The History of Telegraph Cove Resort


Telegraph Cove is situated on the northeast corner of Vancouver Island. The resort was created in 1979 by Gordie and Marilyn Graham, long time residents of the North Island, primarily to take advantage of the great recreational ocean fishing. A campground and marina marked the beginning of the resort, which was the first of its kind built in the region. It accommodated the need for such a facility as Highway 19 had just been completed to Port Hardy and the ferry terminal to Prince Rupert had also just been established, bringing an influx of tourists to the area.


Telegraph Cove was established in 1912 as old sawmill town that had deteriorated to the point where everything had to be restored and rebuilt. Today, an eight hundred foot long boardwalk and dock surround the old village. The original houses and buildings were eventually restored and are used today for tourist accommodation.


Telegraph Cove is home to the first whale watching company that was established in 1980. Soon Telegraph Cove and the Killer Whales were known to the entire world. Robson Bight (Michael Bigg) Ecological Reserve, home of the famous rubbing beach, was formed in 1982 to protect this unique area forever. Today, Robson Bight Reserve is closed to public access, by land or water, to preserve the sensitive habitat for generations to come.


Throughout this time Telegraph Cove Resort Ltd kept restoring the buildings and structures of Telegraph Cove, completely at its own expense. Soon this little town out in the wilds of northern Vancouver Island had many reasons to be in the news. The Travel Writers of Canada voted it the nicest town in B.C. and articles about Telegraph Cove were appearing in publications worldwide.


In 1998 Telegraph Cove Resorts expanded, building a restaurant and pub, new general store, small hotel and large sewage treatment plant to take advantage of the increase in ecotourism and decline in sportsfishing. It now was a resort  that could accommodate 500 guests between the houses, cabins and campground/RV park.


In 1993 the Johnstone Strait Killer Whale Inerpretive Centre Society (WIC) was formed following a recommendation from the committee studying co-existence of whales and humans. Gordie Graham was made aware of the need for an Interpretive Centre by Jim Borrowman in 2002, and the WIC became a great addition for the Cove. That same winter Gordie and Leo Tureczek tore down 40’ of the old warehouse on the docks and built a large yellow cedar structure displaying skeletons of the marine mammals of the area. The centerpiece is a 20 meter long fin whale, donated graciously by Jim. Public education is the main function of the Interpretive Centre. Every year over 25,000 people tour this facility. 2017 saw the addition of another 1200 square feet, involving a lot of reconstruction, at the expense of Telegraph Cove Resorts.


In 2000 Tide Rip Grizzly Tours came to Telegraph Cove and started taking guests up Knight Inlet to view the grizzlies bears at Glendale Cove. Soon the small, historic village of Telegraph Cove Resort became the gateway for thousands of visitors to marine adventures, from kayaking, whale watching and sport fishing to grizzly bear & wildlife viewing. Today Telegraph Cove is the center for world class eco tourism activities.