WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT CORTES ISLAND?
Getting there is part of the fun!
HOW DO YOU GET TO CORTES ISLAND?
Make your way to Campbell River on Vancouver Island. Catch the ferry to Quadra Island (15 min. trip), drive across Quadra to Heriot Bay (15 min. drive) and take the ferry to Cortes Island (45 min. trip).
HOW BIG IS CORTES ISLAND?
About 25 km (16 miles) long, 13 km (6 miles) wide and shaped like a kite. It is approximately 13,000 hectares in area. The northern third of the island is not accessible by road and is largely unpopulated.
HOW MANY PEOPLE LIVE ON CORTES ISLAND?
WHAT DO THEY DO AND WHO ARE THEY?
There are currently around 1000 year round residents with many more in the summer time as the summer population increases with campers, boaters and islanders with summer homes. There is a real mix of people attracted to Cortes Island. The age of the residents ranges from infants to seniors. In the summer time the island is very popular with young people. Jobs vary from work at home professionals, employees of Hollyhock, teachers, writers, artists, aquaculture workers, carpenters plus trades workers and retirees. The island lifestyle offers a chance to be independent and many residents work at jobs they would not have a chance to do in a more developed area. For entertainment there are two community clubs with events happening all the time plus there are many groups and organizations to get involved in. Cortes is a family oriented community and the children participate in as many of the socials as possible. The area is well known for boating and kayaking. There are many great hiking trails and a swimming lake with white sandy beaches. It is a gardener's paradise and many residents spend countless blissful hours puttering in the garden. Most residents keep very busy and boredom is not a problem.
ARE THERE SCHOOLS ON CORTES ISLAND?
There is an organized pre-school plus K to grade 9 at the public school in Manson's Landing. Kids go off island or home school for high school. Many families are choosing to home school amongst all of the grades and Lakehouse Learning Centre facilitates and supports each home school students with enthusiasm-based learning opportunities.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER LIKE ON CORTES ISLAND?
As Cortes is in a rain shadow there is less rain than the surrounding area and there is even some desert like areas on the island. There is usually a little snow each year and a few days of freezing temperatures in the winter but overall the climate is mild. Having said that we are still the Wet West Coast and there is rain especially in the winter.
WHERE DO YOU SHOP ON CORTES ISLAND?
There are three general stores with small liquor outlets, a health food co op, two gas pumps and two propane dealers. There are also arts & craft galleries, book store and a free store. In the summer there are road side produce stands and on Friday there is the Farmers Market at Manson's Hall.
IS THERE BUS OR TAXI SERVICE ON CORTES ISLAND?
There is a private mini bus service called the Cortes Connection that takes passengers to and from Campbell River plus they will pick up and deliver items from town. There is no taxi on the island and it is not unusual to see people of all ages hitch hiking.
WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO LIVE ON CORTES ISLAND?
A hard question to answer but the main reasons are the beauty of the island, the lifestyle, the community and independence. Cortes Island is often described as being like the Southern Gulf Islands 'used to be' 20 years ago. We are happy to say we are 20 years behind the times and proud of it. It is not a fast paced lifestyle and it is very conducive to contemplation. Click here for the BC Ferries Schedule
Cortes Island. Click here to download/print a map (1.5mb).