Telegraph Cove started off as a small fishing village just 210km away from Campbell River, a hub on the eastern coast of the Island. In search of a lineman’s station to act as the Campbell River telegraph line’s terminus, the Superintendent of Telegraphs claimed the area for the job in 1912, and the name Telegraph Cove was born. By the time 1920 rolled around, a small lumber mill and salmon saltery had been set up, introducing industry to the small community. Ten years later, the logging industry had exploded, and Telegraph Cove’s logs played an important part in establishing buildings all over the North Island. By then, Telegraph Cove was much more than the single-room station it started out as and it grew even more during WWII, where it held true to its named and acted as a relay station. Today, a number of the quaint buildings in the old village have been restored from this time in its history.
Once vehicles were finally able to make their way to the Cove, and the lumber mill and saltery production were coming to a halt, the potential for tourism on the north-eastern coast began to be realized. Today, that growth has steadily continued and there is plenty to do out of Telegraph Cove.
Whale Watching and Bear Watching
Thanks to Stubbs Island Whale Watching, the first outfit for whale watching tours in B.C., the top thing to do in Telegraph Cove became possible. Some of the best whale watching for orcas and other whales happens straight out of Telegraph Cove! Thanks to its proximity to the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park and the Robson Bight ecological reserve, there is a lot to see. Whale watching is the main draw for tourists coming to visit the area, and it’s absolutely spectacular. More companies began to pop up, bringing with it a bear watching company as well. They head across to Knight Inlet to see these massive creatures up close in their natural environment. The best part about these two activities? Not only do you get to experience scenic boat rides filled with rugged, west coast beauty, but you’ll experience nature like never before!
The Broughton Archipelago and Johnstone Strait are also major kayaking destinations, and both are very accessible via Telegraph Cove. Not only do you have the chance to see orcas from the water, but you’ll explore beautiful islands and islets by kayak, enjoying the rugged wilderness of the coast. Whether you rent kayaks just to enjoy the stunning marina from a different angle, or embark on a multi-day expedition tour, some of the best kayaking around is found in Telegraph Cove.
Thanks to the protected waters surrounding Telegraph Cove, fishing for all five types of Pacific Salmon is a fantastic activity to enjoy while in the area. While some say the west coast of Vancouver Island offers better fishing, the protection of the east means that even those with a tendency to get sea sick in big swell can get out on the water and try their hand at reeling in the big one!
There are a number of great trails to enjoy while visiting Telegraph Cove as well. If you pay a quick visit to the Resort Office, any of the staff will be able to set you off in the right direction. A favourite is the Blink Horn Trail, which takes you through stunning forest and down to the rugged coastline, where a friendly blink horn waits at the edge. The boardwalk of the Telegraph Cove village itself offers a pleasant stroll through historical houses, with relics of the past dotting the way. There are plenty of beautiful boats in the marina, and tons of shops, cafes and a whale interpretive center to explore. While it’s not technically a hike, exploring the boardwalk by foot (no vehicles are allowed) is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon, too.
An incredible find in the rugged north of Vancouver Island, Telegraph Cove will charm you into wanting to join the twenty-or-so others that live there full time. It makes a great destination to embark on some incredible, west coast adventures, as a northern terminus for your tour of Vancouver Island, or as a quick stopover as you head farther north to explore the Cape Scott Trail, Port Hardy, or Port McNeill. With so much to do, from some of the best whale watching on the Island, to fishing and hiking, there are ways to make Telegraph Cove a multi-day stop over. To learn more about Telegraph Cove, check out our page on it here.
Contributed by: Laurissa Cebryk
Feature photo by: Peter Sinclair