Powell River, with a population of 20,000, this friendly seaside town offers ‘big city’ amenities and luxury services without the ‘big city’ parking and traffic hassles. A full-service hospital, medical, dental, chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage therapy clinics, health and beauty spas, a newly renovated recreation complex, full banking facilities, marine services, outdoor guides and outfitters, plus a wide range of retail outlets, art galleries, gift shops and fine dining are all within easy access.
The Upper Sunshine Coast, from Saltery Bay to Desolation Sound, boasts approximately 1,900 hours of sunshine annually. Summer temperatures vary from 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 degrees Celsius) while winter temperatures are mild.
Named the Cultural Capital of Canada in 2004, Powell River is home to many artists, performers, musicians and writers. Every two years, choirs from around the world arrive in Powell River to participate in Choral Kathaumixw, a four day extravaganza of performances by youth and adult choirs. The Powell River Academy of Music, founded in 1990, has spawned no less than six local choirs, several of which perform and tour internationally. In addition to founding Kathaumixw, the Academy operates the Symphony and Opera Academy of the Pacific, two weeks of master classes and performances which offer aspiring professional musicians an opportunity to train with internationally renowned conductors and musicians.
Powell River’s Open Air Market operates May through October and features locally grown produce and many other delectable local food items such as freshly milled organic flour, baked goods, BC cheeses, flowers and a wide array of crafts. Locals and visitors chat over coffee and tea while enjoying home baked goods and other hot-off-the griddle home cooking at the food tent while listening to local musicians performing on the outdoor stage.
April through September cultural and outdoor events include: Festival of Writers; Men’s and Ladies’ Malaspina Open Golf Tournaments; Algerine Passage Sailing Race; Choral Kathaumixw; Symphony and Opera Academy of the Pacific; Sunshine Music Folk Festival at Palm Beach; Blackberry Festival; art studio and garden tours; Willingdon Beach Sea Fair and the Fall Fair – all within minutes of Paradise Cove. During the month of August Texada Island plays hosts to tourists who come to enjoy the Sandcastle Weekend and the annual jazz festival, Jazz on the Rocks.
Located within North America’s premiere boating, trophy fishing and diving destination, and next door to world famous Desolation Sound Marine Park, award-winning marine and wilderness parks, golf courses, recreational facilities, services, shopping, dining, arts and culture.
Protected by Vancouver Island to the West, the Strait of Georgia is a boater’s gateway to the most dramatic coastal scenery in the world. Due to the mild temperatures and warm pacific currents of the Strait of Georgia, boating is a year-round activity on the Sunshine Coast. Discover Savary Island, laced with long white sand beaches and the gorgeous deserted bays of Hernando, Redonda and Cortes Island in the calm, warm waters of Desolation Sound.
Protected waters make the Upper Sunshine coast a prime destination for ocean kayaking and canoeing. Popular spots include Jervis Inlet, Chatterbox Falls, Hardy, Nelson, Savary and Cortes Island, the Copeland Islands Marine Park and the numerous islets and quiet bays of Desolation Sound. Ecco-tours, kayak and canoe rentals for day trips as well as fully outfitted, guided expeditions can be booked locally.
Enjoy easy road access to the many lakes and rivers. The area boasts more than 50 fresh water lakes surrounded by thousands of hectares of pristine coastal forests. Inland Lake is known for its level, 14 km trail which can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. You may prefer a day of paddling the calm, clear waters of a peaceful lake, or, you can take on the challenge of a 35 miles (57 kilometer) canoe route which includes 8 lakes and five portages. Dinner is fresh and never far away as the region’s lakes teem with trout and at certain times of the year, steelhead salmon!
The Sunshine Coast is truly a fishing mecca. Fish for cod or salmon from your doorstep; grill your catch on the barbecue that evening. Whether you are reeling in a salmon or jigging for cod, fly fishing for cutthroat, rainbow trout and Steelhead salmon or trolling for Kokanee in one of the region’s spectacular lakes, you will not be disappointed! This pristine oceanfront sanctuary offers up prawns a mere 300 feet off shore. Crab, clams mussels and oysters are also abundant in the area. If you would prefer a guided fishing experience, the Powell River Visitor’s Centre can provide names and contacts for local companies offering fishing charters and eco-tours.
