The Sunshine Coast is home to a string of quaint, coastal communities, with one of the most iconic areas being Pender Harbour - also known as the “Venice of the North”.
Like its European counterpart, this Canadian “Venice” is a community wrapped in water - including inlets, coves, bays, and lakes all washing the shores of several little villages including Madeira Park, Garden Bay, Irvines Landing, and Kleindale, to name a few. In fact, although Pender Harbour is only five kilometres from its start to the head in Oyster Bay - if you ran a thick rope along all that shoreline - you'd eventually unfurl a very twisted trail of 60 kilometres.
The best way to really see how it all ties together is to adventure up one of the local mountains that rise abruptly from the forest. Grab your hiking boots, some water and prepare to take in some serious nature. Both Mt. Daniel, and the shorter, yet possibly steeper climb up Pender Hill, will have your mind slowing, and your heart racing.
Once you reach the summit, eagle-eye views of majestic mountain tops, blue-green waters and an endlessly twisting shoreline is a reward so great that is will move the soul and take your breath away.
As you look around, you’ll notice the pristine lakes Mixal, Katherine, Hotel, Sakinaw and Garden Bay tucked amongst the trees, barely a stone’s throw away from the ocean’s shore, calling you to visit.
These are just five of the ten lakes in the immediate region. Take a day and participate in the Ten Lake Challenge - a long-standing tradition where locals and visitors set out to take a dip in each lake within one day.
As you make your way back down the mountain, get ready for Pender Harbour’s local culinary gems to satiate and satisfy the appetite you’ve so rightly built up. Pull up a patio chair and enjoy the marina view at the Garden Bay Pub or wander down to Café at John Henry's. Wherever you find yourself, you’ll get to enjoy some of the best local cookery Pender Harbour has to offer.
After you’ve refueled and are ready for the next adventure, take to the water and rent a kayak from Alpha Adventures, or hop aboard the SloCat for a harbour tour, both situated at the government wharf in Madeira Park. Feel like catching your dinner? Try a fishing charter with Gulf Rascal Charters.
April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge
Pender Harbour also plays host to a surprising array of yearly festivals. Whether it be Canada’s original downhill longboard race the Attack of Danger Bay, a festival dedicated to mushrooms, or the many music festivals that echo into the harbour, there’s certainly a celebration to match your passions and pique your interests.
If exploring small-town charm is up your alley, wander through the exceptional art galleries and coffee shops, and end your day by cozying up and enjoying some exceptional fine dining at places such as the Painted Boat or Ruby Lake Resort.
Raise some bubbly. Congratulate yourself on time spent adventuring outdoors, exploring and discovering your little bit of Pender Harbour.
But know this. In spite of all you've seen, you've barely begun to unwind that rope.
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