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Yellowhead Highway 16; 30 sea miles south of southeast Alaska; approximately 90 miles from Terrace; 450 miles from Prince George; 942 miles from Vancouver, BC. The Alaska Ferry System and BC Ferry System both have terminals in Prince Rupert. Population: 16,000. Area Population: 17,176. Visitor Information: Tourism Prince Rupert; Email: info@visitprincerupert.com; Phone: (250) 624-8687.
Prince Rupert BC


Anyone planning a vacation to Alaska or the west coast of British Columbia will soon realize the strategic importance of Prince Rupert to their vacation. Located just 30 miles (50 km) south of southeast Alaska, Prince Rupert is the crossroads of Canada’s great Pacific Northwest. It is the interface between major land and sea highways, the southernmost port of the Alaska Ferry System and the northern terminus for the B.C. Ferry System, making this scenic city the kick off point for marine travel to Alaska. Prince Rupert is also the western terminus of the Yellowhead Highway 16, which cuts across western Canada all the way to Winnipeg and is the closest major thoroughfare to Alaska. Charter flight services are readily available in Prince Rupert to the Queen Charlotte Islands and other coastal destinations.

 

Possessing the third largest, naturally deep ice-free harbor in the world and on a direct route to Pacific Rim Countries, Prince Rupert is a tailor-made import/export center. Built in the shadow of Mount Hays, this picturesque city is well worth exploring. The region is home to the coastal rainforest, fjords and estuaries that legends have long been based upon. It is known for its exceedingly rich land-based and marine wildlife populations, huge rivers and a myriad of salmon spawning streams, as well as the magnificently rugged Coast Mountain Range. The region around Prince Rupert was the geographic center of several distinct northwest coast native nations, each with its own language, legends and traditions. The area is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in North America, with permanent and seasonal villages dating back 5,000 years.

 

The Museum of Northern BC, considered one of the best in the Province, is world famous as is the carving shed just behind it, where visitors can watch native artists at work. The museum has an outstanding collection of artifacts and sponsors archaeological harbor tours during the summer months. The totem pole is perhaps one of the most striking objects of aboriginal art ever created and is undoubtedly the best known symbol of northwest coast art. Prince Rupert has one of the largest outdoors collections of totem poles in the world on permanent display. Eighteen authentic reproductions of famous poles are located in various parks including the grounds around city hall and the Museum of Northern BC.

 

Argillite carvings are a classic example of an art type peculiar to one region. Although Prince Rupert has no direct ancestral claim to argillite carvings, the first argillite artifacts traded with Spanish explorers date back as far as 1776. Argillite, a black soapstone-like slate, is used solely by the Haida Indians of the Queen Charlotte Islands where argillite carving originated. In recent years the detailed carvings of the Haida have gained worldwide recognition. Several museums in major centers around the world along with dozens of private individuals have acquired substantial collections of both the old and new carvings.

 

Area Activities: North Pacific Cannery Village and Marine Museum, located just outside of Port Edward approximately 20 km from Prince Rupert, is one of the few remaining original canneries which dotted the coastline. The museum presents a 100-year history of the fishing industry. The rustic and peaceful setting offers an idyllic change from the hurried lifestyle of the present. Performing Arts Centre: Prince Rupert’s newest 700-seat multi-feature entertainment facility for local and guest artists, located five minutes from downtown. Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery: 1 km past the Performing Arts Centre and swimming pool on Wantage Road, across from McDonald’s, raises Coho Salmon for release in the area. Volunteer staff in winter; please call (604) 624-6733 to arrange tour. July and August, summer staff provides tours on demand. Entry by donation.

 

See the huge BC cedar logs which have been used to fashion the Chatham Village Longhouse. This complex houses the Northwest Community College as well as the North Coast Tribal Council. Kwinitsa Station across from Via Rail is a railway museum and a delight for all railway buffs. Fire Hall Museum display located in the fire station contains a reconstructed 1925 "REO Speedwagon"  Prince Rupert’s first fire engine with electric lights and air tires. Fishing off Public Docks: Fish to your heart’s content but don’t forget your license! Seaplane Base: A legacy of World War II, in use by airline companies serving outlying communities. Fishing Charters: Custom fit fishing charters with prices for every budget. Harbor Tours: Scenic tours of the city by boat. Flight-Seeing Tours: Small plane and helicopter tours to see the city and surrounding area from the air! Flight-Fishing Charters: Fly in to remote streams and lakes for great fishing. West Coast Shopping: Prince Rupert’s downtown area was established before the city’s incorporation in 1910 and a number of its buildings precede that date, providing interesting architecture and varied shopping. Cow Bay is one of the oldest areas of Prince Rupert. Legend has it that when the first dairy herd arrived in 1906, no dock had yet been built so the cows had to jump into the water and swim ashore. Today, this waterfront area is a bustling shopping and dining district with a number of historic buildings.

 

 

Prince Rupert Port Interpretive Centre
Located on the central waterfront in the ground floor of Atlin Terminal below Port Authority offices at 200-215 Cow Bay Road, the Port Interpretive Centre tells the story of the Port of Prince Rupert. This is a story that stretches from 10,000 years ago -- when the area acted as a trading hub for the Tsimshian First Nation -- to the present, with the rapid growth of the port’s commerce in containers, coal, and grain. The Port Interpretive Centre teaches not only where we come from, but where we are going.
 
