Winter on the North Island

Vancouver Island North is a four season destination.  Sure, winters can be chilly here but they still offer endless opportunities for fun, with less people around. Choices run the gamut from enjoying gentle pursuits indoors to bundling up for wild crisp air adventures.


One of our star winter attractions is Mount Cain Ski Hill. Such a closely guarded gem that they don’t even make the list of “best kept secret ski resorts.” Mount Cain is open 3 days a week, weekends and select Mondays to allow what is known as the best powder on Vancouver Island to accumulate.  Choose from 21 runs and an impressive 1499 vertical feet of terrain for unforgettable skiing and snowshoeing opportunities. Know before you go. Be prepared for winter driving conditions and visit their website to learn more. Stay up to date with conditions on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Explore one of our many hiking trails for dazzling mountain, forest and seascape views.  Get the lay of the land in advance with the Vancouver Island North Recreation Map and online Trail Guide, then download the GPS enabled mobile app.

Try winter camping.  Nothing but serenity and silence as you experience star choked night skies.  Options range from primitive unmarked sites with no amenities to fully serviced campgrounds with hot showers and laundry facilities.  Not all parks & campsites are open year round so do plan ahead.

How about a frigid dip in the Pacific Ocean to talk about when you get home?  Join locals for the annual Polar Bear Swim at Noon on New Year’s Day.  Be one of the brave souls to jump into the water off Seagate Park in Port Hardy. Do your own polar swim and tag us on Instagram!

Pending fair weather, grab your clubs and hit the links at Seven Hills Golf & Country Club. Noted for its superb setting and peaceful atmosphere, the course features a variety of challenges and opportunities to satisfy golfers of all levels. Conveniently located in the center of the Port Hardy, Port McNeill and Port Alice triangle, Seven Hills G&CC is truly a hidden gem of the North Island.

Calling all birders.  The Annual Malcolm Island Christmas Bird Count takes place every December. Despite high tides and storm force winds last year, the teams counted an impressive 2500 birds of 60 different species.  Bring your binoculars!


Visit one of our local museums each sharing fascinating arts, culture and history from local Indigenous peoples, to logging, fishing and mining.

Sit back with a bucket of hot buttered popcorn Fridays nights and Saturday afternoons to watch a movie on the big screen at Gate House Theatre in Port McNeill.

Take the self-guided Art Tour! The tour includes over 15 unique stops at art studios and galleries, each featuring a variety of work from sculptures to paintings and carvings to stained glass. Take advantage of the quieter months of the late fall, winter, and early spring to enjoy a more private experience at the more popular galleries and studios. Be sure to check hours of operation before heading out.

Download the Art Tour map here.

Enjoy some brews, bites and banter at Vancouver Island North’s first brewery, Devil’s Bath. Located in Port McNeill, enjoy seasonal cuisine and craft beer in a cozy atmosphere.

Shop local at Copper & Kelp Market, or hit up the Book Nook at Cafe Guido. Artisan coffee, baked goods and lunch are offered at this cozy cafe, with a book shop downstairs and a clothing shop upstairs.

Whatever adventure you encounter, be sure to tag us as you go! Use #GoNorthIsland or tag @vancouverislandnorth on Instagram.

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Explore Vancouver Island North
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