Magic Lake, British Columbia, Canada

Lake Locations:

Canada - British Columbia -

Magic Lake Estates are found along the shore of Magic Lake and spread toward the coast and forested hills of North Pender Island, one of British Columbia’s Southern Gulf Islands. This string of beautiful islands and islets is found in the Strait of Georgia about a 40 minute ferry ride from Swartz Bay near Victoria, or two-hour ferry ride from Tsawwassen in Vancouver. The natural settings, wildlife and sea life found around Pender Islands and Magic Lake turn this piece of paradise into a popular vacation destination during the summer months, doubling the islands’ population of approximately 2,500 residents.

Originally inhabited by the Coast Salish people, many of the islands along the British Columbia coast are named after crew members of the of the 19th century survey ship HMS Plumper. Pender Island was named for the ship’s master, Daniel Pender, who sailed the west coast of British Columbia from 1857-1870. Once one island joined by an isthmus, North and South Pender became separate islands when a canal was dredged in 1902 to accommodate steamship traffic. A one-lane bridge was constructed in 1955 to reconnect the “the Penders” and remains in use by Magic Lake visitors and residents today. Google Maps has a discrepancy in naming the Pender Islands (North Pender is identified as South Pender and South Pender is identified as Pender Island Indian Reserve 8). See the link below for the Pender Island Guide’s Magic Lake Area Map (Accurate).

Visitors generally arrive on the Penders at Otter Bay Ferry Terminal on North Pender Island. A scenic trip by seaplane or water taxi service provides a unique experience for “land lubbers.” Those who have access to private flight services will find a public grass landing strip and a helicopter pad available. U.S. visitors who choose to sail north from Washington State through the San Juan Islands will find a Canadian Customs office at Poets Cove Marina in Bedwell Harbour on South Pender Island.

Magic Lake Estates had its beginnings in the 1960’s development of Gulf Island Estates. The original development held 1200 lots in a 600-acre subdivision. The large development and dramatic change in island landscape lead to the creation of the Islands Trust, a regulatory agency whose mission is to protect and preserve the “the islands and waters between the British Columbia mainland and southern Vancouver Island.” Today, Magic Lake Property Owners Society plays a vital role in the care of Magic Lake while the Capital Regional District maintains the dams and lakes.

There are two man-made lakes that serve as sources of potable water within Magic Lake Estates. Buck Lake is a private 25-acre reservoir sitting immediately north of Magic Lake. With a maximum depth of 32 feet and average depth of 22 feet, Buck Lake holds the larger water supply. Shallow Magic Lake covers 36 acres but has an average depth just over one foot and maximum depth of 14 feet. Magic Lake is the most populated and also accessible to the public through a wharf at the south end of the lake. A majority of real estate properties are about a half acre in size and have been developed into private residences or vacation rentals. A limited number of Magic Lake Estate properties are located on the two-mile shoreline of Magic Lake. The majority or properties stretch beyond Magic Lake to the island coast or the surrounding cedar and fir covered hills. Estate residents have access to a swimming hole on Magic Lake, tennis courts, park and hiking trails that circle the lake. Wildlife and bird watching are popular pastimes on Magic Lake with osprey, eagles, great blue herons, mallards and other waterfowl frequenting the Penders. Not to be overlooked are nearby trails for horseback rides, Pender Island’s golf course and 27-hole Frisbee golf park.

Row boats, canoes and kayaks are often seen gliding through the water lilies and small coves of Magic Lake. To preserve the tranquility of life on Magic Lake, no motor boats are allowed. Anglers will enjoy casting a line for the trout stocked in Magic Lake or may prefer a trip off the coast in search of salmon, cod and halibut. Visitors may charter fishing boats or dock their personal boats at a number of island marinas, government docks or anchorages found around the Penders’ 38 mile coastline.

Nature’s gifts are the attraction to Magic Lake and the Pender Islands. Where Magic Lake Estates reach the west coast of North Pender, visitors will find two ocean-front parks – Thieves Bay and Shingles Bay. From these two vantage points you can view pods of orcas, harbor seals, otters and dolphins swimming the island straits or sit and watch magnificent sunsets color the western sky.

Part of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island Tourism Region and Canada’s Western Mountains Region, portions of North and South Pender also fall into the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Photographers will enjoy the beauty of Roe Lake found a few miles north of Magic Lake. It is the island’s largest freshwater lake (no fishing is allowed) and is surrounded by land once owned by the Roe family. The Roe’s original 1908 farmhouse is now home to the Pender Island Museum. The reserve land continues on South Pender with a scenic coast-to-mountain hiking trail leading to 800-foot Mount Norman, Pender’s highest peak. A sandy beach, campsites and picnic area are open to the public within this area of the reserve. At the far southern end of South Pender you will find Greenburn Lake. Access to this area of the reserve is limited and no fishing is allowed, but visitors will enjoy the variety of scenery found in 171 acres holding scenic bluffs, wetlands and protected ecosystems.

Magic Lake visitors interested in exploring the coastline will enjoy nature at its best. Cyclists may choose to follow coastline roads for a selection of viewpoints along the island shore. Ocean kayakers will find numerous routes, bays and beaches to explore around North and South Pender Islands with lessons and guides available upon request. Scuba divers will enjoy exploring Tilley Point Caves at the south end of South Pender Island. Lined with delicate white plumous anemones, the main cave has a length of 50 feet and is open at both ends. Rockfish, greenlings, sea pens, bryozoans, tubeworms, cloud sponges and more dangerous wolf eels are among the sea life divers may encounter in this underwater reserve.

The beauty and peaceful solitude of Magic Lake and the Penders have attracted a sizeable arts community to the islands. Poetry readings, lectures, galleries and theatrical events contribute to the unique lifestyle found at Magic Lake. To experience the annual Magic Lake Lantern Festival is to experience the culture that binds residents of the Penders. The heart of the festival is involves “storytelling through community lantern making and a processional, stilt walking, shadow play, giant puppetry, dance, fire spinning and a kayak ballet.” The fun, light and magic of the Lantern Festival runs throughout Magic Lake and is open to all who choose to call it home for a summer or a lifetime.

Things to do at Magic Lake

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Scuba Diving
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Horseback Riding
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Museum

Fish species found at Magic Lake

  • Cod
  • Eel
  • Salmon
  • Striped Bass
  • Trout

Magic Lake Photo Gallery

    Magic Lake Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Capital Regional District

    Surface Area: 36 acres

    Shoreline Length: 2 miles

    Average Depth: 1 feet

    Maximum Depth: 14 feet

    Water Volume: 284 acre-feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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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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