The small community of Alert Bay is situated on Cormorant Island
which is located across from Vancouver Island at the north end of
Cormorant Island is crescent-shaped, about 1 km (.6 mile) wide by
5 km (3 miles) long with Alert Bay geographically situated in the
middle of the island on the sunny south-west side. Alert Bay sits
across Broughton Strait in between the north-eastern Vancouver Island
community of Port McNeill and the
marina at Telegraph Cove.
The settlement of this part of northern Vancouver Island dates back
to the late 1700s when Captain George Vancouver anchored the vessel,
HMS Discovery, at the First Nation village of Xwalkw across Broughton
Strait near the mouth of the 'Namgis or Nimpkish River.
Later in the mid 1800s, Alert Bay became a major trading centre
for the movement and settlement of Europeans along the coast of
northern Vancouver Island. Afterwards the community flourished,
living off fishing and the bounty of seafood found in the nearby
Ferries from Port McNeill
In order to get to Alert Bay, you have to travel to Port McNeill
on northern Vancouver Island where you catch a scheduled daily BC
Ferries tri-service to Alert Bay or Sointula. The ferry usually
takes around 30 minutes with an alternating schedule between Port
McNeill to Sointula and back and Port McNeill to Alert Bay and back.
Please check BC Ferries for the latest schedule to find the best
Alert Bay is also home to the 'Namgis First Nation, whose presence
is quite evident as you tour Cormorant Island. This very rich 'Namgis
First Nation Native tradition is proudly displayed prominently throughout
Cormorant Island in forms of public artwork of totem poles and traditional
Native buildings such as the 'Big House.'
If you enjoy British Columbian First Nation artwork, view the beautiful
displays of the 'Namgis First Nation presented at U'mista Cultural
Centre with the main exhibit being the world-famous potlatch collection.
There are also various artists and one-of-a-kind galleries working
within the U'mista Cultural Society bringing you the very best in
traditional Native culture.
When you are visiting Alert Bay, try walking around the village
enjoying a view of the old heritage buildings from BC coastal history.
The museum here depicts lots of old pictures and articles from the
past with emphasis on local events concerning this part of British
Columbia discoveries. The museum is located in the Visitor Centre
near the Alert Bay ferry terminal.
Alert Bay has various other interesting things for you to do and
discover. Eco-Tourism, in the form of wildlife watching, is very
popular with pods of whales, orcas, and other marine life constantly
migrating through Johnstone Strait to the Broughton Archipelago
Marine Park, situated just north of Alert Bay.
For one of the most scenic views on North Vancouver Island, make
sure you visit the Nimpkish Hotel. The hotel pub has an incredibly
large outside deck where the panoramic view is absolutely wonderful.
For other entertainment and accommodation, there is also the Bayside
Inn which features a hotel, café and pub.
If you want to fly, there is a scheduled plane service into Port
Hardy with limousine service to the BC Ferries terminal at Port
McNeill. From Port McNeill you can take a taxi to Alert Bay or walk
on as a passenger and stroll around the island. There is also a
small landing strip in Alert Bay for charter or private aircraft.
and Malcolm Island
Located just north of Alert Bay and Cormorant Island is the community
of Sointula which is situated on Malcolm Island. Sointula is a fishing,
artist and retirement community that became popular with people
settling from Finland who first arrived in 1901. The word Sointula
in Finnish means "Place of harmony."
If you would enjoy staying at Alert Bay there is the Alert Lodge,
Janet's Guest House and Oceanview Cabins. For RV Camping, there
is Alert Bay Campground which is located next to Gator Gardens and
the Ecological Park.
on Alert Bay