Welcome to Vancouver Island North — Find yourself in Wild Open Spaces

On Vancouver Island North, it’s about an experience – it’s immersing yourself in a landscape with wilderness roots centuries old. A diverse environment made for adventurers, explorers and for the truly wild at heart. It’s rich with wild things in their native habitat – and it’s more than just wildlife viewing, it’s about becoming part of the natural surroundings. It’s opening your heart and mind to the living traditions of the Kwakwaka’wakw Peoples native to this region.

Nature, naturally

Enjoy all types of waters – fishing the secret coves and hidden streams, or diving beneath the waves to enjoy the spectacular undersea gardens, in waters described as “some of the world’s best temperate diving”. Or, traverse the land.

Plenty of Fish in the Sea

Fish for one of the five varieties of Pacific salmon that migrate through the Queen Charlotte Strait, or a fresh catch of Halibut, snapper or cod for dinner.

Kwakwaka’wakw Peoples — Indigenous Culture

Vancouver Island North is home to the 18 First Nations of the Kwakwaka’wakw. Their songs, stories and dances honour the animals, rivers, cedar trees, salmon and all that sustains their people physically and spiritually. Today, the First People here are celebrated for blazing the trails and pathways throughout the region you are about to experience. Be sure to visit cultural centres like U’mista Cultural Centre, around the North Island, which share the vibrant stories of the Kwakwaka’wakw peoples. These centres also offer interactive experiences to learn through cedar bark weaving, traditional dancing and more.

Communities of Vancouver Island North


Connected by a 35-minute ferry from Port McNeill, Alert Bay is an important landmark of Indigenous culture and history, including the world’s tallest Totem Pole, the U’mista Cultural Centre with its collection of sacred potlatch regalia reclaimed by the Kwakwaka’wakw people, and the ‘Namgis original burial grounds. Explore the marshland boardwalk trails in the Ecological Park, with bald eagles and ravens soaring above, then stop and savour an authentic salmon barbecue.


Coal Harbour is the secret entrance to the many boating and charter fishing opportunities of Quatsino Sound. 20 minutes west of Port Hardy, this cute community delivers natural wonders and local history.


Stop at the infamous Shoe Tree on your way to this quaint community, then enjoy the delicious flavours at the local pub before exploring Ronning’s Garden, established in 1910 with seeds and cuttings from around the world.


Kayak, stand-up paddle board, or canoe the waters of Neroutsos Inlet, at this gateway to the Wild West Coast, then explore the unique karst formations – including the Eternal Fountain and Devil’s Bath, Canada’s only cenote. Enjoy the beautiful scenery and explore the community on the wheelchair-accessible Sea Walk.


The region’s largest community offers easy access to offshore charter tours, BC Ferries sailings to Prince Rupert and Bella Coola, and a community rich with First Nations history. Experience the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre, meet the curator in the museum, picnic and stroll at Storey’s Beach, or go west to hike the Cape Scott Trail or the North Coast Trail.


The perfect base camp for wildlife tours and adventures on the pristine waters of the Broughton Archipelago. Stop at the museum to learn of the town’s connection to the logging industry, then visit Alert Bay and Sointula via BC Ferries. Sip and savour the flavours of Vancouver Island North’s first craft brewery, Devil’s Bath Brewing.


Arrive by floatplane, private boat, or water taxi to enjoy the sport fishing lodges of this west coast Shangri-La, then explore the sunny shoreline and art studios in this tiny west coast community.


Literally translated, this Finnish-settled community is a ‘place of harmony’, and features excellent hiking and easy strolling, fresh air and saltwater. Bring your car on the ferry from Port McNeill, or borrow a bike from the Sointula Resource Centre to explore the island.


This local landmark has served many functions over the decades: a one-man telegraph shack, a lumber mill, and a salmon saltery. With a resort, cabins, campgrounds, marinas, and the Whale Interpretive Centre and boardwalk, it’s the perfect place for eco-adventures and wildlife tours.


On the edge of Quatsino Sound, this historic fishing village offers easy access to sport fishermen seeking big trophies, as well as oceanfront hikes, kayaking adventures, and sandy beaches for everyone. An excellent spot to watch for sea otters, bald eagles, and intertidal life.

Featured Community Events

  • OrcaFest  – Port McNeill – August 17
  • FILOMI Days – Port Hardy – July 19-20-21
  • North Island Music Fest – August 24

For more events please visit myvancouverislandnorth.ca/life-here/our-stories/

Take the Wild Pledge

The Wild Pledge is a promise to practice responsible tourism and journey with care when visiting Vancouver Island communities, businesses, Indigenous communities, forests and oceans. By taking The Wild Pledge, you are making a commitment to be a more sustainable traveller by doing the following:

Pledge to:

  • Leave no trace when exploring our beaches, forests, and land.
  • Encourage the celebration of local cultures, traditions and heritages.
  • Observe and not disturb our wildlife and natural habitats.
  • Support local lives by eating, staying, and shopping locally.
  • Prepare for any experience in our trails, mountains, and waters.
  • Share the trails, roads, routes, and parking areas.

TAKE THE PLEDGE ONLINE vancouverislandnorth.ca/takethepledge