History buffs are welcome to visit the Pender Island Museum, located in a heritage cottage at waterfront Roesland, a pretty corner of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve on North Pender. It's open on weekends.
Or get a one-stop history lesson weekdays at the Pender Islands Community Hall. The three "Bear Mother" welcoming poles by carver Victor Reece at its entrance salute the island's First Nations legacy. And inside this warm, wooden concert space is a set of murals that document the fast pace of change as settlers arrived, cleared the land, raised sheep and set about creating modern Pender.
The Coast Salish have fished the rich waters of the Salish Sea for millennia. The shell middens at Beaumont Park are proof of the island's use on a seasonal basis. Artifacts found during archeological digs in the 1970s at the Pender Canal date back more than 5,000 years.
The Salish called the Penders "S'DAYES," which means "a happy place to wind and sun dry the salmon." The Tsawout, Tsartlip, Pauquachin and Tseycum First Nations (aka "the salt water people" or Sencot'en) have land and harvesting rights to Pender under the 1852 Douglas Treaty.