About Savary Island


Savary Island is located on the unceded, traditional and ancestral territory of the Coast Salish peoples. The Island is within the territory of the Tla’amin First Nation. The Tla’amin Nation named Savary Island ‘Áyhus’, which means double headed serpent, a reference to the island’s shape. According to legend, the Transformer changed this creature into the island as it was trying to return to its cave on Hurtado Point.

In June of 1792, the British ships Discovery and Chatham, under George Vancouver, sailed by Savary island on their way to Desolation Sound. On June 25 1792 (approx.), Captain Vancouver gave the island the name “Savary’s Island”. You can find the entry in his journal here.

In early July 1792, “a boat survey team led by Peter Puget and Joseph Whidbey charted Savary Island and spent at least one night on shore, meeting a group of indigenous people at island’s eastern end. Puget did not refer to the island as Savary, instead he simply called it Indian Island.”

Archibald Menzies, the expedition’s doctor and naturalist, described Puget and Whidbey’s campsite as “a delightful plain with a fine smooth beach … that rendered the situation both desirable and pleasant and such as they of late seldom enjoyed.”

According to Powell River historian Barbara Anne Lambert, Savary was perhaps named for Captain Thomas Savery (1650-1715) who was born at Shilstone Manor House, Devon. He was a military engineer who invented and patented the first commercial steam engine in 1698.

In 1910 the island was subdivided by a real-estate syndicate into hundreds of tiny lots and marketed as a “South Sea island paradise.” A hotel and wharf were built, and Savary became very popular with Vancouver holidaymakers. (source)

Main source: Savary Island Encyclopedia.