Prince Rupert

Population: 13,392

Prince Rupert is located on Kaien Island on the west coat of Bristish Columbia, 448 miles west of Prince George via Yellowhead Highway 16, 90 miles by  air or water from Ketchikan, AK. 

Visitor Information: Tourism Prince Rupert Visitor Centre located at 200-215 Cow Bay Road, open daily in summer. Phone 800-667-1994 or 250-624-5637.

Prince Rupert, “Gateway to Alaska,” was surveyed prior to 1905 by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (later Canadian National Railways) as the terminus for Canada’s second transcontinental railroad.

Incorporated as a city March 10, 1910, Prince Rupert attracted settlers responding to the enthusiasm of Hays, with his dreams of a population of 50,000 and world markets supplied by his railroad. Both the city and the railway suffered a great loss when Charles M. Hays went down with the Titanic in April 1912. Even so, work went ahead on the Grand Trunk Pacific. Two years later the first train arrived at Prince Rupert, linking the western port with the rest of Canada. Since then, the city has progressed through 2 world wars, economic ups and downs and periods of growth and expansion, not only as a busy port but also as a visitor centre.

Prince Rupert is the second major deep-sea port on Canada’s west coast, exporting grain, lumber and other resources to Europe and Asia. Prince Rupert has also become a major coal and grain port with facilities on Ridley Island. Other industries include fishing and fish processing, and the manufacture of forest products. Prince Rupert is underlaid by muskeg over solid rock.

More than a dozen hotels and motels accommodate the influx of ferry passengers each summer. Many restaurants feature fresh local seafood in season. Walmart, local shops and shopping centres are available. Government liquor store is at the corner of 2nd Avenue and Highway 16. There are 5 main banks and a laundromat. Tim Hortons (open 4 a.m. to 1 a.m.), McDonald’s and Subway located here as well as several local cafes and coffee shops in the Cow Bay area. The Safeway on Second Avenue has a Starbucks (open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.).

Camping options include Prince Rupert RV Campground on Highway 16, between downtown and the ferry terminal which  has 77 campsites with full hookups, unserviced tent sites, restrooms, hot showers, WiFi and laundry; phone 250-627-1000. Campground host opens for late arrivals on the BC Ferries run from Port Hardy. Additionally, there are 24 campsites at Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park (10 sites may be reserved), at Milepost PG 432.5 Yellowhead Highway 16, located 15.2 miles/24.5 km east from the ferry terminal. Open May 12–Sept. 17. Camping fee $20.

Attractions:

  • Museum of Northern British Columbia is in an award-winning Chatham Village Longhouse and displays an outstanding collection of artifacts depicting the settlement history of British Columbia’s north coast.
  • Experience the historic ambience and unique dining and shopping experiences of Cow Bay, located along the waterfront northeast of downtown.
  • Visit the Railway Museum at Kwinitsa Station, one of the few surviving stations of the nearly 400 built along the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway line.
  • Take a tour boat around Kaien Island, go whale watching and grizzly bear viewing with local charter services.
  • See a dramatic reversing tidal rapid at Butze Rapids viewpoint (best viewing is about an hour after low tide).
  • Swim at Diana Lake provincial park, the only freshwater swimming in the Prince Rupert area.
  • Numerous fresh- and saltwater fishing areas are available near Prince Rupert.