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North America > Canada > British Columbia > Vancouver Island > North Vancouver Island > Port Hardy

Port Hardy

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Port Hardy is a district municipality of about 4000 people (2016) on the Central Coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia.

Understand[edit]

Harbour of Port Hardy

Beaver Cove, near the BC Ferries Terminal, is the oldest known site of human habitation on Vancouver Island (circa 5850 BCE). The first contact with Europeans occurred in 1836 when the steamship S.S. Beaver was sent on an exploratory trip by Hudson's Bay Company (HBC). To exploit coal deposits, the HBC to establish a fortified trading post at Beaver Harbour around 1848, and named it “Fort Rupert” after the company’s governor, Prince Rupert, Duke of Bavaria. Though little of the fort remains today, the Kwakiutl First Nations (Aboriginal people) continue to reside adjacent to the former fort site.

Port Hardy’s population grew to a little over 5,000 residents while the Island Copper Mine was operating from 1971-1995 about 16 km south of the town. The open-pit porphyry copper mine employed over 900 employees from Port Hardy and the surrounding communities. Today, the former mine is a wildlife habitat and pit lake biological treatment system.

Today, Port Hardy is a transportation hub for air, ferry and marine networks, and serves as the gateway to the Central Coast, the Cape Scott and North Coast Trails, and BC Ferry’s northern terminus for the Discovery Coast run and Prince Rupert.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Take the Island Highway from ferries docking at Victoria (500 km, about 5½ hours driving) or Nanaimo (385 km, about 4 hours) from Vancouver, and follow it until the northern end.

By bus[edit]

By boat[edit]

Port Hardy from the water

Or arrive by BC Ferries from Prince Rupert on the Inside Passage, far to the north. Sailings arrive every other day, and depart the following day, during the summer. Fewer sailings in other seasons. Journey takes 15 hours: day cruise of 7:30AM-10:30PM during spring and summer, overnight other times. Some sailings stop in Bella Bella. Prices vary between regular (May-Sep), shoulder season (Oct, Dec, Mar, Apr), off-peak (Nov, Jan, Feb): $121-269 per adult 12 and over, $60-103 per child 6-11, $264-469 per vehicle (up to 20 ft (6.1 m) long), and $132-235 per motorcycle (Sept 2017).

By plane[edit]

Port Hardy Airport YZT IATA is about 10 km SE of the town. Pacific Coastal Airlines flies to Port Hardy from Vancouver (3 times a day, $195-245 one-way) and Bella Bella (twice a day $165-200).

Get around[edit]

Taxis and a community bus, +1 250-956-3151.

Water taxi at the dock for the North Coast Trail.

See[edit]

  • Port Hardy Museum, 7110 Market St, +1 250 949-8143, e-mail: . Feb-Dec: W-Sa. Permanent exhibits of First Nations (including 8,000-year-old artifacts) settlers' effects, fossils, geology, natural history, and local industry. Rotating temporary exhibits, videos. Gift shop. Admission by donation.
  • 1 Fort Rupert (10 km SE of Port Hardy: follow Highway 2 to Byng Road, east to Beaver Harbour Road, and north to Fort Rupert (a 2hr 15min walk)). A former Hudson's Bay Company fort which was built in 1849. The present day village of Fort Rupert is a historic Kwakwaka'wakw village of the Kwakiutl and the Komoyue subgroup where the opportunity exists to see native carvers working on totem poles or other artwork and traditional crafts. The band government of the Kwagu'ł is the Kwakiutl First Nation. Fort Rupert (or Tsaxis as it is known by the Kwakiutl) is worth a visit to see its historic cemetery, the Big House, many totem poles, and colourfully decorated public buildings. Also hiding in the underbrush are the last crumbling remnants of the fort erected by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1849, notably a stone chimney. Sandstone petroglyphs dating back to the 1860s can also be found (after careful searching) on the upper reaches of the oceanfront tidal zone. Fort Rupert on Wikipedia Fort Rupert, British Columbia (Q5471960) on Wikidata
  • Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre, 8400 Byng Road (next to the Quatse River Regional Park and Campground), +1 250-902-0336. Daily 10AM-5PM. A family-friendly centre that teaches about Pacific salmon. An interpretive gallery, interactive exhibits and hands-on displays that show how salmon are intimately connected to the coastal ecosystem of Northern Vancouver Island, the local First Nations and the local community. Adult $6, youth (5-18) $4, seniors (65 and over) $4, under age 5 free, family (Up to 2 adults + children) $12.
  • The Copper Maker Gallery, 114 Copper Way, +1 250 949-8491, e-mail: . Gallery owned by and featuring the works of artist and totem pole carver Calvin Hunt. Calvin Hunt (artist) on Wikipedia Calvin Hunt (Q5024421) on Wikidata
  • Old Hudson Bay Store
  • The inter city trails
  • Carrot Park Mile 0 of the Island Highway
  • Walk the seawall
  • Eagle watching
  • View the totem poles and chain saw carvings
  • Tour the murals
  • Beach combing
  • Storey's Beach located outside of town
  • Tex Lyon's Trail-Commuter Trail

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

  • Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish Inc., +1 250-949-8781, toll-free: +1-877-949-8781. A local company that specializes in smoked salmon -- 65 different combinations of products and many varieties of flavours like: Maple, Garlic, Cajun, Spiced, and Original. Available in local grocery stores including Save-on Foods and Overwrites Foods.
  • West Coast Community Craft Shop, 7135 Market St, +1 250-949-2650. 125 local artists' work is on display. Works of art include carvings, sculptures, paintings, pottery, photography, turned bowls, handmade soaps, honey, quilts, baby blankets and sweaters, beach glass chimes, beach vacation rental homes, jewellery.
  • Cup of tea from Retroz or a cup of coffee from Café Guido or Koffees
  • Local gifts from the Port Hardy Museum
  • Fresh fish from the dock.

