Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park

Sunset at Wallace Island, British Columbia

Sunset at Wallace Island, British Columbia

A true gem in the British Columbia Provincial Marine Park system, Wallace Island is conveniently located close to many ports in the southern Vancouver Island area. Numerous beaches, coves and inlets provide prime anchorage and kayaking opportunities while hiking trails run the length of the island. This is all mixed in with a fascinating history.

Aerial photograph of Wallace Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Aerial photograph of Wallace Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Originally Wallace Island was charted as “Narrow Island” later being named as “Wallace Island” courtesy of Captain Wallace Houstoun who first surveyed the area in the 1850’s. The first inhabitant was Jeremiah Chivers, a Scottish immigrant who lived alone on the island until his death at the age of 92 in 1927.

After World War Two the island was purchased by David Conover who moved here with his wife Jeanne and set up what became a very popular resort. David Conover has been credited with discovering Marilyn Monroe who visited the island. The Conover’s owned the island until the mid 60’s when the island was sold to a group of teachers from Seattle. Evidently, the teachers didn’t get along well and the property was sold by court order and became a provincial marine park in 1990.

Today, many of the old resort cabins have been removed due to safety concerns but a few still exist as well as the original Conover residence.

Wallace Island BC Provincial Marine Park, British Columbia

Wallace Island BC Provincial Marine Park, British Columbia

It has been 7 years since I last set foot on Wallace Island and this past week we decided to visit once again and meet up with some good friends. We spent 2 days eating well, walking the many trails and in Cherie’s case going swimming; a little cool for my taste!

Old Truck on Wallace Island, British Columbia

Old Truck on Wallace Island, British Columbia

Carved Boat Names on Wallace Island, British Columbia

Carved Boat Names on Wallace Island, British Columbia

The island still remains relatively untouched. Many of the old buildings are still standing and the odd piece of equipment still lurks in the bushes. One of the old picnic shelters has become a “boaters guestbook” with wonderful driftwood plaques carved by the visitors over the past few decades. I looked at a photo I shot seven years ago and from the number of signs that have turned up this island has become a very popular destination!

The trails wander through beautiful forests and access the many coves and beaches. Arbutus trees are plentiful, their orange trunks contrasting nicely with the blue sky. While wildlife is common we didn’t see very much on this trip. Only a seal and turkey vulture made the rounds of anything interesting. Sea lions are quite common during the off season while eagles, black-tailed deer and river otters are also commonly seen. Cormorants and oyster catchers are common birds on the offshore islets.

 More information can be found on the BC Parks web site at Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park.

Arbutus Tree on Wallace Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Arbutus Tree on Wallace Island, British Columbia, Canada.

Rendezvous with Friends, Wallace Island, British Columbia, Canada

Rendezvous with Friends, Wallace Island, British Columbia, Canada

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16 Responses to “Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park”

  1. Diane AZ says:

    Wallace Island looks like a fascinating place to explore. Beautiful pictures, I especially like the aerial image, driftwood plaques, and the Arbutus tree.
    .-= Diane AZ´s last blog ..Skywatch Friday – Orange Curtain =-.

  2. Deborah Godin says:

    Calm evening water with a bit of shivery reflection always grabs me – these are wonderful, especially the one with the tiny dot of a moon. So peaceful I’d want to fall asleep on a gently rocking boat. Emphasis on gently. (Thanks for your visit/comment, and if you get a chance to pop back, I put up a photo of the tomato water tower for ya!)
    .-= Deborah Godin´s last blog ..LEAMINGTON gets 1.5 of its 15 MINUTES from DAVE =-.

  3. kevin says:

    Diane – It’s a beautiful place with some funky charm, very different from the desert!

    Deborah – We had two nights of gentle rocking to put us asleep although the first night we had a low power alarm go off early in the morning. Not peaceful but did it’s job… next time I’ll turn off the inverter.

    Thanks for putting the water tower image up, pretty cool!

  4. David says:

    What a gorgeous island–are there still places to stay on the island or it is more for daily visits? Beautiful photos, as usual, Kevin.

  5. kevin says:

    Hi David,

    The only accommodation on the island is tenting so the area is popular with kayakers. Most people visit by boat, the average size about 35 feet!

    I expect many kayakers only come over for the day as Salt Spring Island is only a few hours away for them.

  6. LisaNewton says:

    This looks like my kind of place, water, boats, friends, and a welcoming sunset. I love the sunset. I can just see myself seating on the shore relaxing with my camera.
    .-= LisaNewton´s last blog ..The Metro Gold Line Extension is coming to East Los Angeles =-.

  7. Lisa's Chaos says:

    You always have the most stunning photos to accompany your adventures!

  8. kevin says:

    Thanks Lisa and Lisa,

    Living in a beautiful part of the world does make the photography a little easier! You are right, can’t get much better than boats, water and friends.

  9. Hugh Campbell says:

    We visit Wallace Island every year around early to late September. We, (my wife and I)always stay at Conover Cove, either tied up to the wharf or anchor out if there is not room at the wharf. Wallace Island, in our opinion is the most beautiful spot in the Gulf Island, so for that reason we want to keep its location as quiet as possible.
    Lovely photos, but would very much like to see a few shots from Conover Cove, even though we just left there 3 days ago and have a pile of our own phots, would like to see how ours compare to a pro.
    SV “JellyBean”

  10. kevin says:

    Hi Hugh,

    It sounds like you enjoy Wallace Island as much as I do! Do you have a SV “Jellybean” name in the shed somewhere?

    We are heading up to Conover Cove this Thursday, weather permitting. This will be my first time anchoring in the cove although I have walked over many times from other locations over the years. I’ll post some photos.

  11. Davey Conover says:

    I was born and raised on Wallace Island. I grow up in the resort business on the island. I have so many menories of my child hood!! I would do it all again if I had the chance!!:-))Davey Conover on face book

  12. Mary Walter says:

    Hello David,

    Jeremiah Chivers was my Great Great Uncle and I visited Wallace Island way back in 1984. David Conover had passed away a couple years before that, but we met his wife and had a lovely conversation at her beautiful home. The caretakers at the time showed us around and we found the spot where “Uncle” had built his little cabin. I do hope to return one day and again enjoy its beauty and history. Mary Walter

  13. Mary Walter says:

    Oops, sorry. I meant “Hello Kevin”!

  14. kevin says:

    Hi Davey and Mary,

    Fortunately for all of us this wonderful island has been preserved for everyone to enjoy. There’s a little left of the old cottages but unfortunately much of it has now gone. Looking forward to getting back next year.

  15. […] wrote previously about this island at Wallace Island Marine Provincial Park, it’s worth looking at as the island has an interesting history. Terry checks out the old […]

  16. Mark says:

    Just finished reading both David Connover’s books; am planning on going to Wallace this summer (unless gas gets too $!lol ). Used to go boating up there in the 70’s with my family and later in the late 90’s until I sold my boat in 2001, but never got to Wallace. Can’t wait.

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