Lund: Coast Salish Roots, Swedish Settlement... Modern Day Unique

Content courtesy of The Lund Hotel except where otherwise noted

The area now known as Lund was previously Gl'amin to the Coast Salish people and was a year round village site of the Sliammon and neighboring Klahoose and Homalco peoples. Gl'amin was attractive as a permanent residence for a variety of reasons. The area was accessible by land and sea and its strategic location allowed the residents to detect travellers early and determine what action was appropriate; greeting or defence. The close proximity to many traditional land and sea resources made day to day life convenient. The short paddle t yhus (Savary Island) and Tuxwnech (Okeover Inlet), where shellfish, salmon and land mammals were abundant, made for efficient gathering, fishing and hunting. The area itself provided ample fresh water and its significant amount of cedar was an important resource for the production of tools, shelter, clothing and more.

Sign at the entrance to Lund Harbour

Gl'amin was also a site of many cultural and spiritual activities and occasions for the Coast Salish peoples. Ceremonies that included dances and songs were attended by the local family groups as well as by other nations from the southern coast and Vancouver Island. Some of the events were social and recreational in nature, allowing the young people of the different family groups to meet. Gl'amin was also a meeting place where important issues with the potential to affect the daily life of Coast Salish communities were discussed.

sliammon pole & waterfront

In the later years of the 19th century however life changed forever for the Coast Salish as the forest industry, probing ever further into the fjord-like reaches of the BC Coast brought with it European settlers. One of these was Frederick Thulin, a 16 year old Swedish emigree who was travelling by tugboat to Pendrell Sound where his brother Charlie worked as a logger. Fred saw the protected cove and mentally filed it away, logging with Charlie for the remainder of 1889 before returning to present day Lund in late December, where he named it after the Swedish city known for its university, cultural museums and heritage. Thus began the intertwining of historical roots from the Salish and Swedish cultures that makes Lund still unique in modern-day British Columbia.

Nancy's Bakery and Pollen Sweaters, Terra Centric tours above

Fred and Charlie worked hard to develop Lund into a thriving coastal waypoint. Their experience as loggers proved valuable - they logged the forest behind them to gain the lumber and building materials for the first wharf, which soon became regularly used by logging company tugs looking for a convenient drop-off location for mail and supplies for forestry workers in the vicinity. By 1892 Lund was one of only two certified post offices operating north of Vancouver, and the advent of scheduled steamship delivery service from Vancouver put to rest the daunting hardship of rowing to the city. A store and additional buildings added to the community's growing commercial core.

One of the most ambitious developments to occur at Lund was the building of the original Lund Hotel in 1895... a coup for the coastal BC community as it was the first hotel permit issued anywhere north of Vancouver. Other firsts followed, such as obtaining the first liquor licence issued north of the Burrard Inlet. And just in case the locals or visiting loggers got out of hand after imbibing the now readily-available liquor, alternative accommodation was to be found in the hotel's on-site "jail cell" in the basement of the building.

A second hotel, the Malaspina, was built in 1905 and was later renamed the Lund Hotel after the first and original property was destroyed by fire in 1918. A boat-building business added to the bustle of activity around the harbour, and soon the Thulin's tugs, scows and gas boats were in active use around the region.

Today Lund is still a hub of coastal activity. The bustling harbour is home to a fleet of commercial prawn boats, sail boats, recreational motor vessels, and the barge and water taxi services that deliver people and goods to Savary Island, known for it's friendly summer residents and white sandy beaches. The small community of Lund is a destination in and of itself for nature enthusiasts who want to discover Desolation Sound, coastal inlets and islands. Services include several boat charters and excursions, guided and bareboat kayak rentals and lessons, scuba diving, snorkeling, bicycle rentals, interpretive hikes and more. Nancy's Bakery is famous for delicious breads and incredible sticky buns. The Boardwalk restaurant offers a great view over the harbour, unique decor and great casual food.

the Historic Lund Hotel

The regentrified Historic Lund Hotel remains the heart of this small community. Restored in stages since new ownership took over in 2000, it now features 31 fully renovated guestrooms including a new wing of boutique style oceanfront rooms, a restaurant, pub, meeting facilities, general & liquor store as well as art gallery. On a sunny day the decks of the Lund pub and restaurant become a favorite perch for locals, guests and boaters passing through. The SunLund RV park offers well groomed tent and RV sites as well as several cottages.

Lund also allows access to the back country. Beautiful lakes invite for an afternoon swim and back country hiking on the Sunshine Coast offers some of the most beautiful scenery on the coast.

How to get to Lund Harbour

To get to Gibsons, take the Sunshine Coast ferry from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver to the Langdale terminal. Or, if you're coming from Powell River, take the ferry from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove at the north end of the Sunshine Coast.


The community hangs out online at The site has local weather, photos and a list of services available in the harbour.


My favorite Lund event of all time is the Annual Shellfish Festival, which is held every Victoria Day Weekend in May (3rd weekend). The docks of the harbour are full of everything oysters, clams, mussels and just plain FISH, with sell-out events like the Friday Night Chowder Challenge, marine and backcountry tours (fee-based), clamming on Savary, free music, craft booths, cooking demonstrations, Oyster Shucking Contest, Pancake Breakfast on the boardwalk, and Whale Singing Contest! NOT TO BE MISSED The Historic Lund Hotel is only steps away.

Savary Island: Myths & Meaning

Savary Island, Creative Commons Image
Savary Island, Creative Commons Image

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. We found this great collection of 'myths' about Savary years ago, and it was last updated in 2011.

To start learning about Savary, let us examine these oft repeated myths.

Mostly True!

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.

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

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Current Day Savary

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.

Savary Island before the summer season begins!

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.

Clamming on Savary is great in the shoulder season

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.

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

IMPORTANT LINKS FOR Lund & Savary Island

It's Lund, Canada, Ja!