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We've got your weekend getaway guide to Prince Rupert.
Prince Rupert might receive some two-and-a-half metres of rain each year, but that’s in the winter months. Come summer, it’s all late sunsets and jaw-dropping beauty.
For starters, get yourself situated with a decent vantage point. That means a harbour view room at the Crest Hotel, whose elevated location awards a bird’s-eye view of the island city’s waterfront and the verdant peaks across the inlet. In-room binoculars will help you spot bald eagles or spy on incoming BC Ferries vessels or scope out your first civic adventure.
Drive 10 minutes out of town to work up an appetite on the five-kilometre Butze Rapids Interpretive Trail, which loops past second and old-growth forest, open bogs and a beach with rope swings to bring out your inner child. Replenish your energy at Cargo Kitchen, whose eclectic offerings run from the usual salads and burgers to agedashi tofu and falafel. Return to the hotel to sip a nightcap on the heated patio as the sun sets over the harbour. (Near solstice this can be close to midnight, so there’s no need to rush.)
Fuel up with a leisurely brunch: request a window table at the in-house Waterfront Restaurant to savour your eggs and cauliflower hash or eggs Benny with cold-smoked local salmon at a leisurely pace.
Then amble down to the dock (bring your best windbreaker and zoom lens) for an outing with Prince Rupert Adventure Tours and their big yellow boat, complete with bathrooms and snack bar. As you head north through Chatham Sound, watch for porpoises, seals, sea lions, blue herons and the ubiquitous bald eagles—plus the headlining mammals: grizzly bears (in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Sanctuary) from mid-May to late July and humpback, grey and orca whales from July through October. On-board guides tell stories about their favourite bears and teach guests how to snap iPhone photos through binoculars when their cameras aren’t up to snuff.
Back in town, quench your thirst with a tasting at Wheelhouse Brewing, whose seasonal Scurvy Dog Spruce Ale is such a hit with Prince Rupertites, it comes with a purchase limit. Then wander two minutes down the road to take a seat (at locally made cedar tables and chairs, natch) at Japanese restaurant Fukasaku, where the B.C.-first ethos encompasses not just the seafood (also 100 percent Ocean Wise) but the fresh-grated wasabi (harvested in Nanaimo) and the beer, wine and sake list, too.
Expect lineups at Cow Bay neighbourhood mainstay Cowpuccino’s, celebrating its 21st birthday this year, so leave a little extra time for your meal to appear, whether you’re going for a simple green smoothie or a more substantial smoked salmon breakfast.
Once fortified, fit in some history with a visit to North Pacific Cannery in nearby Port Edward, whose close to 90 years of continuous salmon production (it ended its run in the 1970s) makes it the province’s longest-running cannery. A National historic site open from May 1 to late September, it’s best explored on a 40-minute guided tour, oriented either around industry (how did they get the salmon into the cans?) or cannery life. Visit the on-site Mess House for an on-theme lunch—salmon chowder, a salmon melt, perhaps salmon chow mein, plus freshly baked cinnamon buns and pies—and pick up a few cans (with gift-worthy historic labels) to take home to help remember your sunny northern excursion.