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Heritage Culture 1-2 days

The early settlement history of Vancouver Island North is born out of resourcefulness and perseverance. This was a remote and untamed frontier where only the hardiest thrived. Natural resources, establishment of a western colony, the dream of a utopian society – each community has its own story to tell. Most communities remain today, but some have left only remnants of the past.

Itinerary
Travel to Vancouver Island North
 
 
Day 01
Day 02
Day 01
RONNING’S GARDEN & SAN JOSEF BAY
A vast collection of exotic plants sits in stark contrast to the classic BC rainforest that surrounds it at Ronning’s Garden near the community of Holberg, west of Port Hardy. This homestead was founded in 1910 on the old San Josef Wagon Road. This unique garden almost disappeared when founder Bernt Ronning left his homestead, but many of his original plantings have now been rediscovered.
 
Follow the signs to Cape Scott Provincial Park, a bit further west from Ronning’s Garden. A well-groomed path from the Cape Scott Provincial Park trailhead leads you 2.5 km, on a relatively easy gravel surface, out to the wide, sandy beach of San Josef Bay. Along the trail, look for interpretive signs that tell the story of Danish pioneers settled the northern tip of Vancouver Island over 100 years ago.
 
**Travel on a logging road required.
 
Check out Day 02
Day 02
HORNSBY STEAM CRAWLER & MUSEUMS
The Hornsby Steam Crawler is a one-of-a-kind, custom-built steam crawler tractor that has been returned to the community of Coal Harbour for public display. This unique piece of machinery was inspired by the Yukon Gold Rush and customized for use in the forest industry on the BC coast.
 
Local museums and historic collections in Coal Harbour, Port Hardy, and Port McNeill tell the tales of the early settlement and beginnings of these communities as development began to grow around the natural resource industries of fishing, logging and mining at the beginning of the 1900’s.
 
**Travel by ferry required.
 
Additional Activities
  • If you’re heading west, be sure to stop at the Shoe Tree on the eastern end of Kains Lake, this old cedar snag is covered with hundreds of shoes contributed by visitors
  • North Island residents today honour and respect whales, but in earlier days, Coal Harbour was home to Canada’s last whaling station, a 20 foot long jawbone of a blue whale stands as evidence of thisv
  • From war to whaling, see the private collection of Coal Harbour community artifacts on public display at the Aircab Float Plane hangar
  • It’s all about salmon at the Quatse Salmon Centre in Port Hardy, learn about the important role salmon play in the life of whales
  • Glimpse into the early settlement days on the North Island at the Port Hardy Museum & Archives
  • Take an educational waterfront stroll along the Port Hardy Seawalk, with interpretive signs dotted along the path
Check out Day 01
GETTING HERE & GETTING AROUND
The North Island may feel like a remote destination, but it’s certainly not a challenge to get here. With a fully paved highway leading you North, to daily flights and multiple ferry options, you have your pick of ways to travel! Visit the Getting Here page to learn more.
Waivin’ Flags Taxi & Bus Service
Phone
250-230-8294
Town Taxi
Phone
250-949-7877
Pacific Coastal Airlines
Phone
800-663-2872
North Coast Trail Shuttle
Phone
250-949-6541
National Car and Truck Rentals
Mount Waddington Regional Transit
Phone
250-956-3151
Drive BC – Provincial Highway Information
Phone
800-550-4997
Cape Scott Water Taxi
Phone
800-246-0093
Budget Rent-a-Car
Phone
888-368-7368
BC Ferries
Phone
888-223-3779
View On Google Maps
Explore Vancouver Island North
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