Thetis Island History

Cows at Capernwray
Cows at Capernwray

At the outbreak of W.W.I, the population of this lush island was still only seventy! It’s been slowly growing ever since and a proposed new development could see the population top 400.

Settlers from Britain arrived here in the 1870’s and produced farm crops for the Vancouver Island market. William Curran was one of the early settlers.

The Burchells from England and the Hunters from the Shetland Islands arrived shortly after and between the two families they owned most of this tiny island. Preedy Hall, built by the Burchells, later burnt down but was rebuilt in 1930. You can’t miss the imposing and definitely Tudor looking structure when you arrive by ferry. It’s now the Bible camp Capernwray, one of the three Christian camps on the island. A hill and a road now immortalize the Burchell’s name.

The British navy gave its name to both Thetis and nearby Kuper islands. Captain Augustus Kuper was the commander of the 36 gun frigate, Thetis, which was stationed at Esquimalt in 1851.

Kuper has evolved as a First Nations Reserve, accessible by the same ferry from Chemainus that drops off Thetis passengers. The two islands were once joined by mud flats but a canal was dredged between them in 1905.