Prince Rupert Tourist Attractions
The port of Prince Rupert is scenically located on Kaien Island among the fiords of Canada's often rain-shrouded Pacific coast just 60 km (37 mi.) from the southern tip of Alaska.
Its large ice-free natural harbor near the mouth of the Skeena soon made Prince Rupert one of Canada's prime fishing ports, but it is also important as the terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, now Canada National Railway. Grain, coal and timber are shipped out through the port, which is also the main destination of B.C. ferries, sailing between here and Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands, and along the Alaska Marine Highway. The town and its fisheries expanded considerably after the Second World War, adding paper and cellulose to its other industries, and more recently tourism as well.The town was founded in 1906 by Charles Hays, the ambitious General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, as a northern rival to Vancouver, and the railway line was completed in 1914. During the Second World War it served as a base for the Canadian and American forces.Downtown Prince Rupert still retains many of the buildings from its earliest years. Near the museum stands the B.C. Court House, a building of 1921 in Neo-Classic style.The Indian Cultural Days are in June every year and feature traditional Indian dances and crafts.
Museum of Northern British Columbia
The Museum of Northern British Columbia is devoted primarily to the Indian culture of the Pacific coast. Outside of the building is a brakeman's cabin of 1917, a former Skeena fishing boat; native carvers can be watched at work in the adjoining carving shed.The Museum of Northern British Columbia is housed in a post and beam structure and provides a comprehensive overview of the history of Prince Rupert and Northern BC, going back 5,000 years. Visitors will learn about the Tsimshian settlements, the fur traders, and the founding of Prince Rupert. The museum has a large collection of artifacts which are well laid out. This is probably the most interesting attraction in Prince Rupert.
Haida and Tsimshian beautifully carved totem poles can be found throughout the town as a reminder of the peoples who originally lived here as far back as 5,000 years ago. There are some particularly fine examples at Harbour Viewpoint, at Summit Avenue on the edge of Roosevelt Park, from where there is also a good view over the bay and the harbor, especially at sunset.Prince Rupert's collection of totem poles is considered one of the best in Northern British Columbia. The Haida and Tsimshian are known for a variety of artworks in addition to the totem poles.
Port Edward, Canada
A short detour from Prince Rupert leads to Port Edward (about 10 km (6 mi.) south of Hwy. 16) where in 1987 a museum was created in the remnants of the old North Pacific Cannery, shut down in 1981. The cannery, established in 1889, was one of nineteen which used to operate on the Skeena River. It employed as many as 400 people in its heyday and a small, still very picturesque settlement, Port Edward, grew up around the isolated factory with its warehouses and wharves. Like the factory itself a number of the simple log cabins are supported on stilts and linked by boardwalks. Some are now used for selling souvenirs and refreshments.A few kilometers further on are the remains of the Inverness Cannery, burned down in 1973.
Kwinitsa Railway Museum
Next to the modern VIA rail station in Prince Rupert stands the former Kwinitsa Station, now the Kwinitsa Station Railway Museum. Built originally in 1915 and moved here in 1985, it contains a little museum on the subject of the building of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.Originally 400 train stations like this one in Prince Rupert were built along the Grand Trunk Railway. Today only four remain, including the Kwinitsa Station that houses the Kwinitsa Station Railway Museum. Visitors will learn all about this and more in the museum, which is open during the summer months only.
Called "kaien" (meaning "frothing water") by local Indians, the Butze Rapids are an interesting tidal phenomenon produced by the strong currents at the edge of the Morse Basin. Viewpoint on Hwy. 16 (5 km (3 mi.) east of Prince Rupert).There is a Butze Rapids Interpretive Trail is a loop, just under 5 km (3 mi) in length. The trails runs through old growth forest and of course visitors will see the reversing tidal rapids. There are markers along the way with information for visitors.The trail has recently undergone restoration and is in good condition.
Behind the Court House lie the so-called "Sunken Gardens" which attract many visitors. They were laid out after the Second World War on the site of a munitions dump.The site was excavated for a building at one time but when the plans fell through it was decided to use the area to create a garden. Terraced rock walls surround the green space. In the bottom of the garden is a lawn area with benches.
There are a number of sites and attractions within a short distance of Prince Rupert.
From the summit of Mount Hays (732 m / 2402 ft) there is a magnificent panoramic view of the Pacific Coast. On a clear day it is possible to see as far as the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Alaska Panhandle. The cable railway from Prince Rupert (Wantage Road) takes four hours to reach the summit and operates in July and August (timetable available from the Tourist Information Center).There are a variety of hiking trails in the area.In the winter Mount Hays Recreation Area offers skiing.
Hovercraft trips lasting several hours operate from Prince Rupert to Port Simpson, a remote Indian village, a Tsimshian community of Lax Kw'alaams, about 30 km (19 mi.) to the north of Prince Rupert. Set up as an outpost of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1834, Port Simpson is also served by a twice-weekly ferry or by hydroplanes from of the Seal Cove hydroplane terminal.The village is located near the Wark Inlet.
Map of Prince Rupert Attractions