Coastal Communities, Pacific Northwest
Port Hardy Vancouver Island is the largest community on the North Island. The first settlers came to the Port Hardy area at the turn of the century, Alec Lyon and his wife Sarah opened a store and post office on the east side of Hardy Bay in 1904, not far from the existing settlement of Fort Rupert on the shores of nearby Beaver Harbor.
The total isolation of the area discouraged further settlement, but in 1912, after a shady land deal by the hardy bay land company, more settlers began to arrive. Posters promising settlers a well established town with roads, railways, grain elevators and wharf’s. Many came from the states and some from as far as the U.K., as they arrived, they found none of these amenities and found only thick forests and rocky land. A place at the end of the world.
Many packed up and left, but others had invested everything they had to make the move were forced to remain and by 1914, 12 families had settled, built a school, church, sawmill, and a hotel. By 1916, a rugged trail was built from Port Hardy Vancouver Island to Coal Harbor and the community was on its way to becoming the central North Island supply center it is today.
There is lots of wildlife in and around the Port Hardy area, there are so many eagles here that you can see one any time you like. The other birds here are just as plentiful, birds like northern shrikes and puffins. Killer whales run up and down the coasts of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound. Take a trip on one of the tour boats from late June to late Oct and you’ll see and hear these majestic mammals along with humpback, grey and Mink whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions and sea otters.
Watch for black bears along the highway in spring and summer. They feed along riverbanks during the salmon run in the fall. Grizzly bear viewing excursions will take you by boat to nearby mainland inlet shores July through September for some incredible bear viewings.