Now featuring the new 2016 10th Anniversary Edition



This portion of the website is the extension of The Pender Islands Handbook featuring updates, news, links and other features.


News and Announcements

Get interesting Pender Islands content by becoming a fan of the Pender Islands Handbook page on Facebook.


The Pender Islands Handbook was featured on a UK radio travel blog in January 2017, including an interview with the author about Pender Island. 

Jocko formerly moderated penderblog, and you can still see posts through January 2014 on that page, but he now concentrates on the Facebook page Pender Islands Arts Culture & Entertainment.

EIGHT!! new orca calves were born during Dec '14 and Dec '15 !  Watch for them, and be whale-wise when boating. Unfortunately there have since been some orca mortality, including a couple of the calves as well as "granny."  So, some gains, some losses as well.  They are still endangered.

The Southern Gulf Islands were featured in the New York Times in an article "52 Places to go in 2016." (See #50 and link to "Comments on Facebook").

The Winery was Reborn! The Winery on Pender Island is very much alive and rebranded and improved in numerous ways under new ownership as Sea Star Estate Farm and Vineyards. The address is the same. New phone is 250.629.6960. The opening was April 2014. Watch for special events they plan to host. Formerly was Morning Bay Vineyard.

Boaters take note Saturna Vineyards is no longer in business as of 2015.

You can now attend a paddleboard yoga class on Pender Island, the first in the Gulf Islands. See Dog Mermaid: "excursions, rentals and retreats," located at Otter Bay. Also kayak and bike rentals; 250.222.0015

North and South Pender November 2014 Trustee Election Results

Cycling News: Pender has a bike shop, island style. Pender Island Recycling Depot operates "ReCYCLE." They offer tune ups ($10), repair ($20) & sell refurbished bikes for $20-$50. Coming to Pender & want a bike? Buy one & then contribute it back, or take it home. They also have an air pump. The mechanic is usually there Sun & Tues, but call first to make sure.

Bike rentals at Otter Bay are now through Dog Mermaid. See also updates, Bicycling & Boating.

Bike rentals at Port Browning now include regular and electric bikes, from Pender Island Kayak Adventures 250.629.6939.

Restaurant News:

The Cafe at Hope Bay  closed September 2016 and was replaced by Philly's Diner.  The owners of Hope Bay Cafe now operate a gourmet food truck at SeaStar Vineyards spring through fall and sell food products at the Southridge store. 


Jo's Place opened at the Driftwood Centre in May 2016 at the site of several other restaurants in recent years, next to the Bakery. It is open for all three meals, with a promise of an interesting menu and a local feel. Check out the menu here. 

Memories at the Inn on Pender sold April 1, 2015. The new establishment open May 2015 is Woods on Pender. Their restaurant is "Coffee+Kitchen" and they have added Airstream trailers as accommodation options

Pender Island's Japanese restaurant Pender Sushi closed at its golf course location at the end of 2017.  The golf course restaurant is once again vacant.

Catering: Pierre's Fine Food Works 250.629.6464; See also Updates/dining.

Southridge Country Store offers gourmet sandwiches.

Shopping and Services News:

Magic Lake Market was replaced by The Pender Store as of June 2013. Fresh sandwiches and baked goods for breakfast and lunch. Misc groceries incl Presidents Choice products. A take out/delivery pizza service now operates at the store, 250.629.6666.

Driftwood Auto Centre has expanded into the old laundromat area and has mechanic services once again.

SEARS no longer ships free of charge to the pickup window at the Pharmacy.

HSBC bank was replaced by Island Savings Credit Union. Phone 250.629.6238.

Wag A Day dog kennel is in full operation.

Other News:

Pender Islands Museum now has a website.

Trail News:

Brooks Point is now even more fabulous! The acquisition of a missing link parcel has created the wonderful Brooks Point Regional Park! (Map 9, Page 354). Try parking at Gowlland Point ocean access (96), walk to the right along the beach and up onto the far property (98), then follow the trails all along the coast, (97) even as far as the Higgs Road ocean access (95). This is the best easily-accessible coastal walk on the Penders. There are also several cross trails along 98 and the new property (labeled on the map by "Private" between 102 and 97).