The idea for creating an interpretive centre was born out of public curiosity and local interest in the operations of the Port of Prince Rupert and the role of the Prince Rupert Port Authority in those operations. “We want to go to the community as well as the community to come to us and understand really what’s going on,” said Maynard Angus, Manager of Community Relations for the Prince Rupert Port Authority. “When people walk through the doors they will be able to read, hear and watch interactive exhibits that explain the history, the terminals, the product and the people. They’ll understand what a lump of coal feels like, what’s inside a container, where these products are moving between Asian markets and North America, and ultimately where Prince Rupert fits into the supply chain.”
 
Exhibits within the Port Interpretive Centre begin with the history of First Nations culture and trade in the region, Charles Hays’ vision and the development of the city, the significance of World War II to the port, and why the port’s potential wasn’t realized sooner. 
 
Visitors will also find large visual displays, including an interactive trade route simulator, that identify different products and vehicles moving through Prince Rupert and the facilities that move them, the economic impacts of operations and competitive trade route, as well as the people and partners who make it all possible. In addition to educating people in Prince Rupert about what’s happening in their own backyard, the Port Interpretive Centre is also a valuable tourism asset for enhancing visitors’ understanding of one of the economic drivers of the region.
 

Bear Viewing in the Khutzeymateen Great Bear Rainforest

 An eagle soars overhead, dipping its wing in reverence to the 500-year-old tree standing sentry in the coastal inlet. Orcas and humpbacks silently navigate the surrounding channels, and grizzlies graze on sedge grass silhouetted against a backdrop of lush, mountainous rainforest. To the Gitsi’is tribe of British Columbia, Canada, the Khutzeymateen is a sacred area that sustained and nourished their people. It is a place of solace and contemplation, where you go to be close to your maker and hear him speak. 


Established in 1994 as Canada’s first and only grizzly bear sanctuary, the 174 square miles is a carefully managed territory that protects the entire watershed of the rivers and the Khutzeymateen inlet and foreshore. The area was originally scheduled to be logged, but individuals and the tribes worked together and convinced others, including Prince Phillip of England, who lobbied the government that the region should be studied. Over four years, biologists, naturalists and other scientists took detailed notes and observations of the landscape, and out of their research the sanctuary was born. Sometimes called the “The Great Bear Rainforest”, it is home to the largest concentration of grizzlies in Canada. It is also the last remaining intact coastal temperate rainforest and a hidden gem within B.C. 


Khutzeymateen is located 28 miles northeast of Prince Rupert, B.C. and can only be reached by a two-hour boat ride or a 20-minute float plane trip to the sanctuary. Several tour operators out of Prince Rupert offer day or multi-day trips to the area. Prince Rupert is  an eclectic city where wildlife, history and people collide. It is a culturally diverse place as Japanese, Chinese, First Nations and Europeans have all left their mark on the place. The city is known for its abundance of fresh seafood, and the people of Prince Rupert are proud to cook with local ingredients cultivated from the surrounding landscape. The locals have a connection to the land and to community, a place where people stop what they are doing to watch Mother Nature’s display as the summer sun dips below the horizon and the curtain closes on another day. Hiking, kayaking, fishing and wildlife viewing all make up the adventures to be found in Prince Rupert. 


Captain Davis of Prince Rupert Adventure Tours says that Khutzeymateen is, “the greatest show on earth.” Their 7-hours bear-viewing tour gives tourists an opportunity to see these legendary giants in their natural environment. According to Davis, “Our goal is to provide you with a safe, pleasurable, unique wilderness experience. We conscientiously avoid altering the natural behavior of these creatures.”


Other operators such as Wild Compass offer visitors a unique Khutzeymateen experience with three or six day photography tours for intermediate wildlife photographers. Dan Wakeman, who was instrumental in the creation of the sanctuary, also conducts three to six day tours with visitors staying on a yacht and traveling every day with the rising tides into the estuary.


Besides bears, Khutzeymateen is also known for seals, whales, otters, wolves and eagles, but it is the bears that have people enthralled. Coming down from their winter mountain hibernation, the grizzlies make their way to the valley floor in the spring where they gorge on sedge grass. Eating up to 100 pounds a day, the early springtime sedge is 25% protein, making this an important part of the bears’ diet. From July to October the Khutzeymateem rivers teem with four different species of salmon and it is at the river’s edge where bears will devour up to 110 pounds of fish a day, bulking up before the snow begins to fall. Mothers teaching their cubs how to fish and forage can be seen at the rivers, as well as bears napping, playing and postering for dominance.


Khutzeymateem will not disappoint with its spectacular scenery of natural, unspoiled vistas and crisp, clear waters. Be an attentive observer of the behavior of these magnificent creatures, where for the bears nothing is gained or lost because visitors come not to disturb. The wildlife of Khutzeymateen holds a special place in the hearts of the First Nation tribes but it is the bears who are most revered, for it is believed that the grizzlies offer a resting place for the souls of the people who have died before, and from them the souls are re-born for the next generation. 


Breath of the Bear recommends the following companies:


Prince Rupert Adventure Tours:

www.adventuretours.net

Phone: 800-201-8377


Wild Compass:

www.wildcompasstours.com

Phone: (818) 522-1677

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

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