Telegraph Cove is a community of about 20 people in the North Vancouver Island region. It is a former fishing and cannery village that has become a launch point for eco-tourism.
with Beaver Cove which is 3 km (2 mi) up the inlet.
The community grew out of a one-room station at the northern terminus of the Campbell River telegraph line. Next to the arts and crafts gallery stands the home of community pioneer Fred Wastell, whose father purchased most of the land around the cove. Together with Japanese investors, he established a chum salmon saltery and a small sawmill.
Today, Telegraph Cove's economy is based primarily on tourism due to its prime location on Johnstone Strait and its proximity to Robson Bight ecological reserve. Telegraph Cove serves as the send-off point for kayakers and other whale-watchers who are interested in sightings of the large number of Orca Whales that spend the summer months in Johnstone Strait which separates the northern part of Vancouver Island from the rest of British Columbia. The old fishing village of Telegraph Cove has been turned into a resort where numerous small businesses head up operations that take tourists into the Johnstone Strait. Stubbs Island Charters (Telegraph Cove Whale Watch) helped put the cove on the whale watching world's radar in the 1980s. They remain a leading tourism draw for Telegraph Cove and the north island.
Telegraph Cove is 349 km northwest of Nanaimo, 14 km east of Highway 19 (Inland Island Highway). Driving to Telegraph Cove from Nanaimo takes just over four hours.
Everything within Telegraph Cove can be seen on foot - the entire village can be walked across in around five minutes. While not wheelchair-friendly, it is partially accessible.
- North Island Kayak guided tours, ☏ , toll-free: . Explore the islands along Johnstone Strait, the Broughton Archipelago and the killer whale reserve of Robson Bight, with Telegraph Cove an excellent starting point. Orca or killer whales, humpback whales, bald eagles, porpoises, black bears, seals, and salmon can be found along the coast. The area is subject to considerable tidal currents and can become very windy in the afternoons so caution is advisable. Their office is adjacent to Telegraph Cove Marina's boat launches. 2- to 8-day excursions available. Adults/under 18s (plus 5% tax): 2-hour $63-73/50-65; half-day $95-115/75-105; full-day $140-165/120-155.
- Tide Rip Grizzly Tours, ☏ , toll-free: . One-day grizzly bear tours: a two-hour boat ride by covered water taxi up into the beautiful stretches of Knight Inlet to view the grizzly bears. Along the way you often see black bears on the low tide beaches, harbour seals and porpoises, bald eagles and sometimes dolphins and river otters. Once you arrive at the grizzly bear hot spot we transfer into our flat bottom skiff to view the bears, moving around depending on where the bears are as they eat sedge grass around the picturesque estuary. A light breakfast and lunch are included. Daily from May through early October. May 1-Jul 15: $330 + 5% tax; Jul 16-Sep 30: $370 + 5% tax.
There are few opportunities for shopping: a small general store and a couple of small shops that sell art, postcards, and fishing supplies.
Eat and drink
- The Seahorse Cafe and coffee shop is at the south side of Dockside 29 and like the Killer Whale Cafe and most seasonal businesses in Telegraph Cove are open primarily from May through September.
- Killer Whale Cafe and Old Saltery Pub, ☏ , toll-free: . West Coast cuisine featuring a variety of local seafood. Reservations recommended.
- The Coffee Shop & The Cove Coffee Company. Fresh coffee and house-baked cinnamon buns, an assortment of sweets, wraps, sandwiches and speciality coffees.
- Telegraph Cove RV Park. 48 fully serviced sites. Marina and ocean views. A short walk to Telegraph Cove Marina. Open year round. 30 amp power. WiFi available. Outstanding potable water. Washrooms. Coin-operated showers. Full service includes water/power/sewer $45/night, 30 days or more $38/night; overflow parking - no hookups $35/night.
- Telegraph Cove Resort Campground (about 1 km up a gravel road from Telegraph Cove), ☏ , toll-free: . over 100 serviced sites available and contains a laundromat, washrooms, showers, firewood and a sani-dump. Full service sites (water, electricity and sewer) $38/night; partial Service (water & electricity) $36/night; water only sites $34/night; camping cabin (double bed & bunk bed) $75/night.
- Telegraph Cove Resort, ☏ , toll-free: . Cabins and historic homes (2-8 people, some are wheelchair-accessible, pets welcome): off-season $115-200, in season $145-335. Dockside suites (with kitchens, some with deep freeze, no pets): off-season $130-155, in-season $270-225. Lodge (on top of the hill, overlooking the cove, no pets): off-season $185, in-season $220. Off-season is May to mid-Jun and Oct, in-season is mid-Jun to Sep..
- Telegraph Cove Marina and Telegraph Cove Resort's marina primarily cater to trailerable boats. Telegraph Cove Resorts has one slip available for 100-foot yachts, while Telegraph cove Marina has moorage for boats up to 68 feet (21 m) and 8 commercial moorage slips for vessels 40–60 feet.