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Protection Island is a rare and beautiful kind of place; it's rare because it's a little island (170 acres) right in the city's harbour, with no bridge leading to it. Imagine the result: a typical Georgia Strait island with tall forests and sandstone tidepools - waterfront homes, many of them quite affordable - only a 5-10 minute boat ride from downtown!

The catch? Access is by boat only. If that sounds totally awesome to you, then I'm really happy to tell you about Protection Island. I spent two amazing years on the Island, and would love to help you buy or sell a home there. Contact me or view Protection Island homes for sale below.

Kids running on the beach, Protection IslandIt's an extremely rare downtown waterfront property situation. Even though the island is "downtown", most areas are very quiet, the city noise being dulled by the thick forest that still covers most of the island. But you can take your canoe, skiff, kayak, yacht, or sailboat right into the downtown marina at any time. The crossing only takes 15 minutes by canoe, 10 minutes for a kayak, or 5 minutes for a power boat. But you don't need a boat; the passenger ferry takes just ten minutes and it runs hourly.

Family oriented: This is very much a Gulf Island, which means that alongside the retirees and their fancy boats, there are also lots of young families. School-day ferry passage for the local kids is funded by the school board, and the island's floating pub also has a restaurant area for families. The island is a wonderful place for kids to grow up.

Protection Island Homes

In the past few years, Protection Island real estate has seen an increase in value commensurate with the general trends of the region. Yet the island's lifestyle is still coloured by those whose ancestors settled here, and nature-loving retirees, and hipster students with a passion for each morning's crossing by kayak, on their way to the university.

The home styles on the island are a hodge-podge of log homes, cottages, waterfront cabins, luxury homes, and crafty bungalows, scattered along the island's few (gravel) streets. The island is connected to the city's water and sewer, and has full power/hydro as well as phone and cable access. The City of Nanaimo zoning for the island (R3) is low-density, only permitting one home per lot. Mobile homes and RVs are not permitted.

Protection Island homes near the Gap separating the Island from Newcastle Island

Some views from Protection Island:

View of Nanaimo from Protection Island

View of Nanaimo across the harbour from Protection Island community docks.

There are some great parks here. Most people who daytrip to the island will ride over on the ferry or in their own watercraft, park at the floating Dinghy Dock Pub, and then decide whether to visit the pub/restaurant before or after they walk around the island.

Spyglass Lookout park, Protection Island

You can walk to Newcastle Island from Protection Island at low tide! In fact, planning to visit Protection at the lowest tides is a great idea, especially if you want to enjoy sunny weather at the very north or very south ends of the island. Did I mention I once swam to Protection Island?

I wrote this to someone who was asking about life on the island:

"It’s a great island – I think it's under-valued because it's relatively unknown. Nowhere else can you get a lifestyle so close to the water, WITH city water and sewer, without paying MUCH more.
-You can never just rush for groceries or the hospital without getting in a boat. But, you will know people with boats who are happy to drive you to the hospital anytime.
-If someone invites you to do something in Nanaimo, you are more likely to say “Nah, I’m staying on the island”
-If you buy a new couch, you have to figure out how to get it home!
-In bad weather you could be stuck.

-Beaches are a 10min walk at MOST – you will soon have a collection of driftwood and shells in your yard.
-It's a gentle paradise in good weather, with herons croaking and sunlight reflecting off the water, lighting up the arbutuses.
-Seems like a great long term investment "

Protection Island Location

Access to the island is either via your own boat, or by a little passenger-only ferry that runs from the marina near Port Place Mall.

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