During your last visit to White Rock, you might have wondered where it is you’ve been looking at when you gaze out across Semiahmoo Bay. Perhaps you didn’t know that the land mass you’ve been checking out from the end of the pier is the United States, or far off towards the west, BC’s Southern Gulf Islands. In fact, one of the most often asked questions at the visitors’ centre is, “which islands can I see from the City of White Rock?”.
If you’re standing on the pier facing the water (away from the city), here is exactly what you’re looking at, starting from the east (left) towards the west (right of the pier):
- Blaine, Washington (USA) – our neighbouring Peace Arch city, known for their outdoor recreational activities and Historic Plover Ferry.
- Mt. Constitution, Washington (USA) – the highest point of the San Juan Islands on Orcas Island with an elevation of 731 metres.
- Birch Point, Washington (USA) – former anchorage site of Archibald Menzies, one of the members of the Vancouver Expedition in 1792.
- Sucia Island (USA) – the crown jewel and world class boater’s destination (only accessible by boat), named after an explorers’ term as “rock obstacle”
- Turtleback Mountain & Orcas Island (USA) – peaking at 431 metres, known best for its Garry oak woodlands, conifer forests, and scattered wetlands
- Patos and Weldon Islands (USA) – home of the Patos Island Lighthouse which guides vessels through Boundary Pass between Gulf and San Juan Islands
- San Juan Island (USA) – known for the variety of outdoor recreational activities and quiet, rural small town atmosphere in Friday Harbor.
- Boundary Pass (USA/Canada) – a 23 kilometre (14 mile) pass connecting Georgia Strait to Haro Strait, vital for transnational cargo ships.
- Saturna Island (BC) – home to half of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve and site of the first live-captured orca for aquarium display in 1964.
- Pender Island (BC) – home of Canada’s first olive grove (Waterlea farm) and locally famous Golf Island Disc Park for disc golf.
- Mayne Island (BC) – former home of Japanese-Canadians who helped developed economic initiatives with European-Canadians on the island.
- Vancouver Island – Malahat (BC) – the world’s 43rd largest island, Canada’s 2nd most populous island, and where the Nanaimo Bar was first made!
- Mount Maxwell on Salt Spring Island (BC) – the highest point of the island, known for old Douglas firs, Garry oak meadows, salmon bearing creeks and the largest undeveloped estuary in the Gulf Islands.
- Active Pass & Galiano Island (BC) – known for its strong currents and frequent ferry crossings (1/2 way between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay)
- Point Roberts (USA) & Tsawwassen (BC) – known for their scenic viewpoints, cheap gas (Point Roberts), and home of the Tsawwassen First Nation
If you’re from one of these places, why not head down to the White Rock Visitors Centre at White Rock Beach (14970 Marine Drive) to say “hello”? We would love to hear from you! And if you’re not from these places, we want to hear from you as well! Be sure to pop by and let us know if we can answer any questions about things to see and do in White Rock. We’ll be here all summer!