BC’s Perfect Wilderness Island

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The West Coast of BC offers a landscape like no other; vast sun- and sea-bleached trunks of Douglas fir lie tumbled on sandy beaches, orcas surface on the Sound, eagles soar over centuries-old fir, Pacific dogwood, towering arbutus, lodgepole pine and yellow cedar. In the midst of all this majesty sits the peninsula island that separates Five Coves from Zorro Bay — off the grid, yet five minutes from the nearest liquor store.

It’s the perfect West Coast wilderness island. Five Coves in British Columbia’s stunning Howe Sound — North America’s southernmost fjord — offers splendid isolation, just minutes from Vancouver. Facing south, verdant islands dot the Sound. To the north, the snowcapped peaks of the Coastal Mountains loom. To the west, the Gulf Islands confetti the Georgia Strait beyond. The Pacific lies behind the long, jagged balustrade of the Vancouver Island Ranges. Shielded from the elements by Vancouver Island, the Sechelt Peninsula and the Coast Mountains, the island isn’t buffeted by the fierce Pacific storms and gales that hurl themselves against more exposed shores — making this a place with year-round potential and 24/7, 365-day access.

Still largely in its original, natural state, the 5.3-acre island has a lush covering of tall coniferous forest overlooking pristine beaches. The area attracts a huge variety of wildlife; a playful otter family likes to sit on the breakwater; herons, kingfishers, hawks and ospreys enjoy the shoals of fish that swim in these waters — abundant salmon, perch, mackerel, jumbo prawns and Dungeness crab; harbor and leopard seals sun themselves on the rocks; orcas were spotted last year; this year the grey whales visited; and hundreds of Pacific white-sided dolphins and seals followed in the wake of the herring. During the late salmon runs in the fall, the eagles congregate. One year, 60 to a hundred eagles circled the island’s treetops. With Tetrahedron National Park at its back and only logging road access to nearby shores, the island feels wonderfully isolated. It’s hard to believe that Western Canada’s largest city is mere minutes away, that you can go skiing within an hour’s drive or that breakfast is on the grill across the water in quaint Gibson’s Landing.

The island is just 20 minutes by boat from Horseshoe Bay, barely beyond the northern edge of Vancouver’s North Shore, or a mere five minutes from points further up BC’s glorious Sea to Sky Highway, such as historic Britannia Beach. The property basks in its own microclimate in the Sound halfway between Horseshoe Bay — from where ferries glide across the Strait to the Sunshine Coast and Nanaimo, Vancouver Island — and Squamish — known as Canada’s Outdoor Recreation Capital. Whistler is only an hour’s drive from Squamish. Multiple marinas around Vancouver Airport make a commute from the city even swifter. The best part is the access – you can reach the island in less than an hour from downtown Vancouver, feel totally away from it all, but come and go with ease. Fly in by floatplane or helicopter, or take your personal watercraft.

A large pier and docks with secluded moorage await in the island’s north bay. At low tide, a man–made causeway to the mainland means that you can actually walk off and there is an ample, securable fresh water supply, piped from nearby freshwater Ellesmere Creek water – a pristine watershed with banks that tower as high as 60 feet. The property title includes water rights. A dam, 1.25 miles upstream, works with a gravity pit system to send water to the highest point of the island’s four peaks.

The sunny south side has stunning views past Sound and Strait islands, all the way to Vancouver Island. In the aquamarine, near-Caribbean-hued waters off the south side, you might find the remains of sunken boats — one rumored to have gone down with a cargo of wine.

The island offers approximately 1600 feet of low bank waterfrontage with beautiful beaches on either side of the causeway. Extensive trails lace through stands of old growth, past old mines – where gold and copper were once excavated. Occasionally hikers might stumble upon signs of other previous visitors — old pop bottles from the 1920s and ‘30s when the island was a stopping point on the steamship route and day trippers explored – and even dined and danced under the stars and Five Coves’ lofty cedars and arbutus. A bonus for visitors since steamship days is the 100-foot-long stretch of pier with safe, deep moorage either side. The pier can even be extended. The right to keep this pier is preserved in a grandfather clause, allowing unlimited potential for a marina development.

This island offers some amazing opportunities to a new owner. Detailed and comprehensive plans have been developed for the creation of a modern Eco Resort and Spa on the island. The plans would place up to 26 cottages (each with up to 60 feet of waterfront) with all modern comforts on Five Coves, all the while making minimum impact on the land and harnessing wind, tide and solar power, and sweet, fresh water.

Option two would be to subdivide the property. Approval (P.L.A.) is in place to divide Five Coves into as many as four bare land strata lots with one communal acre for infrastructure along with the necessary water and sewage permits. Each lot would allow for a primary and auxiliary dwelling. One lot has already been cleared and awaits construction — complete with a dock, a natural rock swimming pool and a deck.

A final option would be keep this entire wonderland with its spectacular sunsets and striking sunrises for yourself and create a trophy legacy property. A caretaker’s cottage currently provides the island’s only dwelling. With moorage spacious enough to house a substantial yacht or two plus other toys, and plenty of room to build the perfect home for you and your guests, this is a place to hike, swim, dive, fish, climb, sail, wakeboard, paint, write, compose and appreciate nature — minutes away from a cappuccino or a bottle of wine.

For further details of this property, contact Private Islands Online at, or 647-477-5581, Ext 112