Eat[edit]

  • Captain Hardy's Fish and Chips, 7145 Market St, +1 250-949-9008. Tu-Sa 6:30AM–8PM, Su 7AM-2PM. In 2017, new owners transformed this restaurant, offering French and Japanese fusion cuisine, calamari, sushi, homemade soups and chowders, while still serving up light crispy-battered fresh halibut.
  • Glen Lyon Restaurant-good breakfasts
  • Market Street Café, 7030 Market St, +1 250-949-8110. M-F 8AM-3PM. Fresh home baking
  • Mo's Restaurant, 7070 Market St. # 8, +1 250-949-8303. M-Sa 11AM-10PM. Pizza, fried chicken, chicken wings, subs, gyros, donairs, wraps, sandwiches, soups, salads.
  • Seto's Wok and Grill, 9040 Granville Street, +1 250-949-8381. M W Th 11AM-8PM, F Sa 11AM-8:30PM, Su 4PM-8PM. Chinese and Canadian food.
  • Karai Sushi & Grill, 4030 Byng Road (at Airport Inn), +1 250-949-7744. M-F noon-8PM, Sa Su 4:30-8PM. Japanese, Sushi, Asian
  • Toudai Sushi Restaurant, 8405 Byng Road, +1 250-949-8755. Daily 5PM-9PM. Sushi, Asian food.

Drink[edit]

Some of the hotels and inns listed below have pubs.

  • The Sporty Bar & Grill, 8700 Hastings St, +1 250-949-7811. Su-Th 11:30AM-11:30PM, F Sa 11:30AM-1:30AM. Great pub food. Burgers, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, pasta, salads, steak.

Sleep[edit]

Budget[edit]

  • Quatse River Regional Park, 8400 Byng Rd, (a few kilometres south of the marina). Check-in: 4PM, check-out: noon. Camping is available. Be bear aware: the local bear population uses this area to forge for berries and hunt salmon. Camping: daily $25.20, weekly $152.25. RV from: daily $30.45, weekly $183.75. ~15% discount for seniors.
  • North Coast Trail Backpackers Hostel, 8635 Granville St., +1 250 949 9441, toll-free: +1 866 448 6303, e-mail: . Housed in an old Mason's Lodge. Lounge and dining area. Free wireless internet and computer kiosk. Free parking. Games room, TV, book exchange. Kayak, bicycle, and motorbike storage. Laundry facilities available upon request. Storage lockers. 3 fully equipped kitchens. Bed linens and towels included. Drying room (for wet gear such as tents). Electric car charger. Dorm beds $30-34, private rooms $64-79, group/family room $69 for 2 people +$15 per additional person to a total of five..

B&Bs[edit]

  • All Ocean Storm B&B
  • Bonita B&B
  • Byng House B&B
  • First Choice B&B
  • Fran's View B&B
  • Hamilton B&B
  • Jessie's B&B
  • Kris'Cottage B&B
  • Oceanview B&B
  • Orange Tabby B&B
  • Scotia Bay B&B

Holiday rentals[edit]

  • Bear Cove Cottages
  • North Coast Cottages
  • Ecoscape Cabins- secluded and eco-friendly

Hotels[edit]

  • [dead link] Pioneer Inn, 8405 Byng Rd. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Free Wi-Fi, restaurant on site, and a refrigerator is included in guest rooms. Port Hardy Airport is 8 km away. A cable TV and a seating area are provided in rooms at Pioneer Inn. A work desk, a microwave and a coffee maker are offered. BBQ facilities are offered to guests of Inn Pioneer. A guest launderette is available. B.C. Ferries Port Hardy terminal is 11 minutes' drive away. Marble River Provincial Park is 34 km from Pioneer Inn. Doubles from $85.
  • Quarterdeck Inn, 6555 Hardy Bay Rd, +1 250 902-0455, toll-free: +1 888 999 2799. Full service hotel, with a marina, pub and restaurant. Close to downtown and tourism and business services in Port Hardy. Doubles from $126.
  • * Glen Lyon, 6435 Hardy Bay Road, +1 250 902-0455, toll-free: +1 877 949 7115. All rooms and suites face Hardy Bay and not far from downtown. Glen Lyon Inn is found on the scenic alternate road, Hardy Bay Road, which rims the waterfront leading to Port Hardy. It is a few minutes to the ferry terminal and very close to downtown and the bus depot. Adjacent to the marina and the seaplane base. Doubles from $122.
  • North Shore Inn, 7370 Market St, +1-250-949-8500. Doubles from $103.
  • Airport Inn, 4030 Byng Rd, +1 250 949-9434. Licensed dining room, meeting rooms, cold beer and wine store and fax and copy service. Within walking distance of the airport (and they offer complimentary shuttle service), and minutes by car to the BC Ferries terminal and downtown Port Hardy.
  • Providence Place, 7050 Rupert St, +1 250 949-8899, e-mail: . Central location. Doubles from $100.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Coal Harbour
  • Winter Harbour
  • San Josef Bay
  • North Coast Trail
  • Cape Scott Park
Routes through Port Hardy
END  N BC-19.svg S  Campbell RiverNanaimo



This city travel guide to Port Hardy is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.