Fanny Bay is a bay on Baynes Sound as well as a small hamlet with a population of about 815. Fanny Bay may have been named after Francis “Fanny” Palmer, the daughter of a popular Victoria family, or perhaps the physical appearance of an ample part of the human anatomy. There are several residential areas in Fanny Bay with lot sizes of around one acre. I live on Ships’s Point, my home for the past five years. From the shores of Fanny Bay you can see (and hear) colonies of sea lions and the occasional pod of transient orcas that hunting them. The fishing here is obviously great being a favored spawning area for salmon and herring. This sheltered area is perfect for Kayaking.
Fanny Bay is best known for its farmed oysters and other shellfish such as manila clams, savoury clams, and mussels. These farms are located on the granite rock shelves formed by the last ice age glaciers. During low tides the shelves are exposed and then flooded over again at high tides, creating a perfect place to farm oysters. Joseph McLellan initiated the first major oyster and clam seeding in Fanny Bay about 1947. The McLellan family still operates farms on Mud Bay, Ship Point, Buckley Bay and Denman Island. Mac’s Oysters processes approximately 34% of all of British Columbia’s farmed oysters and clams. You can stop at one of their factory outlets and purchase a bucket of shucked clams (one kilogram) for the amazing price of fifteen dollars.
The Fanny Bay Inn, affectionately known as the FBI, is located on the old coastal highway. Built in 1938, it has been a landmark and local watering hole for over eighty years. It serves great food and BC brewed beers and ales on tap which blend beautifully with the sea food items on the menu. On Sunday evenings you can bring your musical instruments and join the jam. If your only instrument is your voice you can watch for Karaoke nights. And of course you can enjoy their world famous Fanny Bay oysters.
There is one more little known treasure that is worth noting. Just before arriving at the FBI there is a place with creative pots and garden items but the real treasures are inside. You will find a beautiful display of West Coast aboriginal art that includes masks, carvings, and painting by some of the best indigenous artists on this planet. If I had six thousand dollars and a place to hang a painting there are several there that I find absolutely soul stirring.
There are several fine hiking trails in this area. My favorite is the one that winds through the Rosewall Creek Provincial Park which is located just before Fanny Bay officially begins. I claim it anyway. There is also a major fish hatchery there owned and operated by local people who are doing a great job of keeping the salmon stock alive. They will give you a tour if you ask. When fishing in the area you can keep the ones with a notch in their dorsal fin signifying that it comes from the Rosewall Creek hatchery. The others you may have to release.
Oysters, the shelled gems of the sea,
encased in their pearly white shells.
Oysters, a delicious healthy food
With a salty, briny, fishy-fresh flavor.
Oysters just to be enjoyed any way you like.
Perhaps raw, slurped down clean, whole,
or doused in vinegary mignonette,
brightened up with a dash of lemon,
or spiced with a drop of hot sauce.
Perhaps steamed or roasted in their shells on a grill
removing bacteria without adding calories.
Perhaps tossed in an olive or tomato base.
Perhaps breaded and fried, just a few calories more,
but with the added flavors of butter.
Oysters, high in micronutrients,
six of them with less than fifty calories,
each one with two grams of protein.
Oysters rich in minerals copper and selenium,
to prevent sensory degeneration,
zinc to even the passion score
with sexual enhancement for women,
while contributing to impotence in some men.
Vitamins, a generous amount of Vitamin D
to make up for light lost
in the cloud covered winters in Fanny Bay.
Vitamins, huge amount of vitamin B 12,
to keep us men strong enough
to hike a mountain path
and overcome the effects of zinc.