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Savary Island

Savary Island from the air
Savary Island, as seen from the air
Courtesy of PhotographyTips.com

Content courtesy of www.savary.ca

The Seven Myths of Savary Island (Mostly True!)

Savary Island's beaches have drawn visitors since early 1900. It is difficult to get hard facts about Savary and there is often more than one answer - or no clear answer - to a given question.

Several myths have spread: some started by boosters of the hotel and property developers; others by those who did not want more people enjoying this island. Always with some pure Savary confusion. To start learning about Savary, let us examine these oft repeated myths.

- Updated January 16, 2011 -

"Mostly True"

1. White Sand Beaches

Savary is almost completely surrounded by beaches. When the sun bakes them, they are white. The Island itself is largely composed of sand. The main exception to this is Mace Point, the rocky eastern tip of Savary which is about a mile off the coast of Lund. In addition, as Savary is about five miles long and averages half a mile wide, the ratio of beach to land mass is unusually high.

2. Turns out we are not rainforest.

We are in the 'dry coastal Douglas Fir zone' and have Arbutus and Garry Oak.

The Mint B&B
The Mint is unique on Savary Island.

3. Warm Ocean Waters

The tides moving from the north and south of Georgia Strait meet just north of Savary. The southern tide is warm and the waters move less. This results in generally warmer seas. This water flows over Savary's sunbaked sandy shelf producing the warmest water north of Mexico. The water on the north side of Savary is protected from the open Strait and usually is a little warmer. Direct sun on the south side compensates. Incidentally, some marine mammals, such as killer whales, are territorial within the north and south tides and this area is a "no-go" border zone

4. No Mosquitos

The sandy nature of Savary means little surface water and thus not much mosquito habitat. There are likely more now though than there used to be thanks to man-made water-storage devices, e.g., discarded hub caps.

"Mostly false"

5. No Water

While there is little surface water, there is ample groundwater.Getting to it may be as simple as driving in a "sand point" fifteen feet, or may necessitate drilling 180'. Many people carry water from Indian Springs. The "Savary Shores" subdivision has its own community water system. While quantity is not a problem, quality could be. Savary's small lots pose a potential for septic fields to pollute. Opponents of development cite water as an issue.

6. No Cars

Until the '90s, there were few cars on Savary. With the advent of cheaper barge service, there are substantially more. There are no paved roads; however, insurance is legally required. Parking at the Dock is controversial as are roads in general. Recently a community effort saw 56 derelict vehicles removed from the Island. Lund Water Taxi operates "land taxis" - crew cab pickups or suburban that haul all manner of people, pets, and goods to their cottages.

South Beach
South Beach

7. The Hotel Burned Down

Situated by the end of the wharf, The Savary started operation in 1914. In 1932 it burned down! Reconstructed, it continued to operate until 1942. The structure is now the cottage of Stewart Alsgard, Power River's new Mayor. HOWEVER! The hotel most prominent in Savary history was The Royal Savary Hotel which operated at Indian Point from 1928 to 1982. It was demolished in an orderly fashion. After being salvaged and picked over, there was a bonfire to clear up what was left.

Other Savary Island Information

Since then there has been a dearth of overnight waterfront accommadations, a situation recently remedied by the opening of a B&B - The Savary Lodge.

This is a heritage log home just east of the old wooden tennis courts. Savary Island lies in the traditional territory of the Sliammon People.The north-side beaches produce an abundant clam harvest. There are Native and commercial openings for the harvest. As well, residents and visitors dig clams for the pot. (Fishing licence required.) The first European record comes from George Vancouver's log in which he named the Island "Savarys Island" on the June 25, 1792. In 1886, Jack Green started a trading post to service the gold rush. By 1900, a small subsistence community existed on Savary. In 1910, speculators subdivided over half the Island into 50-foot wide lots. The Union Steamship Line brought day-trippers and vacationers until 1950 when the current road/ferry route opened up. The current year-round population is about 90 growing to over 2000 in the summer months.

Some cottagers have been returning for four generations, yet there are people who bought lots 30 years ago who have never seen their properties. Lack of services and regulation have resulted in a variety of dwellings from an Arthur Erickson beach home to a "Sears" shed (with an outhouse, of course!) Home comforts are provided by woodstoves, propane appliances, generators, solar panels, and ingenuity. In the summer there are three stores and three restaurants. Off-season service is extremely erratic. Phoning, if you can, is a good idea. Solid community support built the new firehall and provides fire fighting and first aid. Savary's mild climate creates a varied eco-system. There are sand dunes, meadows, and forest - home to cedar, fir, hemlock, maple, yew, and arbutus. Introduced species include the ubiquitous Broom and the magnificent Acacias by the Savary Lodge.

There are no bears, cougars, rats, or raccoons on Savary. Deer are the only common large mammal while mink and otters come ashore occasionally. There are many bald eagles and hummingbirds which summer here while owls, woodpeckers and many migratory species frequent the island. As well as clams, there are oysters, mussels, crab, and geoducks found on or near the beaches. Savary is very safe - more park than wilderness.

Photos and text (except where otherwise indicated) from:
Rick Thaddeus
Box 102, Savary Island
Lund, BC V0N 2G0
(604) 483.3218

***EDITOR'S PICK***
Visit the Savary Island web site, one of the best Island community web sites on the Internet (find out about Mitzi's birthday, art auctions, church bazaar's, Savary Island rentals and more.) Truly a site used by the community for the community.
www.savary.ca

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Gibsons, Roberts Creek, Sechelt, Halfmoon Bay, Pender, Egmont Powell River, Lund, Texada, Savary, Desolation Sound