Summer 2020 at Sproat Lake
A 15-minute drive northwest of Port Alberni on Central Vancouver Island, Sproat is home to two distinct populations, seasonal and year-round, living as next-door neighbours in many cases, one community. About 2,000 reside all through the year. Normally, the lake’s population swells to many times that through the summer season with an influx of weekenders and tourists. Summer 2020, of course, was anything but normal.
Summer 2020 at Sproat Lake
“People have been here for the summer and actually came when COVID started,” said Penny Cote, area director with Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District and a volunteer with Sproat Lake Community Association. “They were isolating in the summer time. They were getting away from the big city to a safer area where there are not so many people.”
Who could blame them?
Having a place at “the lake” is a fairly popular notion and Sproat’s beauty seems to win over people at first sight. For years, lake residents have commuted to work in the city or in the woods. Sproat Lake has been a tourist destination for more than a century and a summer cabin retreat for generations. Many years ago, Klitsa Lodge was frequented by the rich and famous in the 1920s and 1930s.
Summer time at the lake is filled with recreational fishing, which was popular along with water skiing, jet skis and wake boarding over the last few decades and still today.
“My neighbour gets up every morning and goes out water skiing,” Penny Cote said. “Life is good here. Life is very good here.”
“We came here just this summer,” said Ann Hay, finishing up a game of pickleball with her husband Kris and friends at the hall. “It’s really only 45 minutes from Nanaimo, but with a different lifestyle entirely.”
The couple decided to relocate as he works from home and she commutes to her yoga and fitness studio in Nanaimo. Like so many others, they’re drawn to the surrounding beauty as well as an active, albeit more laid-back, lifestyle.
Communities on the Island’s west coast also experienced a major influx well beyond usual summer traffic, especially Port Alberni and Sproat Lake. The population at the lake increased noticeably with the influx, a trend expected to continue with some seasonal residents opting to remain and work from their lake homes.
Written by Mike Youds, at the Valley Vibe. Port Alberni’s fast growing community and online magazine. The passion here at the Valley Vibe is to showcase the beautiful of our valley for all who live here, and travel through. Working together with many talented writers, we at the Valley Vibe love to explore, discover and uncover secret jewels about Port Alberni and Sproat Lake.