At Roe Lake, Gulf Islands National Park, new bridges have been installed over the marshy areas near the lake so that the trail from Shingle Bay to Roe Lake is passable even during periods of high water. Impacts hikes 30,33,37. Park management has placed a sign near T3 directing hikers up the steepest most slippery trail as opposed to the Handbook's suggested #33 more gradual trail up switchbacks. The book says to follow National Park signage if it supersedes what the book has instructed. Use your own judgement! We recently tried the Park's suggested trail and it was extremely steep, probably the steepest trail on the Penders. Coming back down it would be extremely slippery.

The Roe Lake area of the National Park has expanded to include a prime coastal property. The easiest way to get to it is to walk down Shingle Bay Road from Trailhead T1 until the road ends at the beach. There is a substantial hill to get back up to where you started.

There is still no bridge replaced for Roe Islet and you cannot access it during high tide (Hike 25). Parks Canada has installed stairs to get down to the sometimes slippery channel bottom. Perhaps lots of complaining will do some good here, although it seems the government has been cutting Parks Canada's budget so it may be a while. There is a new dinghy dock on the mainland here that National Parks uses for their boats. Dinghies can tie up around them and explore the area on foot. There are also nice new restrooms.

At Mt. Norman there is no longer an elevated boardwalk to get to the viewing platform, but there is now a new sign installed depicting the highlights of the view.

Water Supply Study Published By Simon Fraser University Based partly on Pender Island Data: Some of you may have participated in this survey. To download the study click here.

BC's Gulf Islands Have the 7th Best Coastline in the World! National Geographic Traveler rated coastlines around the world for authenticity and sustainability. Number 1 was Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. The Gulf Islands were in the "Top Rated" group: "In excellent shape, relatively unspoiled, and likely to remain so" with a score of 78/100, just 1 point behind Kauai's famed Na Pali Coast. Washington's neighbouring San Juan Islands were grouped in with "Puget Sound" way down the list with a score of 61, in the catagory "In the Balance - A mixed bag of successes and worries, with the future at risk." I can see some complaints coming about that one! Check out the list here.

Wifi Hotspots: Check these island locations for a free wifi signal: Community Hall, Library, Otter Bay Marina, Port Browning Pub, Slow Coast Cafe, Driftwood Centre, Poets Cove Resort. En route: Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen ferry terminals and the Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen ferries. In many areas you need to be a Shaw subscriber to log in, such as Otter Bay.

THE 10th Anniversary Edition versus the first two editions:   The new edition began distribution in November 2016.  The book was completely updated with the latest information including new hiking trails and ocean accesses, and all the info that was in the original book has been checked and updated. It's amazing how many things needed updating in a book so densely packed with information. New features were added as well, including the most recent map of the Car Stops and a complete Farms and Farm stands section.

I would appreciate feedback on the updates that I post on this site. If you find the updates helpful, please let me know by sending a note to comments(at)penderhandbook(dot)com.

For helpful Pender Island links and info, Click here.

For FREE updates to the new 10th Anniversary Edition,  Click here.

US Passport Requirements Those traveling to the US via air, land or sea are now required to have a current Passport.

BC Ferries Paper Tickets: The BC Ferries Experience card replaced paper discount tickets, and the paper tickets are no longer valid for credit to the card. From Pender Isl The Experience card is only vaild to Swartz Bay.

Boaters: Pleasure Craft Operators Cards (PCOC) Now Required All Canadian operators of any size motorized boat are required to carry a PCOC or face a fine of $250. Contact the Pender Island Squadron for information.

The Southern Resident Pods and Other Cetaceans: Resident and transient orcas have been sighted along Pender's shores for years, but now the humpback whale is making a comeback! See links to whale organizations on this website.  Great News: A baby boom during Dec 2014-Dec 2015 has produced 8 new orca babies to the Southern Resident Community!  Sadly though there have also been casualties.

About The Pender Islands Handbook

The Pender Islands are a northwest vacation paradise located in the Gulf Islands along the ferry route between Vancouver and Victoria in southern British Columbia, Canada. Resplendent with parkland, the Penders offer a low-key commune with nature while providing enough services to satisfy both visitors and residents.The Pender Islands Handbook was released in July 2006 and updated in July 2009. It is the Penders' first comprehensive guidebook, with 400 pages of information useful for both visitors and residents. The highlight is a 75-page hiking and coastal access guide with detailed accompanying trail maps. Boaters will find the 50-page boating guide helpful whether setting out in a kayak, power, or sail boat. Check the Table of Contents below for a complete summary of its contents, or visit the link to for a digital tour of the book.