Known internationally as the “Dive Capital of Canada” the Upper Sunshine Coast was rated by Rodales Dive Magazine as the #1 Best Overall Dive Destination in the World” for 2006. A predator-free dive habitat, the coastal waters boast a visibility range of up to 30 metres (98 feet). Especially clear waters during the winter months make for excellent viewing of the area’s wolf eel and giant octopus. One of the area’s leading diving attractions is located next door to Paradise Cove in the waters in front of Saltery Bay Provincial Park. The Emerald Princess, an 2.5 metre (8 foot) bronze statue of a mermaid located below 18 metres (59 feet) of water attracts dive enthusiasts from around the world. Other dive sites include several wrecks, the Okeover Caves and numerous coastal boat dives which highlight the diverse and colorful underwater world of the BC coast.
BC’s west coast abounds with wildlife. While relaxing in this pristine natural environment, you may glimpse a great blue heron stalking its morning catch along the shoreline; observe a playful otter family darting in and out of tidal rocks, or watch deer wandering through an open meadow. Eagles and ospreys soar on the warm ocean breezes; below porpoises, killer whales or grey whales might break the surface of the water as they traverse the coast. Seals and sea lions are regular visitors.
The region is known for its exceptional bird watching. Loons, mergansers, wood ducks and harlequins are but a few of the waterfowl that make their home along the coast. In the spring tiny ruby red rufous hummingbirds dart from flower to flower; great owls watch silently in the forest, and in the fall pale chevrons of snow geese move across the sky, heading south for the winter.
The Sunshine Coast’s thousands of hectares of untouched forest and coastal mountains make for unbeatable mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing. Thousands of kilometers of off-road access and trail networks facilitate easy day trips to scenic view points, lakes, rivers, streams and surrounding mountains.
The 170 kilometre (106 miles) Sunshine Coast Trail accommodates everyone from day hikers to ultra-marathoners. Easy to get to with more than twenty access points along the way, hikers are rewarded with abundant wildlife, gorgeous lookout points and stunning westerly views of the Strait of Georgia and its emerald islands. The trail is extremely well maintained and hikers can take advantage of camping facilities and lodging located along the route.
During the spring and summer months take advantage of guided hikes, or let the local hiking club introduce you to some of the region’s most popular wilderness trails. Maps and detailed information regarding hiking routes and activities are available 20 minutes away at the Powell River Visitor Centre.
There are numerous biking routes well suited to beginner, intermediate and advanced off-road riders. Once again, the Visitor’s Centre is the place to go for detailed maps and trail descriptions.
For those who love to golf year-round, the Sunshine Coast is the place to be. The 18-hole, par 72 Myrtle Point Golf Course and Clubhouse is just a 15 minute drive north of Paradise Cove Estates. Located in the foothills of the Coast Mountains, this Les Furber-designed course offers four sets of tees for all levels of ability. A fully stocked pro-shop, driving range, putting green and Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association pros ensure a first class golfing experience. Golf cart rentals are available, plus shower-equipped locker rooms. After the game, enjoy a meal at the Orca Bar and Grill.
Exploring the coast should include visits to nearby Palm Beach and Donkersley Beach, Texada and Savary Island, the historic town of Lund and Okeover Arm. All locations are in close proximity to Paradise Cove Estates and offer glorious sunsets and white sand beaches, hiking and cycling, restaurants and art galleries. While visiting Lund, be sure to enjoy superb home-baking and lattés at Nancy’s Bakery. Visit the charming Tug-Guhm Gallery, then stroll over to the marina and hop aboard the Lund Water Taxi for a 15 minute trip to the exquisite white sandy beaches and dunes of Savary Island; explore on foot, or by bicycle or taxi.
Make your way to Okeover Arm Provincial Park where summer ocean temperatures could almost be described as tropical. Then sit back and marvel at an Okeover sunset while you dine on the catch-of-the-day at one of the region’s finest restaurants, The Laughing Oyster.
Drive, walk or cycle onto a BC Ferry at Westview Terminal and arrive 20 minutes later at Blubber Bay on Texada Island. The island offers spectacular beaches, fine dining, superb arts and crafts gallery located just around the corner from the ferry terminal, and hours of swimming delight in the crystal clear aquamarine waters of the abandoned limestone quarries. Load the car up with kayaks and bikes, or simply walk onto the ferry and meet up with a taxi at Blubber Bay. Head for the beaches and trails at Shelter Point Provincial Park and don’t miss a walk on Gillies Bay, famous for its Sandcastle Festival in early August. This is a day trip you won’t want to miss. Looking for a bird’s-eye-view? Float plane charters or helicopter tours are another way to island hop and take in the endless beauty of coastal BC.
Welcome to Sunshine Coast and Powell River, BC...