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Photo by: Tim Melling

Port McNeill, Alert Bay and Sointula

Port McNeill provides ferry connection to its neighbouring communities of Alert Bay and Sointula on Cormorant and Malcolm Islands respectively giving visitors the opportunity to explore an abundance of culture within a relatively small, accessible area. Port McNeill is also the gateway to the protected Broughton Archipelago and sacred Great Bear Rainforest; world renowned for its rugged, remote beauty and famed white Kermode or ‘Spirit Bear’.

Rich with recreation, eco-tourism possibilities and a breadth of historical cultural treasures this region offers an amazing array of north-island experiences.

Port McNeill is named as such in part due to its Harbour that is open year round, with both commercial and pleasure boat berths for all vessel sizes. Centrally located and close to amenities this convenient harbour has become a major supply point for sailors travelling along the inner straits of Vancouver Island.

Outdoor Activities

Hiking

For long haul hiking adventure head north to Cape Scott Provincial Park. The Cape Scott and North Coast Trails hikes take 5-7 days each to complete.

For day hikes within Port McNeill’s borders, explore the Salt Marsh Trail, Schoolhouse Trail, or stroll along the seawall and see the 1938 steam donkey once used for logging operation. Head a few minutes south out of town to Telegraph Cove and amble along the historic boardwalk.

Windsurfing

Nearby Nimpkish Lake is a beautiful recreation area and is a hot spot for windsurfers thanks to consistent, reliable winds that rise on summer afternoons.

For more information including camping oppurtunities explore our windsurfing section.


Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park

 A pristine island chain within the Queen Charlotte Strait and BC’s largest marine park. This realm of diverse wildlife including bald eagles, salmon, seals and a variety of whale species is best accessed by a kayak or a light vessel under power. An immersive coastal experience awaits. See more on our Sea Kayaking page.


Robson Bight Ecological Reserve

This protected area was established in 1982 primarily for the protection of the near two hundred killer whales who travel through this area. Motorized boats must refrain from entering the area but whale watching tours skirt along the borders of the sanctuary to catch views of the mythical sea mammals.

History

This areas’ roots reach back as far as 9,000 years with the arrival of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation. Today the ‘Namgis people, a band within the larger Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, inhabit what is traditionally known as ‘Yalis on Cormorant Island a short sail from Port McNeill. Named after Captain William Henry McNeill of the Hudson Bay Company’s SS Beaver, the first steamship to sail the Pacific Northwest, Port McNeill’s foundations have been laid with an enduring pioneering spirit. Notably the first town to be incorporated under the law of the new Canadian Constitution in 1966, Port McNeill has long since been a hub of logging activity and in its recent era, the reforestation capital of northern Vancouver Island, simply calling itself ‘tree-farming country’.