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Cortes Island is one of the archipelago known as the Discovery Islands in British Columbiamarker, Canadamarker which lie beyond the northern end of the Gulf of Georgiamarker, between Vancouver Islandmarker and the British Columbia Mainland. Cortes lies on the far side of Quadra Islandmarker from the city of Campbell Rivermarker, separated from Quadra Island by Sutil Channelmarker. To the northeast across Lewis Channel is West Redonda Islandmarker, while Desolation Soundmarker lies to the east of Cortes Island and beyond it, the upper end of the Malaspina Peninsulamarker.

Cortes Island is located roughly halfway between Powell Rivermarker and Campbell Rivermarker. The island is 25 km (16 mi) long, 13 km (8 mi) wide, and 130 km² (50 sq mi) in area. It has a population of 1,042 permanent residents (2006 census) Cortes is the largest community, and largest island, in Electoral Area "I" of the Strathcona Regional District.

The island was named in 1792 during the expedition of Galiano and Valdés, presumably after Hernán Cortés, the Spanish conqueror of Mexicomarker. It is accessed by plane through a non-profit private airstrip Cortes Island Airportmarker on the south end or by seaplane to many of the islands protected harbours, or by ferry from Quadra Islandmarker, which is itself accessed from Campbell River on Vancouver Islandmarker. Whaletownmarker, Squirrel Cove and Mansons Landingmarker are communities on the island. Desolation Sound is off the east shore of the island. Forestry, fishing and mining have featured in its history. There is also a campground at Smelt Bay Provincial Parkmarker.


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