Canada's Wettest City & Sun
Updated: May 21
I have had a whirlwind couple of days in Prince Rupert since I my $695 BC ferry pulled in to port.
Here I was, Northern BC... on a staycation that had only materialized due to a 'global pandemic caused' cancellation of more exotic, international plan...
That being Cuba...
But... Cuba be damned... I was in Canada's wettest city.
And if that's not enough to tempt tourists all over the planet... I was in the city with the smallest square footage of any Walmart in North America.
First day, I got off the ferry and made my way to Shelley's. She was off work early, so met me at the house.
Beautiful house... I was blown away. Like a show home... featuring state of the art design in both layout and furniture. Apparently it is being staged to be sold. The amount of money that has been put in to the selling feature is astronomical.
There is a fuze ball table.
There was a panoramic photograph in the dining room and I stopped immediately, recognizing the scene.
"That's Temple Mountain," I said to Shelley, pointing at the familiar landscape. "And there's Fairview." It took only a few seconds before I realized that the photograph had been shot at Herbert Lake.
Shelley was dumbfounded. She had lived in this house for almost two months and had not once paid attention to the picture on her wall that she once viewed on a daily basis.
Our first couple hours, Shelley drove me around showing me all the main attractions of Prince Rupert. It was SUNNY and more SUN in the forecast for the next day.
Here I was in the rainiest and wettest city in Canada (if not the world) and I got sunshine!
Side note: This year, Prince Rupert had the rainiest summer in over 100 years. Go 2020.
Over the course of a day and a half, I do not think that I could have managed to cram more fun, touristy things in to my moments, had I tried...
Food - most definitely needs a category of its own...
First night, we went down to Cow Bay to Dolly's for a seafood feast. I had the Halibut Bannock tacos (without yucky coleslaw).
Shelley had a large rubbermaid container FULL of crab which she brought in to get ready for consumption. I didn't really understand... and I still don't... but they get them ready to eat and keep them for her. Maybe? I think so...
After our first night dinner, Craig (Shelley's new boyfriend) took us down to Rushbrook Marina in his 1952 Blue Chevy Truck to pick up prawns from a trolling boat that was docked there. They were selling for $15 per pound... so naturally, we had to pick some up for the next evening.
Shelley had recently caught her first salmon... so following the directions of a "how to gut your fish" YouTube video, we both set about carving this fish up and carefully pulling out the bones with my "unwanted facial hair" tweezers... I can't make this stuff up... and won't.
Second night - Late night (11PM) FEAST of fresh crab, prawns and salmon. After learning to peal & eat shrimp like a hungry mariner, stuffing myself full of as much crab dipped in garlic butter as possible and attempting to help with the dishes... I could NOT keep my eyes open one more second. I think I was out by 11:35PM.
In regards to Prince Rupert exploration, I have to first mention Gary, one of my beloved pub regulars, who took the time to put together a personalized map of Prince Rupert for me. He made mention of particular landmarks and circled in red, all the attractions that he thought were unmissable.
Thank you Gary... this was a fabulous reference and something I will keep forever.
**He even included the temperature highs and lows for the time I would be there.
Prince Rupert Murals - There are apparently about 10 enormous marine murals in the downtown area, all done by wildlife artist Jeff King from Nanaimo. Not sure if I managed to see them all... BUT... LOVED them. They added much needed colour to the town and in some areas, brought Prince Rupert to life.
McBride Street - Prince Rupert's Main Street... and, no doubt, named after me.
Cow Bay - Now this place was cool. Gary had originally described it as much like Gastown in Vancouver, but unfortunately, he's wrong and I have to correct him. Cow Bay was much more like Granville Island. This is Prince Rupert's chic harbour shopping district. It is full of high end boutiques, souvineer shops, quaint cafes, historic restaurants & pubs, the yacht club ... all buildings colourfully attired to adhere to the trendy, yet vintage marine look meant to attract the tourist's eye. We popped in to one cafe for a coffee before a brisk early morning walk along the Rushbrook Trail and I had to politely ask for a piece of chalk, and then ever so subtly fix an inspirational quote that had been written up on the wall for the customers. They used 'your,' when they should have used 'you're'... oops!
Anyway - despite the poor grammar, Cow Bay was charming. Story is that they originally had transported a boat load of cows to Prince Rupert, but the ground was too soft for their hooves. The terrain started to rot their hooves, which was detrimental to the animals... resulting in the cows leaving and a law being passed that no hoofed animals would be permitted on Kaien Island again. Odd... but true.
Rushbrook Trail - This was our brisk, early morning seaside trail which led us down to the industrial harbour.
Port Edward - Portrayed as a vibrant coastal community in B.C.'s northwest, I had pinpointed it as a Must-Go. To tell the truth, we didn't know where to stop to claim having been because there was not much there. An old gas station & a corner store... and some houses. We didn't make it to the cannery, a National Historic Site... Boo us.
Butze Rapids - Trail #2 for the day... and 3.2km, which was impressive! Perhaps slightly more impressive that we exercised all day long... than the rapids actually were...
Oldfields Creek Fish Hatchery - We took Craig's dog here to run around chasing a ball and get soaking wet. I was the lucky one with the chuck it... and I chucked it about 200 times. I could NOT wear that dog out. My arm is not the same.
Prince Rupert Sound / Digby Island - OK... I DROVE the Digby Island airport ferry.. 5 nautical miles across the passage from Kaien Island to Digby. Craig had a 6PM airport pick up and invited us to accompany him. As soon as we hit the open water, he suggested I take the wheel. I complied immediately, thinking only of a brief photo opportunity... but I brought the barge right across the passage and straight to Digby Island. It was SURREAL. He showed me how to steer, manoeuvre my way through beacons (white ladies), how to avoid floating logs and how to read the nautical navigational chart.
Everyone agreed that I was a natural.
I might apply now that I have 5 nautical sea miles behind me.
Mount Hayes - After i finished my job of getting the ferry across the passage, we were going to head out on another boat trip... but everyone changed their minds and it was decided that we would 4WD up Mount Hayes. A 10 walk led us from the top of the mountain to a viewpoint which offered stunning views of the harbour. Stunning was not the word. It was awe-inspiring and like nothing I have ever seen before. Here, we started a campfire and stuffed ourselves full of a LOT of yummy s'mores.
Such a fantastic Rupert trip!
Thank you to Shelley and Craig for being the BEST Northern BC Hosts that a girl on a staycation could have!