|Sechelt, British Columbia|
|Motto: Blessed by Sun and Seas|
|Regional District||Sunshine Coast RD|
|Founded||1862 (Roman Catholic mission)|
|Incorporated||Feb. 15, 1956|
|• Mayor||John Henderson|
|• Governing body||Sechelt Municipal Council|
|• MP||John Weston, Conservative|
|• MLAs||Nicholas Simons, NDP|
|• District Municipality||39.71 km2 (15.33 sq mi)|
|Elevation||8 m (26 ft)|
|• District Municipality||8,454|
|• Density||212.9/km2 (551/sq mi)|
|• Metro||27,759 (regional district)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
|Postal code span||V0N 3A0|
Coordinates: The District Municipality of Sechelt // is located on the lower Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. Approximately 50 km northwest of Vancouver, Sechelt is accessible to the mainland of British Columbia via a 40 minute ferry trip between Horseshoe Bay and Langdale, and a 25 minute drive from Langdale along Highway 101, now known as the Sunshine Coast Highway. The municipality takes its name from the Coast Salish Shishalh people, who first settled the area thousands of years ago, and means "land between two waters".
The original Village of Sechelt was incorporated on February 15, 1956. Sechelt later expanded its boundaries in 1986 with the inclusion of a number of adjacent unincorporated areas. The District of Sechelt, as it is known today, encompasses some 39.71 km² (15.33 sq mi) at the isthmus of the Sechelt Peninsula, between the southern tip of Sechelt Inlet (Porpoise Bay) and the Strait of Georgia that separates the provincial mainland from Vancouver Island). Sechelt is a seaside community that extends primarily along the coastline of the Sunshine Coast. It is bounded to the west and east by the unincorporated communities of Halfmoon Bay and Roberts Creek, respectively. As of the 2006 Canadian census its population was 8,455. Sechelt is the seat of the Sunshine Coast Regional District of British Columbia.
Although its population is relatively small for its area, Sechelt has several distinct neighbourhoods. From east to west, these are: Wilson Creek, Davis Bay, Selma Park, the original Village of Sechelt, and West Sechelt. There are also several neighbourhoods around Sechelt Inlet that were included in its incorporation as a District in 1986 and include the West Porpoise Bay, East Porpoise Bay, Sandy Hook, and Tuwanek communities. The municipality is adjacent to the municipal government of the Shishalh First Nation, which contains a substantial commercial district, immediately east of the downtown village.
The Shishalh settled the area many thousands of years ago taking advantage of its mild temperate climate and ideal location between Sechelt Inlet (providing access to Jervis Inlet) to the north and Georgia Strait to the south. Europeans moved into Sechelt in the 1860s. By the 1880s, Sechelt had become an active centre for the logging and fishing industries, with the construction of sawmills and wharves. The natural beauty of the Sunshine Coast soon began to attract tourists, who arrived at the wharves at Trail Bay via steamship. The construction of the original provincial highway in 1952, Highway 101, now known as Sunshine Coast Highway, and the concomitant commencement of ferry service to Horseshoe Bay (near Vancouver) and Powell River (hence to Vancouver Island), accelerated tourism and residential growth which continues today.
Demographics and character
According to Statistics Canada, most residents of the municipality are over 45; and, indeed, Sechelt has become increasingly attractive to retirees from across Canada. Perhaps as a result, new upscale subdivisions and smaller residential developments have grown significantly in recent years.
The village itself, the original locus of Sechelt, includes Clayton's (a pioneer family) Heritage Mall and numerous small retail shops catering to local residents and tourists. A new public library was opened in 1997, and a combined provincial courthouse and Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) building, and a public recreation aquatic centre serving Sechelt and the surrounding area, have also been completed since that time. Immediately to the east of the downtown village is the Sechelt, or "Shishalh" First Nation Band Lands, containing a shopping centre, movie theatre, and one of the largest open pit gravel quarry extraction operations in North America. Sechelt is home to the Sunshine Coast's only hospital (St. Mary's) and a small university campus of Capilano University. The local regional government offices of the Sunshine Coast Regional District and Sechelt airport, presently a small regional aerodrome, are a few miles east of the downtown village in the Wilson Creek neighbourhood. A public seawall and walk, wharf and recently acquired lands for a public waterfront park, presently known as Mission Point Park, are located in the Davis Bay neighbourhood.
Recreation and tourism
The Sechelt and Sunshine Coast general area is known for its natural beauty, being a popular destination for those interested in kayaking, diving, snowshoeing and skiing, hiking and backpacking, camping, mountain biking, and other outdoor activities. The municipality contains an 18 hole public golf course, parks, and a number of small marinas inside Sechelt Inlet and larger provincial parks nearby.
In recent years Sechelt has become known throughout BC for its annual Sleepy Hollow Rod Run and the annual "Show-and-Shine" held in conjunction with the August drag races at Sechelt Airport. Custom car builders and drag racers come from as far away as Alberta and Washington State to display and race their dragsters and hot rods.
Parks and conservation areas of note
The Hidden Groves area is next to the Sandy Hook community, 6 km from downtown Sechelt and 2 km from Porpoise Bay Provincial Park. The Groves offer trails for hikers and walkers, with easy walks of 15 minutes or so, and longer treks of 3 or 4 kilometres. There is a wheelchair accessible trail of 480 metres into the Ancient Grove portion suitable not only for wheelchairs but those with walkers, mothers with strollers and those not so fit. A second 400 metre accessibility trail loops from the kiosk at the entrance through pristine forest and back to the kiosk.
A large map of all trail is at the kiosk. All the trails are very well marked and prepared. There are signs at all intersections containing directions, maps and guides. You cannot get lost. In addition there are take away printed maps in a box at the entrance.
The Groves includes: ancient giant trees, maple wetland and rocky promontories; there is access and parking at the entrance to the trails; views of Vancouver Island and Sechelt Inlet; and it is a legal off-leash area for dogs.
The Sechelt Heritage Forest portion of the Groves is a protected interpretive forest, as designated by the Province. Hidden Grove is currently part of the BC Forest and under a special tenure to the Sechelt Community Forest, which has declared the Grove a special high-priority recreational area and mandated it shall not be logged. Volunteers provide daily maintenance and development.
Porpoise Bay Provincial Park
The Porpoise Bay Provincial Park, located on the east side of Sechelt Inlet, is some 4 km north of the downtown Sechelt. This park is characterized by second-growth forest, open grassy areas and sandy beaches.
- Community Profile: Sechelt District Municipality, Sunshine Coast Regional District, British Columbia; Statistics Canada
- A brief history of Sechelt
- The District of Sechelt
- The Hidden Groves