Distinctive, independent and spectacular are just some of the words that can be used to describe the uniquely West Coast neighborhood of Protection Island. A part of the City of Nanaimo, Protection Island is a community perfect for those who enjoy a truly independent lifestyle.
Located less than two kilometers from downtown Nanaimo, Protection Island is connected to the City by a privately operated foot ferry service that operates year round from Nanaimo’s inner harbor. Local residents have to either use this service to access the island or operate their own private vessels.
Encompassing 260 hectares the island has a resident population, unlike neighboring Newcastle Island which is exclusively parkland. For census purposes Protection Island is incorporated within Nanaimo’s city centre region and is believed to have a permanent population of about 360 people.
On the Island itself a network of well maintain unpaved roads crisscross the Island, bearing such exotic nautical names such as Pirate’s Lane, Cutlass Lookout, Captain Kidd’s Terrace and Captain Morgan’s Boulevard. That seafaring, scallywag theme is also carried over into the Island’s geographic points such as with Billy Bones Bay, Blunderbuss Bay, Long John Silver Bay and Corsair Bay.
Originally named Douglas Island in honor of James Douglas the first governor of the then colony of Vancouver Island, Protection Island was officially renamed in 1960 to more accurately reflect its role in sheltering the City’s inner harbor from the full effect of the Georgia Strait’s storms.
The Island is a favorite with hikers who regularly take advantage of the more than four kilometers of trails that skirt the isle. For active outdoor enthusiasts willing to get their feet wet during low tides, a quick wade from Pirate’s Causeway on Billy Bones Bay will carry them to the east shore of nearby Newcastle Island.
Protection Island is also known for some of the most distinctive landmarks in the area. For one it is the home of the famous Dinghy Dock Pub which has achieved almost local legendary status as the world’s only floating pub. Another historic feature of Protection Island is the darkly named Gallows Point, marked by a lighthouse and light keeper’s cottage that was originally constructed just before the First World War. Now a two acre park, the Gallows Point area is noted for its immaculate grounds and flower beds.
The accurately identified geographic feature was named Gallows Point after an incident that took place more than 160 years ago. In 1853 a pair of escaped murder suspects were tried aboard the steamship SS Beaver which was moored at the time in Nanaimo harbor. The pair was subsequently removed to the nearby shore for the delivery of their sentence. Originally the spot was referred to as Execution Point, but was mellowed over the years to the less graphic Gallows Point it is known today.
Protection Island is a city neighborhood requiring a very special sort of homeowner. A quick check of the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) shows that as of this writing there were only seven Island properties currently listed for sale. These range from rustic cottages in the $250,000 range to walk-on waterfront homes priced at nearly $800,000 – with a great deal of variety in between.
For those interested in settling on this idyllic Island a lot of planning should take place, including consultation with your favorite Realty Executives Mid Island REALTOR® to head off any potential problems or costs. Protection Island is a beautiful and unique Nanaimo neighborhood.