Pender Island consists, in fact, of two islands, North Pender and South Pender, but that was not always so. In 1902 a canal was dredged to allow easy access between Bedwell Harbour and Port Browning creating the islands as we now know them. It wasn’t until a one lane bridge was constructed in 1955 that one could get from one to the other easily.
With a population of more than 2,500, Pender is large enough to provide many services, among them a bank, a liquor store, and grocery stores. Most are located on North Pender Island.
The ferry brings traffic to Otter Bay on North Pender from Swartz Bay several times a day and from Tsawwassen twice daily. Boaters can tie up at several government docks or at private marinas at Otter Bay, Bedwell Harbour or Port Browning. Float plane service is also available.
Galleries and gift shops scattered throughout the island offer paintings, photographs, antiques, pottery, clothing, crafts and books by local authors. The outdoor enthusiast is served by a challenging nine-hole golf course, the Gulf Islands’ only disc park, tennis courts, kayaking and diving outfits and a variety of other sports. There are many beaches and parks on the islands, some with hiking trails such as Mount Norman on South Pender and George Hill trail on North Pender.