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Prince Rupert, British Columbia

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Prince Rupert, British Columbia

Introduction

Ideally situated on Canada's beautiful Northwest Coast, only a short distance from the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Alaskan border, Prince Rupert is the playground for outdoor adventures.

Excellent sport fishing, exceptional wildlife viewing, top notch attractions, and extensive outdoor activity options make Prince Rupert the ideal destination for cruise ships sailing to Alaska.

Attractions

Enter the Museum of Northern British Columbia and experience the magnificent architecture of a Northwest Coast longhouse. View exhibits that portray Northwest Coast history and culture dating back to the end of the last ice age. Witness the legacy of oral history, archaeological discoveries, and outstanding works of art and unique artifacts that depict the ancient and modern history of this spectacular region.
Pacific Mariners' Memorial Park
Pacific Mariners' Memorial Park is one of the city's finest parks. Featuring the Mariner's Statue and the Memorial Walls dedicated to those lost in local waters, it also features the Shinto Shrine and the restored Kazu Maru fishing boat that drifted from Owase, Prince Rupert's sister-city in Japan.
The Prince Rupert Fire Museum is operated by members of the Prince Rupert City Fire Rescue and by former Prince Rupert Fire Department auxiliary members. The museum, located beside the Prince Rupert Fire Hall, is home to a wide array of fire service artefacts, including a completely restored 1958 American LaFrance pump truck and a 1925 R.E.O. Speedwagon fire truck, the centre piece of the museum. Currently under restoration is a 1946 Mercury four door ex-B.C. Police car.
This state-of-the-art 700 seat house is operated by a non-profit society for the cultural benefit of the people of the Pacific Northwest. The house features side and upper balconies, with unobstructed views from all seats. The spacious lobby hosts art displays from local artists, as well as a soft bar. The PAC at the heart of arts in Prince Rupert, this venue is the envy of communities around BC and Canada. (1100 McBride Street)
Oldfield Creek Fish Hatchery
Learn about the salmon enhancement by student-hosted tours and enjoy the park-like setting and picnic sites at the hatchery. (Hatchery is off Highway 16, turn left onto Wantage Road)
In the late 1800's, from the Sacramento River in California to the Yukon River in Alaska, there stood close to a thousand salmon canneries. These rural canneries provided work for a multicultural work force of fishermen, boat builders, cannery workers and their families. Today, more than eighty percent of these rural canneries are gone, burned down and their sites returned to nature.

Built in 1889, North Pacific Historic Fishing Village is the most complete cannery that remains on the west coast. A wooden village suspended on pilings over the estuary of the Skeena River, you will be transported back to the hectic days of cannery life in North Pacific's remarkable river setting. Experience mouth-watering food, licensed dining, wildlife, and beautiful scenery, with tours and exhibits. A live show set against a backdrop of historic photos will bring to life the characters and the story of North Coast fisheries. Displays are housed in original buildings and guided tours describe the canning process, fishing methods and lifestyles.
Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course
Golf is almost a year-round activity at this beautiful 18-hole golf course. There is a putting green, a well equipped pro-shop and golf pro lessons. There is also a clubhouse with a restaurant and a bar. (523 9th Ave West)
The Sunken Garden
Originally excavated as the foundation of Court House and used for munitions storage during World War II, this hollow has been converted to a lovely gardens and park area. Relax for a few minutes and take some photos of these unique flower arrangements.
Kwinitsa Railway Museum
Located in Prince Rupert's waterfront park, the Kwinitsa Railway Station Museum provides adults and children alike with an exciting journey into the history of Canada's northern railway and the many small stations like Kwinitsa along its route. Exhibits portray the development of early Prince Rupert, from its days as the tent town at the terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway to its birth as a city in the 1920s. For more information contact the Museum of Northern BC.

Shopping

Cow's Bay
A 10 minutes stroll from downtown Prince Rupert, this trendy shopping area hosts an assortment of independently owned shops and restaurants including art and gift galleries, souvenir t-shirt shops, women's clothing, First Nations jewelry, and unique furniture. The ocean theme is complete with marine supplies and a fish market. The Atlin Terminal shopping centre here features the Ice House Gallery, an artists' cooperative where visitors can browse through a wide selection of works by local artists.
Downtown Shopping
In the historic downtown shopping district, "Main Street" has small and independently owned art galleries, craft stores, bookstores, jewelry and clothing stores, florists, and bakeries. There are also services such as a photography centre, hair salons, and pharmacy.
Cook's Jewellers
Showcasing the largest selection of Native hand-carved jewelry by famous Haida, Nisga'a and Tsimshian artists, along with natural gold nuggets and jewelery. (527 3rd Ave. West)
Bob&s on the Rocks
Bob's on the Rocks caters to the charter boat operators and their guests, but welcome all. They book fishing charters, supply shaved salted ice, drink ice, bait, coolers, and some of the best fish & chips on the Pacific Coast.
Located in Prince Rupert, Bloom Closet Flowers offers only the finest floral arrangements and gifts. Their products and services can also be ordered online.

