Portland Island was named after the HMS Portland, flagship of Rear Admiral
Fairfax Moresby. The HMS Portland was commanded by Captain Henry Chads. The island
was named by Captain G.H Richards of the HMS
Plumper, in 1859. Portland is 534 hectares in size.
Once owned by the Hudson Bay Company, who in 1859 gave the island to a group
of Hawaiians known as the Kanakas, who had acted as interpreters between
coastal natives and English speaking fur traders.
Another interesting owner, in the 1920's, was Frank "One Arm" Sutton, a
retired British army officer who lost his arm in the Gallipoli campaign of the
First World War. Sutton bought the island with money he had won betting on
horse races in China. The plan was to raise & train thoroughbred racehorses on
the island. However the great stock market crash of 1929 wipe out his fortune,
and prevented him from doing his racehorse idea.
Portland Island was presented to Princess Margaret of the UK, in 1958, to commemorate her
visit to British Columbia. In 1967, the Princess returned it to the province for it to be
created as a marine park. For many years, the island was also known as Princess Margaret
Marine Park, Today, the island is part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve, and is
known as Princess Margaret Park, Portland Island.
Near the south end of Portland Island is Princess Bay, a popular spot for boaters. The bay
has a dinghy dock, which gives access to the Island's network of trails. Camping is
allowed and there are toilet facilities. The bay also has some rocky beaches, great for
beachcombing. The Royal Victoria Yacht Club has volenteer hosts to provide visitors with
information and trail maps of the Island during the summer season. Note: the small island
just off Princess Bay is a private island, and not part of the marine park.
In addition to Princess Bay, there is anchorage at the north end of the Island in Royal
Cove near Chads Island.
There are several archaeological sites, that indicate human use of the island
for over 3000 years. Refuse heaps of castaway shells, called middens, are left
from centuries of harvesting the island's waters. The middens are protected
under British Columbia law and may not be disturbed.
British Columbia's first artificial reef lies off the southeast shore of
Portland Island, just west of buoy U15. The scuttled freighter G.B. Church serves as a
haven for marine life and is an attraction for scuba divers.
Portland Island is surrounded by several islets. Brackman Island is an ecological reserve
and also part of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. While Chads Island (named after
Captain Henry Chads of the HMS Portland) and Hood Island are private islands.
Map of Portland Island
Large image - please wait.
Contact Li Read at Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring), 4 - 105 Rainbow Road, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V5; Direct Tel: 1-250-537-7647