Nestled within the stunning landscape of the East Coast of Vancouver Island is “Fairwinds” at Nanoose Bay – just south of Parksville and north of Nanaimo. Located on the leeward side of the mountain Nanoose Bay has the bragging rights of the mildest climate in Canada.
As you drive down Powder Point Road past Enos Lake to Fairwinds, you may wonder where these names originated. The forest engulfs the relics of bygone years, but a little delving into the past soon uncovers a colorful history here. The first settler on the Nanoose Peninsula was John Enos. Originally from the Azores, he established his farm calling it the Notch Hill Ranch. A diary kept by young Joseph indicates the Enos home was a gathering place form any guests from near and far.
To the local Indians the peninsula was known as Berry Point. In the early 1800s, a roving band of Indians swooped in on the unsuspecting Nanoose Tribe who were berry picking and massacred many of them. One of the few survivors was a child hidden in a cave, later to be knows as “Nanoose Bob”, a celebrated hunter. His legacy lives on as over his life span (reputed to be at least 100 years), he acquired eight wives and many children.
In 1911, a new era began that resulted in the peninsula becoming known as “Powder Point”. The Giant Powder Company built a plant and established a thriving community here. Cordite and gunpowder were manufactured and the product was used in mining, land clearing and armaments for World War I. The community was complete with water and sewer systems, electricity, telephones and about three miles of railway track. About 100 men were employed. On January 1, 1918 catastrophe struck when the “dope” house, storing nitro-glycerine, blew up. The blast wreaked havoc and was heard as far away as Vancouver and Ladner. The plant moved to James Island in 1925.
The site was sold in 1929 to a group that envisioned forming an exclusive club, complete with golf course, tennis courts, swimming pools and accommodation. Fate and timing was not on their side, however, and the land once again became pasture to sheep and cattle. The 1350 acres changed hands numerous times. The magnificent beauty of the area draws like a magnet. The present owners are successfully creating a community where residents can live in peace and harmony with nature.
A favourite spot of locals is Brickyard Cove, a delightful five acre waterfront park. Dedicated by the developers of Fairwinds, Brickyard Cove remains a peaceful haven for all to enjoy. In 1911, a brick plant was located in the vicinity. Clay was brought in from fields which are now the golf course. Coal to fire the kiln was brought in by barges which were used to haul the bricks away. Bricks can still be seen intertwined in the roots of giant maples and fir in the park. (See photo.)
Take the time to enjoy our golf course, explore the trails discover Schooner Cove, perhaps enjoy some kayaking or sailing. To experience “Fairwinds” is to discover how aptly it is named.
Contributed by Bed and Breakfast On The Green Nanoose Bay.