Denman Island, Pacific Northwest
Denman Island is one of the Gulf Islands complete with the fine white sand beaches, old growth forests, and abundant sea life, it is located between Hornby and Vancouver Island.
For at least 5,000 years, the region’s first people would visit the island to harvest fish, clams and oysters. The Coast Salish maintained a summer camp at Henry Bay. Shell middens are evidence of their continual presence.
It was first explored in 1790s by Spanish explorers aboard the schooner Santa Saturnina. The Pentlatch were devastated by smallpox brought by the Europeans. The first wave of European immigrants did not come to Denman until 1870s. Denman Island Farming was the mainstay occupation for most islanders.
The Denman General Store and the Community Hall, both built before the First World War, were the hub of island life.
Apples became Denman’s best known export. Large orchards were planted along Lacon Road and in other island locations. In the 1930s, beaches at Denman’s north end were seeded with Japanese oysters and the harvests grew into a million dollar business by the 1970s.
Although there was a private ferry system running from the early twenties, a government ferry began service in 1954.