The Port Alberni area and the West Coast of Vancouver Island is the traditional territory of the Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council. The Nuu-chah-nulth is also known as the Nootka. These first peoples were whalers, but they also were harvesters of dentrillium shells, they were long used as money for trade, they can only be found off the west coast of the island, and at a depth of over 100 feet, they had elaborately built tools to harvest these shells. They were found to be in use as far away as the northeast coast of America.
The city of Port Alberni, Vancouver Island is located at the head of Alberni Inlet on Vancouver Island. Its economy has historically been mining, fishing, and logging, but today it is tourism, Port Alberni is sitting at the head of the longest inlet on Vancouver Island and is the hub to the central west coast of Vancouver Island.
It is the gateway to the Pacific Rim National Park, Barkley Sound, and Clayoquot Sound, It is a perfect place to set up base camp and then do day trips to all the interesting places from here. It is surrounded by pristine wilderness, huge first-growth forests, and wild rivers, the forests are filled with wildlife and incredible big trees, the rivers, lakes, and sea are filled with salmon, halibut, cod, trout, and marine wildlife. The birdlife is incredibly diverse.
Port Alberni was named after Captain Don Pedro de Alberni, a Spanish officer who commanded Fort San Miguel at Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island from 1790 to 1792.
It is definitely one of the major hubs for fishing on central Vancouver Island and the waterfront fishing shops and boat rental outfits are the best places for information on fishing locally in both saltwater and freshwater. The people of Port Alberni make the claim of being the salmon fishing capital of the world, Campbell River makes the same claim…so let’s just say that Vancouver Island is the salmon fishing capital of the world.
There are many things to do here, there is a deep seaport where you can get on a west freighter and take a trip along the coast as it makes deliveries and picks up passengers, a truly great trip, there is a casino, new hospital, parks, and inner-city hiking trails, shopping and sports facilities. Many hotels, motels, b&b’s, lodges, and restaurants.
Be sure and stop at the spectacular new Visitor Information Center as you enter the town. To the west of Port Alberni are the communities of Ucluelet and Tofino and the spectacular Long Beach.
The village of Bamfield and the trailhead of the west coast trail can be reached by traveling along a 100 km unpaved but decent road from Port Alberni.
So come on for a visit, you won’t regret it and remember to bring your camera. Maybe you should also bring boots (rubber) and rain gear, depending on the time of year you come, it could be raining, but that is the nature of our west coast weather.