Thetis Island

Not to be confused with Thetis (island).
Thetis Island location in the Strait of Georgia

Thetis Island (population: 350) is an island and unincorporated community[1] off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, lying between Vancouver Island, which is to the west across Stuart Channel, and the west from the north tip of Galiano Island, from which it is separated by Trincomali Channel.[2] With its immediate southern neighbour Penelakut Island (formerly Kuper Island), it is one of the Gulf Islands. Thetis island is 2,560 acres (1,036 ha) in size. It is approximately two miles (3.2 kilometres) wide and three miles (4.8 kilometres) long north to south. Two north to south land ridges define the east and west sides of the island. Burchell Hill is 591 metres (1,939 feet) above sea level, and forms the high point on the west side of Thetis island, and Moore Hill is 585 metres (1,919 feet) above sea level, and forms the high point ridge on the east side of the island.

Name origin

The island was named in 1851 after HMS Thetis, a 36-gun Royal Navy frigate commanded by Captain Augustus Leopold Kuper (after whom Kuper Island is named). The ship was named after the Nereid Thetis from Greek mythology.


Before contact, two Cowichan tribes inhabited Thetis Island, the Yekolaos[3] and the Lilmalche.[4]

Thetis was first settled by Europeans in 1874 but permanent settlement took hold in the 1890s and 1900s. One of the early families on Thetis Island was the Hunter family. In 1891 Peter & Joseph Hunter purchased lot 27 from Mr. Walls, and then a couple of years later, lot 18 from Olaf Gustafson. Descendants of Peter Hunter continue to live on the northern coast of the island.


Among the homes and seasonal cabins of Thetis Island are three Christian organizations: Capernwray Harbour Bible School, Pioneer Pacific Camp and formerly run Camp Columbia. There are also two marinas, Telegragh Harbour with a bistro and Thetis Island marina with a restaurant/pub, a small convenience store with post office, and several bed and breakfast on the island. Thetis Island also operates one of the few one-room schoolhouses left in Canada.


Thetis Island has a mild climate experiencing less rainfall than the eastern coast of Vancouver Island because it lies in the Strait of Georgia in the rain shadow of Vancouver Island. Thetis Island has an annual rainfall averaging about 850 mm. Vegetation on the island includes many arbutus, Douglas fir and western red cedar. Pilkey Point offers islanders and visitors a great view of the ocean and is a popular attraction.

See also


  1. BC Names "Thetis Island (community)"
  2. BC Names/GeoBC entry "Thetis Island (island)"
  3. Hodge, Frederick Webb (1910). Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. 2. The Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology. p. 996.
  4. Hodge, Frederick Webb (1911). Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. 1. The Smithsonian Institution, Bureau of American Ethnology. p. 766.

External links

Coordinates: 48°59′54″N 123°40′51″W / 48.99833°N 123.68083°W / 48.99833; -123.68083 (Thetis Island)

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