The traffic on the main road of this easily accessible Gulf Island is surprisingly heavy for its population and amenities, until you realize that Denman has a popular neighbour – Hornby Island, a stone’s throw away from Denman¹s eastern shore by ferry. Just a 3 km. ferry trip from Buckley Bay on Vancouver Island on an hourly ferry, Denman is one of the most conveniently reached Gulf Islands.
“Downtown Denman” is close to the ferry dock and includes a historic store, cafe, bicycle shop, museum, gallery, senior’s centre and theatre.
The northern part has seen extensive logging, but a large part of the island is otherwise undeveloped. Large tracts of forest lie alongside productive farmland. In fact, Denman Island is considered to have the best farmland in the Gulf Islands.
The island has a bloodier history than most. Its namesake, Admiral Denman, was the commander of the H.M.S. Sutlej, involved in an expedition in 1864 to seek out and punish murderers of a party on an earlier vessel.
With its highest point at only 120 m, this relatively large and flat island is a joy to cycle. Six km. wide and nineteen km. long, Denman has two small lakes, a population is approaching 1400, and a small public campground at a beautiful ocean front park, Fillongley Provincial Park. While camping is quite cramped here, the beach itself is a beautiful spot and worth a stop for swimming, picnicking and beachcombing. There are also several B & B’s on the island.
Petroglyphs can be found in many areas, including the southernmost tip of the island.
An interesting theory advanced by geologists is that Denman at one time might have been part of Vancouver Island, connected by a sandbar to Comox.