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Photo by: Tim Hartman
Photo by: Tim Hartman

Quadra Island

Fast Facts

population icon 33

Population: 2,700

 

Found between the mainland of British Columbia and Campbell River, Quadra is the largest and most populated of the marvelous Discovery Islands.

Quadra is known and celebrated for its eclectic culture and gorgeous natural coastal scenery. It also serves as the access point for adjourned island escapes reached by private vessel or ferry.

Being 35 km long, there are a lot of attractions on Quadra, including the inland lake chain Village Bay Lakes.

Fishing

in the waters around Quadra Island has provided some large Chinook salmon in the past century, and despite the fact that fishing has slowed in the recent years, you can still catch a big one. Anglers will fish in the waters off Copper bluffs, April Point, Cape Mudge, and at the entrance to Quathiaski Cove. Decent fishing can be found around Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park, where a public boat ramp is located. Cutthroat trout are abundant in the freshwater regions of Village Bay and Main Lakes, inland on Quadra.

Kayaking

Hours of enjoyable paddling are offered by the fascinated waters around Quandra in small bays and protected coves around Cortese, Read, Maurelle and Sonora Islands. To safely explore the waters, you should be knowledgeable in reading tidal-current charts.

 Scuba Diving:

The great visibility and abundant marine life off Quadra’s shores makes this area a great challenging area for scuba diving. You should attempt diving in Discovery Passage only during slack tide. There is an awesome display of marine life, as the currents are very strong and incredibly rich in nutrients. Steep island  on the southwest coast of Quadra Island is considered as one of  the best dives around.

Also, there is the old shipwreck of  the 366-foot former navy destroyer HMCS Columbia, and it is one of the highlights in the area. For more details on diving the area, check with the Underwater Archeological Society of BC or the dive shops in Campbell River.

Camping

There are private campgrounds on Quadra, such as We Wai Kai Campground at Rebecca Split. More campsites can be found on the beach at Drew Harbour, or in a quieter forest location across the road which is very close to the beach.

Mountain Biking

Many active and inactive logging road made the numerous opportunities available on the island. The Morte Lake Trail, the Main Lake-Yeatman Bay Trail and the trails around Mt. Seymour are the most popular trails. You can ask for mountain bike trails maps at the Visitor Centre.

Quadra Island Golf Club

Since the summer of 2012, Quadra Island Golf Club offers fairways set in Quadra Island’s natural beauty with forest scenery, wetland and stone formations, giving the visitors the chance to play in secluded paradise. Wooded landscapes, rock formations and wetlands offer a beautiful backdrop to this par 36, nine-hole jewel. In the course clubhouse and driving range is included. You can find it along Heriot Bay Road overlooking Sutil Channel looking towards the mainland mountains.

Petroglyphs

Petroglyphs drawn in ancient stone can be found along the high-tide line at We Wai Kai Beach, and Francisco Point at the island’s south end.

Hiking

Quadra has 200 kilometers of hiking trails, which is a great way to spend your time on the island. The logging roads are all managed by Recreation Sites and Trails BC and are well signed posted. If you want a panoramic view of Quandra and neighbouring islands, hike up the Chinese Mountain. An easy hike can be found at Morte Lake Trail, it’s an easy jaunt but certainly worth the short trek.

Canoeing

Paddling can be thoroughly enjoyed in Quadra Island, as there is a small chain of freshwater lakes located in the interior of the island that are perfect for canoeing. During summer months the water in the lakes warms up and the water levels drop. Some lakes have remote bays and sandy beaches on small islands to enjoy with very few paddles dipping the water.

Cape Mudge Lighthouse

Cape Mudge, the 117-year-old lighthouse can be found below the bluffs visited by Captain Vancouver in 1792. Just south of the Lighthouse at very low tides, centuries of petroglyphs can be seen. If you want to access lighthouse from Quathiaski Cove, just turn south on Cape Mudge Road, follow the Lighthouse Road to the lighthouse. Alternatively, tours are available in good weather during spring and summer.

Arts and Music


Quadrapalooza 

An annual festival celebrating Quandra Island’s arts and music during August at the Quadra Island Community Centre. This weekend-long event showcases a diverse group of Canadian artists.

