Vancouver Island

Province

Have you thought about what life was like on Vancouver Island when things were a little more rugged, a little more remote and life moved at a slower pace? I recently experienced just that, and I didn’t have to time travel to do it.

“That used to be my hotspot over there,” said Captain Mike Halvorsen, pointing across the Alberni Inlet to a cove where Douglas Firs covered a mountainside and stood branch-to-branch at the edge of a pebble-covered beach.

The bulbs of market lights twinkling above were strung between cedar boughs, and Perry Como played on an outdoor loudspeaker.

“It’s 1953 day at the Mill today!” said Deanna Beaudoin, executive director of McLean Mill Historic Park  as she walked up to me with root beer floats in hand.

#ExplorePortAlberni Want to get out and explore the beautiful Alberni Valley? Follow this one-day itinerary and be prepared to be amazed.

#ExplorePortAlberni Instead of counting highway lines – because there were none – I looked out the window as narrow rows of timber whisked by like larger-than-life barcodes. The forest services road from Port Alberni to Bamfield follows the ocean inlet from the Pacific flowing in from the west, which many people often forget since Port Alberni is so close to the east coast of Vancouver Island.

#ExplorePortAlberni “That’s a MacGillivray's warbler,” said our intrepid guide Sandy McRuer, pausing mid-sentence, looking up into the trees.

The project’s premise was simple: one tree equals one sea-worthy canoe built by many hands, some more experienced than others.

The West Coast of Vancouver Island – from Ucluelet to Tofino – is home to more than a dozen world-class surf breaks along its 40-odd kilometre stretch of epicness. You can ride these waves of joy any time of year, even in winter, maybe carving out a “surf and ski” day at nearby Mount Washington. 

Reconciliation with the Indigenous People of Canada is an important conversation happening today in our country, but we may wonder how it applies to us or how we can get involved.Reconciliation with the Indigenous People of Canada is an important conversation happening today in our country, but we may wonder how it applies to us or how we can get involved.