The author, Richard Fox, is dedicated to providing purchasers of the book with the most up to date and accurate information possible. Since things continue to change on a regular basis, this website contains updates to the book. If readers discover anything in the book that has changed or is in error, they are urged to send an email to foxguidebooks(at)

This site also contains information on where to buy the book, a photo gallery, and links to Pender Islands Information.

Where to Buy the Book

Retail Book Cost: $25 (CDN)  Cost may vary on

The Pender Islands Handbook 10th Annviersary Edition  is sold at Driftwood Centre at Pender Island Chamber of Commerce Visitors Centre and  Pender's bookstore, Talisman Books, 250.629.6944. It is also available on line at and  Used copies of the various editions are typically available from other sellers.

Check out the Table of Contents here or Look Inside the 1st Ed Book  at

1 HOW TO USE THE BOOK Main Pender activities, how to use the book, etc.
2 INTRODUCTION Pender facts & figures; Pender information sources.

3 TRAVEL GUIDE Transportation options, complete BC Ferries and Washington ferries information, air travel summary with airline destinations, rail, rental cars etc. 30 pages.
4 ACCOMMODATIONS GUIDE Pender resorts, Inns, B&B's & campgrounds with rates.
5 DINING GUIDE Pender restaurants with sample menus, and groceries, produce, bakers, roasters and wineries on Pender and nearby.
6 SHOPPING & SERVICES GUIDE Where to buy just about anything by category on Pender and highlights of the Victoria area. Services and utilities available on Pender; post and courier, radio and TV station frequencies, Internet access, etc.
7 WEDDING GUIDE A wedding planner includes venues, vendors and locations for weddings. Also info of special interest for same-sex weddings, and LGBT resources in the region.
8 NEARBY ATTRACTIONS OFF-ISLAND Places accessible by public ferry, concentrating on the Victoria-Sidney area with a dining guide, list of attractions and the arts. Features on Butchart Gardens and Symphony Splash.

9 RECREATION GUIDE Summary of recreation opportunities of all types available on Pender, and includes a web resource guide and regional ski area info.
10 GOLFING GUIDE Pender's popular 9 hole course and the world renowned Golf Island Disc Park are described in detail. A map and scorecards for the disc golf course are included.
11-12-13 COASTAL ACCESS AND HIKING GUIDE 75 pages of detailed information on 100 hiking trails and beaches around the islands. Features trail maps with topography, places to swim, summaries of trail types by difficulty, rankings of the trails and ocean accesses, etc.. All features are given a unique number and are cross-referenced in other chapters & maps.
14 BICYCLING GUIDE The complete 'Tour de Pender' ride is outlined km by km. Three best and easiest routes are presented 'for the rest of us.' Pender's road conditions are summarized, and off-island cycling highlights in the surrounding region from Vancouver to the San Juan Islands and Victoria are described.
15 BOATING GUIDE A 50-page summary of boating opportunities around the Pender Islands. Area cruising information is also included. The best kayaking routes around the Penders are described, and information about area fishing and diving is presented. Pender's marinas and anchorages are also described, along with info on customs, tides, and resources.

16 ARTS & ISLAND EVENTS Summary of Pender artists, musicians, writers, and theatre companies, All major annual events are listed.
17 THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT Contains Pender climate info and statistics, an orca-watching guide, birdwatching guide, gardening guide, flora, fauna, environmental issues and agencies, Pender geology, groundwater and water resources.
18 LIVING ON PENDER A historical timeline, Pender historic buildings, the Pender Museum, Health Services Guide for Pender and clinics/hospitals in Victoria area, School and Church Guide, Senior Citizens Guide, Government Agency Guide, Hazards, Pests, Emergency Preparedness & Procedures,

PENDER ISLANDS MAP ATLAS 25 detailed maps cover the islands, with 100 trails and roads mapped (and cross-referenced throughout the various chapters). Includes topography, places of interest, helpful phone numbers, emergency numbers, and maps of Victoria & Sidney.
INDEX 20-page index makes it easy to find what you are looking for.


Comments about this website? Please send an email to info (at)penderhandbookl(dot)com