This region collectively forms Area A in the Sunshine Coast Regional District, with a population of approximately 2700 in an area of 1900 sq. km. There is over 160km of coastline spread throughout the communities of Madeira Park, Garden Bay, Irvines Landing, Earl’s Cove and Egmont. The Pender area includes over a half dozen easily accessible lakes, including the popular Sakinaw and Ruby lakes.
Sakinaw Lake is one of the warmest in British Columbia, and both of these lakes are striated into a lower level of salt water upon which the freshwater lies - this dates back to when these lakes were connected to the saltwater Salish Sea (Strait of Georgia).
Housing in the area is mixed residential densities and rural acreages, ranging from oldtime cottages and ‘summer houses’ to the Lily Lake Village seniors independent living community, and right up to the high-end Daniel Point area with large showcase homes overlooking the Salish Sea from atop the promontory headlands.
There are several other high-end strata communities: Sakinaw Ridge, Whittaker’s at Pender Harbour, Farrington Cove, Daniel Point Cottages, Painted Boat (villas), and Pender Harbour Landing make the Pender area one of the fastest-growing on the Coast (10.5%; SCRD.ca).
Sunshine Coast Transit coverage ends at Halfmoon Bay; Pender and area residents use the Malaspina Coachlines regional system to connect to transit in Sechelt and north in Powell River. The Pender area is known for winding roads and tight corners, and is popular for motorcycling, especially the run out to the Garden Bay Pub.
Recreation and Leisure
Boating of all kinds is the most popular activity in the Pender area. The protected coves, inlets and lakes and the south & western sunshine make this one of the coast’s best areas for sightseeing, whether it’s aboard a passenger ferry stopping at the many ports and docks, kayaks or paddleboards, or by private boat. Fishing is very productive out of the Pender area today, after a decade or so of limited returns in the Salish Sea. Species fished include coho, pink, chum, sockeye and spring (chinook) salmon, and seasonal openings depending on numbers for rockfish, lingcod, and halibut. Prawns, shrimp and shellfish are also popular but are fished outside of the harbour’s populated areas.
Longboarding is a big sport in the Pender Harbour area, and Francis Peninsula is home to the annual Attack of Danger Bay longboard races every May long weekend. Racers come from around the world for the peninsula’s famed curvy descents and thousands of people line the route at key corners of the race. Drivers in the Pender area are always alert to boarders practicing on the regions network of well-paved roads.
Pender and Egmont are also the jumping off points for sightseeing tours to popular destinations like Princess Louisa Inlet, the Skookumchuck Tidal Rapids, and Jedidiah Marine Park. These are the most-visited destinations by tourists, who also leave plenty of time for the numerous artist galleries and boutiques in the area. Egmont is also home to the Egmont Heritage Centre, which makes a great bookend to the Skookumchuck hike.
The Ruby Lake Nature Lagoon Society manages a ten-acre nature reserve with freshwater lagoon and forested acreage, and is home to the Iris Griffith Interpretive Centre, the base to many community and school interpretive programs, like the annual ‘Bio Blitz’, a two-day festival that has at its heart a 24-hour survey of all life at various locations across the Coast. Francis Peninsula is where the world-class Francis Point Provincial Park occupies a large part of the community’s marine and forest heritage.
Main festivals for the Pender Area are the Annual May Day Festival that coincides with Attack of Danger Bay, Egmont Day, Pender Blues Festival, Highway 101 Music Festival, Chamber Music Festival, Pender Jazz Festival, Pender Fall Faire, Sunshine Coast Mushroom Festival and Halloween Fireworks in the Harbour.
Shopping, Groceries and Dining
Madeira Park is the main shopping destination in Area A and is Pender Harbour’s business centre. There is a large IGA Marketplace and the small Oak Tree Market for groceries, a number of galleries, and cafes. The Restaurant at Painted Boat offers fine dining from May through September, with occasional seasonal special openings. Ruby Lake and Egmont are also home to destination resorts with seasonal dining in beautiful settings.
Unfortunately, the hugely popular Grasshopper Pub, with attached Pender Harbour Hotel, burned down in early October 2013, taking away one high-traffic pub dining experience; the owners do plan to rebuild. Luckily for Coasters, the Backeddy Marine Pub in Egmont has been revitalized and is well worth the drive for affordable waterfront pub dining - and they offer the Backeddy Restaurant on site as well so families have a dining destination as well.
Pender Harbour is home to several schools: Madeira Park Elementary, located in the heart of the community, Pender Harbour Elementary & Secondary School on the Sunshine Coast Highway, and the Pender Harbour Community School, which works with the local schools in the area to deliver the SCRD’s regional Community Recreation program.
The Pender Harbour School of Music, also known as The Performance Centre, was the original venue for the Capilano College satellite music program in the 80s, and is now the central teaching and performance space for the Pender Area.
Madeira Park Elementary - Principal Glen Smith
Madeira Park Elementary, 35 kilometres north of Sechelt is nestled in the heart of Pender Harbour. Approximately 80 students enjoy a well equipped school, large playground, and an outdoor classroom. Students and parents of Madeira Park Elementary can look forward to working with highly energetic talented, positive and caring staff who are dedicated to providing and exciting and innovative school environment where children feel safe and secure.The School celebrates a wonderful partnership with parents and community and encourages students to develop their optimum academic, social and personal potential.
Pender Harbour Secondary - Principal Paul Bishop
Pender Harbour Secondary serves 75 students from grades 7-12. The catchment area extends from Halfmoon Bay to Egmont. The small size allows for greater one to one support from staff and creates a real family feel within the building. They provide a full academic program, including Fine and Performing Arts, a full shop program and technology integration in the classroom. In addition, a focus on Personalized Learning allows students greater self direction over their school program in a supported environment.
Sunshine Coast Alternative School - Principal Carolyn Spence
The purpose of the Sunshine Coast Alternative School is to provide the learner centered programs that assist children and youth in developing the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to build a healthy community. The Staff welcome individual differences within an atmosphere of mutual respect and co-operation. Sunshine Coast Alternative school consists of 10 self contained programs located at a variety of sites in the district.
"Low Bank, South Facing Waterfront" This immaculate custom built home is perfectly situated on 106’ of south-facing, low-bank waterfront and has been designed to maximize natural sunlight while capture the breathtaking views. The property has been impeccably landscaped and features a built in irrigation system, evergreen lawn, specimen plants and colourful seasonal floral displays. Entertain in the generously-sized living room with a cozy clean burning gas fireplace, huge windows and glass doors that lead out to the oceanfront deck. Other highlights include custom mill work bookshelves, endless amounts of storage and garage perfect for the fishing machine. Swimming, tidal pools and collecting driftwood treasures... a great way to build a lifetime of memories!
Royal LePage Sussex
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