Areas of Interest


Quathiaski Cove

is the commercial hub on Quadra, and has the largest community.  Most of the time people’s first impression of the island happens here, as it is where the ferry to Campbell River finds its terminus. Up the hill from marina local shops, grocer, credit union and visitor’s centres can be found. Farmer’s market is held at Quathiaski Cove between May to September You can find it at 657 Harper Road; visit it between 10am-2pm to find local food, live music and locally made crafts and arts.


Yuculta reservation,

home to Kwakwak’awakw First nation and the Way Wai Kai band can be found southeast toward Cape Mudge and its Lighthouse. You can stay at the beautifully furnished Tsa Kwa Luten Lodge or its marvelous seaside rv park facing the shores of Campbell River’s city lights.


 Heriot Bay

is the gateway to the Discovery Islands and the mainland fjords, and the third most prominent community. Heriot Bay Inn and Cortes Ferry terminal are the heart and soul of this area. Even long before Campbell River was settled, Heriot bay was already a major community of hosting steamships traveling up and down the coast. After being established in 1894 the hotel quickly became, and still remains today, the social centre of the island. True-Value Foods provide most amenities and We Wai Kai, a full-service Campsite just around the corner that has amazing sheltered and waterfront locations while offering sightings of Rebecca Split and its Provincial Park.


Granite Bay 

 Once as a base for one of the largest logging, Granite Bay can be found in the northwest part of Quadra. Its peak activity was in 1890s when the Hastings Company had settled in with a beach camp and log dump, post office, general store, hotel, school and a government dock. Union Steamships is docked there, delivering passengers, mail and the much needed supplies to this island outpost. The old Lucky Jim Mine, established in 1903, a place where gold and copper were once dug can be found 5km away from Granite Bay. Granite Bay is not an active recreational area and is settled by residents. Granite Point is a great interest point for rock climbers, and sea kayakers and boaters will love the summer sunsets here and the solace of Kanish Bay and Nixon Cove.


Quadra Salmon Eco-Centre

At Quadra Salmon Eco-Centre educational displays help visitors learn more about watersheds and salmon, and how can they help protecting them. Daily fish feeding and and other hands-on activities are great for kids. The admission is free, as it is operated by Quadra Island Salmon Enhancement Society.


Boat Launches: 

Public boat-launching ramp are located at  Heriot Bay, Quathiaski Cove, and Rebecca Split on Quadra Island.

Provincial Parks

Octopus Islands Provincial Park 

is both accessible and remote at the same time. Most easily reached from Quadra Island, Octupus Islands Provincial Park is nestled among the maze islands through which waters of Johnstone Strait funnel into the Strait of Georgia. To reach it go from the ferry dock located at Quadra’s Quathiaski Cove, to east by road across island to Heriot Bay. Along with Village Bay farther North, this is one of the two good places to launch kayaks.

Small Inlet Marine Provincial Park 

can be found at the northern tip of Quadra Island, and is accessed by boat from Granite bay. This remote park is protecting two small lakes and a second-growth forest, with the Small Inlet providing protected anchorage regardless of the weather. The anchorage is used by the boaters to wait for slack tide, while allowing safe passage through tidal rapids of Okisollo Channel, Discovery Passage, and the Hole in the Wall.

Surge Narrows Provincial Park

This park can be found at the junction of Quadra Island, Maurelle Read Island and Maurelle Island. The tidal currents around Quadra are very popular and can roar through Surge Narrows at 16 knots, and up to 14 knots on the ebb.
On the upland undeveloped portions of the park random wilderness camping is allowed. You can access Surge Narrows by boat from Hoskyn Channel Landing or Heriot Bay.

Read Island Provincial Park 

is located on the southern tip of the adjacent island, Read Island, and protects second growth and old growth forests, fertile lowlands and bog, and a variety of wildlife. Visitors can do plenty of things including wilderness camping, scuba diving, kayaking, and swimming in the ocean or in the fresh water at Rosen Lake. You can access it from Hoskyn Channel Landing or Heriot Bay.

History:

Quadra Island received its name from Don Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, the 18th Century Spanish Naval Officer. He also had friendly ties with Captain George Vancouver. About 200 years ago, Captain Vancouver initiated trade with the aboriginal people on the island while anchoring off Cape Mudge.