Portland Island (British Columbia)

Portland Island is an island in the Southern Gulf Islands of the South Coast of British Columbia, Canada. It is located west of Moresby Island and off the south tip of Saltspring Island, adjacent to the main BC Ferries route just offshore from the terminal at Swartz Bay at the tip of the Saanich Peninsula. It was named after HMS Portland, the flagship of Rear-Admiral Fairfax Moresby Commander in Chief of the Pacific Station 1850–1853.[1]:214

Portland Island was given to Princess Margaret in 1958 to commemorate her visit to the province.[2] Princess Margaret returned the island to British Columbia in 1967, after which point it became a provincial park. Today, Portland Island is a part of Gulf Islands National Park Reserve (GINPR).[3]


Portland Island is accessible by private watercraft or marine charter only. There are dinghy docks available at Princess Bay and Royal Cove, and a stern-tie ring at Princess Bay. Paddlers can land at the beach accesses at Princess Bay, Arbutus Point and Shell Beach.


Gulf Islands National Park Reserve offers 24 marine-accessible backcountry campsites on Portland Island: 6 sites at Shell Beach, 12 sites at Princess Bay, and 6 sites at Arbutus Point. Facilities on Portland are limited to pit toilets and no campfires are permitted.


A 6.5-kilometre (4 mi) loop trail follows the shoreline of Portland Island, and is accessible from any of the three camping areas (Shell Beach, Princess Bay, Arbutus Point). This hike requires approximately three hours to complete, but can be shortened to about one hour by taking one of the cross-island forest trails.


  1. Akrigg, G.P.V.; Akrigg, Helen B. (1986), British Columbia Place Names (3rd, 1997 ed.), Vancouver: UBC Press, ISBN 0-7748-0636-2
  2. "Princess in Wonderland". BC Archives. Retrieved 12 August 2019.
  3. "Gulf Island National Park Reserve of Canada". Parks Canada. Archived from the original on 2012-10-08. Retrieved 8 August 2018.

External sources

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