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The vibrant Denman Village lies at the top of the ”ferry hill”. There, you’ll find the General Store with groceries, spirits and the Post Office, Denman Hardware, Abraxas Books and Gifts and the Seniors Centre with the Denman Museum. Just up the road is the Community School and Hall and the Dora Drinkwater Library. Close by on Piercy Road is the well-equipped Medical Clinic. Beyond the General Store enroute to the Hornby ferry, you’ll find the Coast Realty Group office, ideally located beside the Denman Bakery and the Kaffee Klatsch Bistro. Denman Island covers 51.03 km of forest, fertile soil, and green space. Quiet rural roads lead to beaches and parks in every direction. Fillongley Provincial Park enables wheelchairs to roll through lofty Douglas Fir and Cedar forests to creeks full of spawning salmon during autumn. It is an idyllic location to camp, picnic, swim, paddle, or hike. On the south shore, Boyle Point Provincial Park is a 125 hectare nature reserve that is home to bald eagles, blue herons, and ospreys. Barking sea lions join the hunt in early spring, during the largest herring fishery in BC. Sandy Island Marine Park is an extraordinary ecosystem supporting rare plants and wildlife amid sand dunes off the northern tip of Denman Island.
The legend of the Dora Drinkwater Library captures the essence of Denman Island’s community spirit. Dora Drinkwater pioneered from the “big city” with her husband in 1947. Together they cleared land and built a homestead for their family, and when her husband suddenly died in 1949 Dora refused to leave what they had created. Instead, she supported her children by selling homegrown tomatoes, delivering mail, and taking in boarders. Yet, her greatest pleasure was found in the pages of classic novels, a treasured escape. Soon, she was custodian of the elementary school books during summer break and adult themes were added to the children’s stacks when Denman Islanders dropped by to swap books and news. Today, the Library has 5,000 books and is run entirely by volunteers in a donated space. There are no formal penalties for taking longer than two weeks to read your selection, but staff will not say no to “self-imposed” overdue fines – a quaint gesture of good will. Dora and her Library embody what it means to be a Denman Islander – the spirit of hard work, environmental sustainability, and the quest for greater knowledge. This is where you will find home.
It is commonly understood that Denman and its sister-island Hornby have the highest concentration of artisans per capita in Canada. Artists are at home, and in good company on Denman Island. World-famous for its pottery, the Island has a rare Anagama wood-burning kiln and has hosted the Denman Island Pottery Tour for more than 20 years. For many years, the immensely popular Denman Island Home and Garden Tour brought visitors from near and far to view the islands spectacular gardens and unique Westcoast style homes. In July, the annual Denman Island Readers and Writers Festival celebrates written and spoken word with the outside world. The century-old Community Hall is a popular venue for live music, theatre, and dancing. And Dora Drinkwater’s original Denman Island home was lovingly renovated and refurbished to become the Denman Island Arts Centre, where arts of all forms are celebrated with workshops, gallery shows and community functions. There are also plenty of outdoor recreational facilities with tennis courts, baseball and soccer fields, as well as playgrounds.
Fresh-grown produce, organic dark chocolate, farmed honey, free-range chickens, and grass-fed cows are commonplace on Denman Island. It is a community of friends concerned with stewardship, quality of life, and artistic expression. Historically, it was the summer camp of the Coast Salish First Nations for thousands of years; petroglyphs, middens, and earthenware have been found to tell the tale of an abundant Island life. Many pioneers arrived from the Orkney Island in Scotland and by the end of the 19th century 100 people farmed, fished, quarried for sandstone, or logged Denman. Today, the demographic is a mix of artisans, retirees, business owners, farmers, and seasonal residents.
Look around Denman Island by using the Google Map below.