Arts & Culture Itinerary - Vancouver Island North

Our communities are bastions of civilization in the midst of a wild landscape populated by bears, wolves, cougars and bald eagles. The natural elements have been inspiring artists and influencing culture for centuries. Explore studios, visit galleries and witness performances to gain a deeper understanding of the cultural connection between the people and the place of Vancouver Island North.

1-2 Day Adventures

Itinerary

TRAVEL TO VANCOUVER ISLAND NORTH

Day 1

MALCOLM ISLAND ARTS & CULTURE

History and culture are alive in Sointula on Malcolm Island. Visit the local museum to learn about the island’s unique history. Or get a present-tense taste of idealism in action by visiting BC’s longest running cooperative general store, formed as the Sointula Co-operative Store Association in 1909. There is also a vibrant arts scene thanks to the many artists and musicians who call Malcolm Island home. Discover this wealth of original talent while browsing through shops, galleries and studios. The Sointula Resource Centre Society’s visitor information staff can point the way.

Travel by ferry required.

Travel to Alert Bay from Sointula without paying an additional far by asking for a Turn Around Pass when you board the ferry in Sointula – you will be instructed to show the pass at the toll booth and be directed into the line for the immediate next sailing to Alert Bay.
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Day 2

ALERT BAY ARTS & CULTURE

The U’mista Cultural Centre Gift Shop in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island is internationally known for its wide selection of authentic Kwakwaka’wakw fine art, crafts and souvenirs. The gift shop includes original masks, carvings, paintings and prints from Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation artists. View locally created pieces by First Nation artists at select galleries through the community. The Alert Bay Artists Society also runs a public gallery, the ArtLoft, at 60 Fir Street.

See the next generation of Kwakwaka’wakw share their culture to educate the world about their ancient songs, dances, teachings and values. Witness traditional dances that connect their culture to the land, sky, and sea. The T’sasala Cultural Group holds performances in the ‘Namgis gukwdzi (big house). During the T’sasala Cultural Group performances is the only time that the Big House in Alert Bay is open to the public. Performances held Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in July and August.

Travel by ferry required.
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Additional Activities

  • Hike the Beautiful Bay trail, the Mateoja Heritage Trail or to Pulteney Point Lighthouse, maps available at Visitor Centres
  • Borrow a bike and cruise Kaleva Road, the bikes are free to borrow, just sign one out at the Sointula Resource Centre.
  • Walk the network of trails in the Alert Bay Ecological Park and 20 km of trails throughout the Island, pick up a map and a brochure at the Alert that identifies the plants found in the park
  • Self-guided tour of Memorial and other Totem Poles in Alert Bay, including the world’s tallest totem pole, brochure available at the Alert Bay Visitor Centre
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3-5 Day Adventures

Itinerary

TRAVEL TO VANCOUVER ISLAND NORTH

Day 1

PORT HARY ARTS & CULTURE

The Vancouver Island North region is rich with talented artists. Local creations are diverse in medium and inspiration. Tour the town to view displays in the Port Hardy Museum gift shop, at the West Coast Community Craft Shop and the Copper Maker Gallery. Taste a Port Hardy’s all natural local specialty, Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish. Pure alder chips are used for enhanced flavour during the smoking process.
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Day 2

CULTURAL EXPERIENCE

Connect with the Kwakwaka’wakw culture through an experience lead by First Nations guides in Port Hardy or Alert Bay. Weave sacred cedar bark, prepare salmon for barbequing in the traditional fashion, learn the spirituality of drums and join in the process of making one of your own, or get lost in the legends told through story, song and dance.
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Day 3

PORT ALICE ART & NATURE WALK

Many artists have chosen to make their home in Port Alice. The spectacular views of Neroutsos Inlet, the peace and the quiet make it the perfect place to work as artists and be inspired by the natural surroundings.

The Marble River Trail, located just off of Highway 30, branches part way with routes to Bear Falls and Emerald Pool. The Marble River is salmon bearing and during the fall spawning season, salmon can be seen leaping up the falls on their journey upstream. This is exactly the type of place that provides artistic inspiration.
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Day 4

MALCOLM ISLAND ARTS & CULTURE

History and culture are alive in Sointula on Malcolm Island. Visit the local museum to learn about the island’s unique history. Or get a present-tense taste of idealism in action by visiting BC’s longest running cooperative general store, formed as the Sointula Co-operative Store Association in 1909. There is also a vibrant arts scene thanks to the many artists and musicians who call Malcolm Island home. Discover this wealth of original talent while browsing through shops, galleries and studios. The Sointula Resource Centre Society’s visitor information staff can point the way.

Travel by ferry required.

Travel to Alert Bay from Sointula without paying an additional far by asking for a Turn Around Pass when you board the ferry in Sointula – you will be instructed to show the pass at the toll booth and be directed into the line for the immediate next sailing to Alert Bay.
[Read More]

Day 5

ALERT BAY ARTS & CULTURE

The U’mista Cultural Centre Gift Shop in Alert Bay on Cormorant Island is internationally known for its wide selection of authentic Kwakwaka’wakw fine art, crafts and souvenirs. The gift shop includes original masks, carvings, paintings and prints from Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation artists. View locally created pieces by First Nation artists at select galleries through the community. The Alert Bay Artists Society also runs a public gallery, the ArtLoft, at 60 Fir Street.

See the next generation of Kwakwaka’wakw share their culture to educate the world about their ancient songs, dances, teachings and values. Witness traditional dances that connect their culture to the land, sky, and sea. The T’sasala Cultural Group holds performances in the ‘Namgis gukwdzi (big house). During the T’sasala Cultural Group performances is the only time that the Big House in Alert Bay is open to the public. Performances held Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in July and August.

Travel by ferry required.
[Read More]

Additional Activities

Learn More