Quadra Island is renowned for its natural beauty, first class
hospitality and culture. The moderate climate makes outdoor activities
Spring begins at the end of February, followed by a relatively dry
summer. Although the island is located in the temperate rain forest
zone, rain is noted by its absence. The November drama of ocean waves
makes the choice between a summer or winter vacation a difficult
decision. The nutrient-rich waters surrounding Quadra are fed by huge
tidal actions that nourish abundant marine life. Fishing is great all
year round. Diving is superb, especially in the winter months when the
water is crystal clear. The Jacques Cousteau Society considers Quadra
Island one of the top diving locations in the world. The HMCS Columbia
is an artificial reef, just waiting to be explored.
The largest of the Northern Gulf Islands, Quadra is 35 km. long and in
one place 9 km. wide, it covers 119sq miles or 310 sq.km. Most of the
3500 residents live in the southern part of the island near Quathiaski
Cove and at mid-island at Heriot Bay. Visitors might be greeted by
dolphins or killer whales while crossing the Discovery Passage, a
12-minute ferry ride from Campbell River to Quathiaski Cove on the
Powell River Queen. The “Cove” has a good selection of stores, a
pharmacy, banking facility and a gas station. Heriot Bay is the
departure point to the other Discovery Islands, Desolation Sound and
Cortes Island. Both the Cove and Heriot Bay have goods and services
for visitors including grocery stores, post offices, liquor stores,
guides, outfitters, gift shops, rentals, as well as pubs, restaurants
and public docks.
The character, landscape and life-style of Quadra are unique and
different from other islands. Long-time residents express a feeling of
tranquility and relaxation upon disembarking in Quathiaski Cove.
Visitors are invited to experience the island state of mind for
Human habitation on the island dates back more than 2000 years. The
first Spanish and English sailors arrived in the late 1700s to explore
the maze of islands at the north end of Georgia Strait. They sought
the fabled Northwest Passage, a faster route from the Pacific to the
Atlantic. Trade commenced with the Salish and Kwagiulth First Nations
whose descendants still live at Cape Mudge Village. Today visitors can
experience the creation of beautiful native art by master carvers who
draw upon their culture and verbal history to carve masks, rattles,
paddles and totem poles.
The Kwagiulth Museum at Cape Mudge Village, unfortunately closed since
1999, has a significant collection of historical artifacts, ceremonial
regalia and carvings and was at one time a major attraction for
students of native history and culture. There are plans to reopen the
museum once renovations are complete. Nevertheless, a collection of
old totem poles around the museum inspires visitors. Modern native
artists carve at Cape Mudge Village. A new canoe shed on the
waterfront near the administration building houses a magnificent canoe
(launched in 2004) - the first to be carved in 100 years. These events
keep the heritage of the We-Wai-Kai Band vibrant and alive.
The Cape Mudge Lighthouse, staffed and operational, is accessible by
road and is also linked by trail from Cape Mudge Village. Located on
the south end of the island, it is near the site of the original
native village visited by Captain Vancouver in 1792. Here petroglyphs
from centuries ago can be seen at low tide.
The spectacular scenery and natural beauty of Quadra Island appeals to
many well known contemporary artists. Over 120 artists make their home
on the island including potters, painters, sculptors, musicians,
writers and photographers. Each year they celebrate the Annual Quadra
Island Studio Tour on the first weekend of June. This event attracts
visitors from many parts of North America and abroad. Many of the
artists keep their studios open over the summer or year-round. Some
artists provide mentor programs, retreats and workshops.
Quadra has a growing community of Healing Arts practitioners including
massage, reflexology, tai chi and spas.
The Marshwood Winery, situated near Heriot Bay, is the most northerly
vineyard in Canada and has become a new tourist attraction.
The rich forests give rise to abundant wildlife. A vast network of
beautiful freshwater lakes and streams cris-cross the less inhabited
northern part of the island. Main Lake Provincial Park is an excellent
area for paddling excursions, swimming and camping. A system of forest
trails has been developed to take hikers deep into the woods through
groves of old growth trees to stunning viewpoints. For hikers and
mountain bike enthusiasts, the Quadra Island Trail Map is available to
show the various routes.
Kayakers can explore the rugged coastline and provincial marine parks.
A number of kayak operators offer day and/or overnight tours. Wildlife
tours, whale and bear watching tours and history tours are also popular.
Rebecca Spit Provincial Park near Heriot Bay is one of the best known
beaches. Nearby We-Wai-Kai Campground provides excellent camping
facilities. Sheltered moorage in Drew Harbour is popular with yachts
exploring The Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound.
For outdoor activities the remote lakes provide excellent canoeing and
fishing. Many secluded trails offer superb hiking and biking. There
are diving, sailing, kayaking, whale watching and wildlife tours. For
a sedate stroll or picnic - Rebecca Spit Provincial Park is the place
to go. - Quadra has it all. Experience inspiring surroundings,
invigorating ocean air, friendly locals, and of course...fabulous art.
Better yet - improve your painting skills or start as beginner, carve
your own sculpture out of soapstone or blow a piece of art in glass .
For details about the artists check the manue.