortes Café, Post Office, Credit
Union, Cortes Market, Museum, The Tak Restaurant, Home Spun and
the Ark Gallery.
Close by to Manson's Landing is K'was Park. This inland recreation
area features a trail network through some 70 hectares (173 acres)
of mixed forested areas including around 20% of old-growth forest
situated between Gunflint and Hague Lakes.
If you need a place to cool down from the hot summer sun, try the
excellent swimming at Hague Lake while visiting K'was Park. This
shallow lake warms up very nicely and has a unique white sandy beach
left over from the glaciers located at the north end. Hague Lake
is an excellent place to take your kids when visiting Cortes Island.
Bay Provincial Park
From Manson's Landing south on Sutil Point Road, eventually the
road will fork west towards Smelt Bay. At Smelt Bay you can find
a beautiful pebble beach that faces towards the south-west usually
with lots of sunshine. You can also find a small campground overlooking
Smelt Bay offering 22 campsites with reservations accepted.
and Walks on Cortes Island
There are some other walking and hiking areas besides K'was Park
on Cortes Island. One favourite is the walk into Ha'thayim (Von
Donop) Marine Provincial Park. The Klahoose Trail starts near Squirrel
Cove, then takes you through a very lush sword fern rainforest environment
into Von Donop inlet and marine park.
The Klahoose Trail goes through the traditional lands of the Klahoose
First Nation who reside in a nearby settlement at Squirrel Cove.
The Klahoose First Nation are closely related to the Homalco who
live near Campbell
River and the Sliammon First Nation who reside just north of
At Squirrel Cove there is a government dock and the Squirrel Cove
Trading Company which contains a liquor outlet, hardware department,
general store with fresh fruits and vegetables, garden centre, showers,
laundromat, boat launch and a restaurant called The Cove. The Squirrel
Cove Trading Company also has a fuel depot if you require gasoline
For entertainment Cortes Island can sometimes be a little limited
but there is a local coffee shop called Trudes Café. The
café serves great coffee and sometimes has live music including
some reggae from a local band. Trudes Café is located on
Whaletown Road at Robertson.
Located on Cortes Island's south-east end near Smelt Bay is Hollyhock,
one of Canada's largest educational retreat centres. At Hollyhock
you can set your goals in motion to achieve a better world through
education and understanding of the vast potential that is inherent
in each of us.
There is only one motel on Cortes Island which is called the Cortes
Island Motel. The motel is conveniently located near Manson's Landing
and Hague Lake. If you require a more personal touch, there are
a number of bed & breakfasts and lodges including T'ai Li Lodge,
K'was Lake Lodge Reef Point B & B and Lighthouse B & B.
on Cortes Island