Prince Rupert, B.C. was the end of the AK Marine Highway ferry ride down from AK one year ago and the start of the drive through British Columbia, WA and OR to CA.
Incorporated in 1910, P.R. flourished from profitable lumber, fishing, cannery, pulp mills, coal and grain shipping terminals/industry. 18,000 called it home into the 1980’s. The 90’s brought economic depression, starting a decline in population. A container port and cruise ship dock opened in 2005, breathing life back into the declining town. The harbor is the deepest ice-free natural harbor in North America and the 3rd deepest natural harbor in the world.
P.R. sits on Kaien Island about 480 miles north of Vancouver on the B.C. coast. A short bridge connects it with the mainland via the Yellowhead Highway.
Below, a photo from Wikipedia showing the city on the NW end of the island viewed from Morse Mtn across the harbor.
This is Canada’s wettest city. 102 inches of precipitation fall annually over an average of 240 days per year. 102 inches! Less than 12 fall as snow. Decent weather I had there having only heavy, gray clouds with light showers.
A long, around-town walk I took.
After a touring the Museum of Northern British Columbia (highly recommended) I headed to the waterfront. A mix of harbors, shops and galleries made for fun sight-seeing.
Evidence of industry:
And how about this? The 10,000 Salmon Project was installed on the waterfront. The installation celebrates Ali Howard’s swim up the 610km long local Skeena River, tracing the migration of salmon. Her swim united communities living along the Skeena River, fostering dialogue relating to salmon habitat preservation. Children,aged preschool to grade 12, decorated 10,000 fish scales. These scales came together to form 28 salmon. Each salmon represented one of 28 communities. The exhibit’s moving up the river for all to share.
Ocassionally an exceptional treat I stumble across. A Haida artist, Lyle Campbell’s studio doors were wide open, and greeted me around the bend. He welcomed me into his studio to watch him, family and an apprentice work on a totem carving. I forgot its destination. He delivers it! Watching a totem carving in progress…can it get more neat than that?
Further down the shore were several harbors. The gray skies and dark water make the jewel colors of a harbor pop. Can’t get enough of such a sight:
After a lunch stop in “Cow Bay” (named after the cows who swam to shore in pre-docking times) I walked towards Seal Cove.
Damp and bright summer flowers:
Seal Cove’s home to a Coast Guard station. Float planes and more interesting boats lined the docks:
This leg of the walk led me along residential streets. Houses are older and charming:
Prince Rupert is a worthy stop if headed up this way. Should (when) I return to the Inside Passage I’d stop again.
Next post: The North Pacific Cannery, a trip highlight.