Activities

Downtown Historic District
Explore Prince Rupert's historic downtown district. The art deco style City Hall is decorated with Northwest Coast motifs in its architectural details. Besner Block beside City Hall was built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, its builder a colorful character from early Prince Rupert, best remembered today as a Prohibition-era rumrunner who sold to thirsty customers in Alaska. Other souvenirs of history include some Second Avenue storefronts, virtually unchanged from when they were first built in 1911.
Guided Walking Tours
Check out guided tours offered by the Museum of Northern B.C., including the heritage walking tour, a Tsimshian Winter Feast Tour and Performance, and other specialized tours of the Museum collection. City tours are also available, which run at two hours each.
Butze Rapids Interpretive Trail & Grassy Bay Trail
Explore the coastal rainforest on easy interpretive trails. The Butze Rapids Trail is a 4.8km loop through old growth forests. View the Butze Rapids, Prince Rupert's own reversing tidal rapids, from this trail. The Grassy Bay Trail joins the Butze Rapids Trail. Interpretive signs appear along the trails and there are short steep sections and can be slippery when wet, so children may need assistance
Oliver Lake Dwarf Forest Nature Walk
Natural stunted pine make up this bonsai-like forest. Look for insect-eating bog plants. (8 km from town.)
Golf
An 18-hole golf course for the serious and not so serious golfer, the Prince Rupert Centennial Golf Course is located 2 km from downtown. Give yourself about four hours for 18 holes.

Wildlife

Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary
The only one of its kind in North America, The Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary protects prime grizzly habitat. Some 50 grizzlies, along with numerous black bears, are known to make their home in the area. Situated northeast of Prince Rupert, the Khutzeymateen is accessible by air and by water, so when bear season begins in spring, you can watch, from the silence and safety of boats, as they graze, often feeding on mussels and other sea treats. Whether you come by boat or by plane, the spectacular scenery is an attraction in itself.
Whale Watching
Whales are plentiful in the waters around Prince Rupert. For many, the sight of humpbacks, grays, orcas, or minkes leaves an impression that will last a lifetime. The timing of your visit will determine what species you see. It could be humpbacks lunge feeding or bubble netting, or the migrating grays that pass through in spring. Orcas frequent the area, and you will identify the minke by its small head and sharply curved dorsal fin.
Other Wildlife
Much of Prince Rupert's bird population spends the summer at sea, and ferry travellers can carry binoculars to watch for rare and unusual sightings. Kayakers and boaters are often rewarded with a close look at sea birds or curious river otters, and frequently encounter seals and sea lions. High mountain ledges are populated by mountain goats, most easily seen from an aircraft. And though shy and elusive, you may catch a glimpse of a wolf among the trees.

History

Prince Rupert Native Culture
Prince Rupert lies at the heart of the traditional territory of the Tsimshian First Nation. This territory is bordered by the traditional lands of the Gitxsan, Nisga'a, Haida and Heiltsuk people, many of whom today make their home in Prince Rupert as well as in their traditional communities along the coast. Though there are similarities between the different nations, each have their distinct language and way of life.
Prince Rupert lies at the heart of the traditional territory of the Tsimshian First Nation. This territory is bordered by the traditional lands of the Gitxsan, Nisga'a, Haida and Heiltsuk people, many of whom today make their home in Prince Rupert as well as in their traditional communities along the coast. Though there are similarities between the nations, each spoke a distinct language and led a unique way of life. The monumental art of the Northwest Coast cultures, today famous around the world, reflected the beliefs of the first people in the interconnectedness of all things, and the strength of a family hierarchy.

The Northwest Coast of America came to European attention during the Age of Discovery, when Spain, England and Russia all competed to expand their influence on the Pacific coast, but it was trade that brought Europeans at last into direct and lasting contact with the First Nations of the coast. At first British and American ships visited in search of the prized sea otter pelts, and then the Hudson's Bay Company expanded their territory to include permanent trading posts. The fur trade led the newcomers to see that the real wealth here was salmon, the bounty of the sea that formed the foundation of the First Nations lifeways, and by the end of the 19th century dozens of cannery villages were scattered throughout this area to take advantage of the rich salmon runs of the Skeena and Nass rivers. The selection of Kaien Island and the Port of Prince Rupert as the terminus of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad, and the arrival of the first surveyors on the future site of Prince Rupert in 1906, heralded the beginning of today's city.

More Information

A colorful site with maps, FAQs for visitors to the city of Prince Rupert.
Maps, attractions and city listings for Prince Rupert.
The city's official website
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