The North Island’s top main street shopping experience is in Port Hardy, not surprising given its status the North Island’s transportation hub, followed by Port McNeill. That said, there are plenty of independent retailers, chain merchants and, in some of the smaller towns and villages, one-size-fits-all general stores wherever people in the north call home. Given the scenery and the solitude, people here are passionate about creating art. Home studios are often located in some of our nicest places – country backroads, seaside settings and the First Nations lands of Alert Bay and Fort Rupert. Foodies, meanwhile, can buy locally smoked salmon, fresh-caught seafood and 100-mile-diet chocolate.