Garden Bay Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

Garden Bay Lake is located just off the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, Canada. The Lake is one of four that rest along the edges of Pender Harbour. The lake is a pristine body of water surrounded by tree-covered mountains that were rounded by glaciers sliding over the area thousands of years ago.

Though the surrounding area is picturesque, Garden Bay Lake and the nearby village of the same name were not dubbed Garden Bay because of the beautiful gardens. In fact, the name origin is a little more ordinary: a government surveyor name Mr. Garden was assigned to mapping and naming the area; hence Garden Bay, Garden Bay Lake and Garden Bay Road. No one knows if he had a boundless ego or a limited imagination.

To get to the Village of Garden Bay on the Sechelt Peninsula, you must pass by Garden Bay Lake. It is a beautiful sight to see — nearly half of the shoreline of the lake, the northern and western sides to be exact, is visible from Garden Bay Road. There are homes on the lake, with some real estate for sale and several cottages available for vacation rentals.

Picnic and rustic camping areas are available nearby at Katherine Lake Regional Park. Katherine Lake, in Madeira Park, is the smallest of the four lakes that surround Pender Harbour and has a sandy beach perfect for folks looking to take a dip. Back at Garden Bay Lake, only electric motors and human-powered boats are allowed on the water, promising more great swimming. The lake is also a popular spot for canoeing and fishing. Garden Bay Lake is one of the three lakes that make up the eight-mile long Pender Harbour and Three Lakes Circle Canoe Route. Access to the route is on Garden Bay Road.

Garden Bay Lake is stocked with cutthroat trout. The best months to reel in a big fish story are April through July and September to October. Salmon fishing is also a hot ticket in the Garden Bay area. Many anglers spend the day on the village’s dock facilities. John Daly Regional Park in the village of Madeira Park is another spot to try to reel in a delicious salmon. The nearly three-acre park has a grassy meadow for picnics next to the salmon wintering pond. John Daly Regional Park is also home to one of the most productive salmon creeks on Sunshine Coast. The best time to see spawning salmon is from late September through December.

Another way to enjoy the beauty of the Garden Bay Lake area is on foot. A web of trails covers Pender Harbour — the Pender Hill trail scales 758 feet, taking hikers above Irvines Landing and offers vistas overlooking Pender Harbour. It is a moderately difficult two-mile trek. A brisk 30-minute walk will get you to the highest point. The Mount Daniel trail is also moderately difficult and challenges hikers with steep grades. Mount Daniel crests at 1375 feet and is five miles long. The Mount Daniel Trial winds its way above Garden Bay. The journey takes about an hour and a half. Your reward for reaching the top is a panoramic view of the lakes of Pender Harbour.

The closest park to Garden Bay Lake is the 403-acre Garden Bay Provincial Marine Park, which touches the eastern tip of the lake. Mount Daniel is a part of the park. Black bears call the upland areas home and deer and cougars can also be found in the park. The park is mostly undeveloped, largely due to the wildlife and archeological sites. There is evidence that the top of Mount Daniel was used by the Sechelt First Nation as the site of ceremonial puberty rites. Burial markers from an Indian burial ground can be found at the southern end of the park along the shore of Garden Bay. Both the mountaintop and waterfront areas are protected archeological sites.

Spipiyus Provincial Park is also close to Garden Bay Lake. Also called Caren Range, Spipiyus is located north of Halfmoon Bay on the Sechelt Peninsula. The park protects old-growth forest, and habitat for the marbled murrelet, a small seabird. Hikers can trek up Mount Hallowell for views of the islands and fjords of Pender Harbour, the Strait of Georgia and Vancouver Island. The Old Fire Lookout Tower at Mount Hallowell is a great place to watch for wildlife. The park is home to black bear, Roosevelt elk, marbled murrelets, various birds and other small mammals can be found in the park as well. Cycling is allowed on the existing logging roads. Hunting is permitted during game hunting season, regulations do apply.

Garden Bay Lake boarders Pender Harbour, the main community made up of four unique villages: Kleindale, Garden Bay, Irvines Landing and Madeira Park; the area’s combined population is 2,374. Forestry, fishing and tourism are how most residents make their living. Kleindale and Madeira Park offer shops and unique artists’ galleries. Irvines Landing was the home of one of Pender Harbour’s first settlers, and Garden Bay was the location of Sunshine Coast’s first hospital.

The area offers a beautiful setting for outdoor fun and an eclectic mix of shops. You can also spend some of your off-water time, if it strikes your fancy, on the links. The Sunshine Coast and Pender Harbour boast a number of golf courses. The topography provides a challenging and beautiful setting to play 18 holes. Another off-water jaunt is the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives. Exhibits document early life on the Sunshine Coast and Garden Bay Lake, maritime history and the area’s natural history. The museum is in Gibsons Landing, just 10 minutes from the ferries you need to take to get from the mainland to the Sunshine Coast.

Garden Bay Lake and the Sunshine Coast are exceptional year-round vacation destinations. The climate is mild; on average there are only 11 days when temperatures dip below freezing. Summers are warm and dry. Winters are mild and rainy, but not that rainy — the Sunshine Coast lives up to its name. It is the sunniest spot in British Columbia and second only to Victoria Airport. The social climate is sunny as well; the laid-back personality of Garden Bay Lake and the villages of Pender Harbour make this a relaxing destination for your next vacation.

Things to do at Garden Bay Lake

  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Provincial Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Garden Bay Lake

  • Cutthroat Trout
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Garden Bay Lake Photo Gallery

Garden Bay Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Water Level Control: Sunshine Coast Regional District

Surface Area: 153 acres

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 102 feet

Average Depth: 59 feet

Maximum Depth: 171 feet

Drainage Area: 1 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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