Author: Larry St Aubin
Today we head up the east side of the island to Port Hardy. There are no provincial parks in Port Hardy so I’ve booked a tent site at the Port Hardy RV Resort.
I’ve got some spare time now to catch up on the blog posts.
Located within the traditional territory of the Kwakiutl First Nation and home to two neighbouring First Nations bands, the Quatsino and Gwa’sala- ‘Nakwaxda’xw, at the Northern tip of Vancouver Island.
Anchor Way Park, Nanaimo. Our morning walk is to Anchor Way park. It is the gateway to the harbourfront walkway and seaplane terminal. “This hand-forged anchor stands as a testimonial to the men and ships that sailed the area, providing important links of trade and communications to world markets.”
“The Anchor came from one of the largest ships to load coal in Boat Harbour, approximately five miles south of Nanaimo. The ship, thought to be the SS Northland and known as a steam packet, was a three masted sailing ship with a steam engine. While attempting to approach the coal bunkers to load coal, which were 600 feet from shore, it ran into strong winds approximately 1/2 a mile off the dock. In an attempt to slow the ship, the anchor was lowered, it snagged on a reef, thus possibly breaking the dog on the winch. This accounts for all of the chain being recovered with the anchor. The ship eventually ran into the dock.”
Back at the hotel for breakfast. I knew it would be a late night with the ABBA band so planned a leisurely start to the day. I’m staying at the Best Western Dorchester hotel. That had The View Oceanside Grill. They also have a casual restaurant called Top Notch. They were open at 7 for breakfast. I ordered the Bastion and it was a feast. I would not have to have lunch after this. The bacon I took back to the hotel room and mixed it in with the kibble.
Before I left I took a photo of what the view was like. I should have been doing this to all the hotels I stayed at. I had a view of a wall. The hotel clerk had told me they have the pet friendly rooms on the first floor to make it easier. That is my car on the bottom left.
We finally got under way. It was going to be a long drive so I planned my rest periods. The first was about an hour and a half away in Campbell River. The Island Grind coffee shop was just off the highway in a mall. It was a lovely building. They had a fruit bran muffin which I shared with the girls. Sat on a Muskoka chair and rested for the next spurt to Port Hardy.
About an hour later I heard panting in the back seat. Time for a water break. There was a provincial Rest Area that I pulled into. The little pug bums with the mountain backdrop – one picture says it all.
Port Hardy. I first stopped at the Visitor Centre. I asked about a beach. This was for Greta to dip her paws into the Pacific Ocean – a rite of passage for my pugs. I also asked about the Port Hardy Sea Wall and she gave me lots of info on it.
We first went to Storey’s Beach – a 15 minute drive. When I had Dublin and Raisin, we did our first Parts Unknown Pugs trip to the east coast. It was there that I got them to dip their paws in the Atlantic Ocean. Dublin passed on before he could do a west coast trip. But Raisin and Eve did it. Raisin was now a sea to sea pug. Of course, I then had to take Eve to the east coast in 2021 along with Greta. They did the Atlantic Ocean ritual. Now Greta completes the journey in the Pacific.
Hardy Bay seawall. We drive back and head to Rotary Park next to the seawall.
“Stroll or jog along the seawall to the bustling harbour, where fishing boats, sail boats and float planes always seem to be coming or going. Follow the seawall to Carrot Park and view the war memorial, next come to Tsulquate Park. The next park along this scenic seawall is the Kinsmen Park and pavilion, a great place for a picnic or barbecue. Follow Market Street to Fishermen’s Wharf, alive with seiners, gillnetters, trollers, sailboats, and sport fishing boats in summer and fall.”
Along the path are stone placements.
Carrot Campaign Historic Site. Rotary Park is also known as Carrot Common. “this carrot, marking the northern end of the island highway, is a symbol of government road building promises, dangled in front of North Island settlers since 1897. The successful 1970s ‘carrot campaign’ was aimed at making the government keep promises of a completed highway.”
There was no highway connecting the northern end of the island to the rest of the southern communities up until 1979. The only infrastructure, logging roads, in place was built and funded by private logging companies, coupled with a ferry system.
Residents would send carrots to the provincial capital as a reminder that there was still no finished highway, but more importantly it kept pressure on the politicians.
There are also war memorials in the park. This pole is dedicated to the Kwakwaka’wakw war veterans who served in the First and Second World Wars, Korea War and Vietnam. Carved by Calvin Hunt and assisted by Mervyn Child
The seawall has a number of interpretive panels relating to creatures of the ocean.
We found a bench to sit and enjoy this wonderful, sunny day. We have been so blessed with the weather on this trip. It is 14 degrees – perfect for the pugs. When we are on a bench Greta sits beside me. Eve likes to put her paws on my thighs and be the lookout.
Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish. Stopped buy here for some road snacks. They have a great selection of smoked fish like the maple sockeye. They also have an online store you can order. I stopped to get some jerked salmon. They had two recipes – a simple and more complex. Got 1 bag of each.
Port Hardy BC Ferries terminal. I was talking with a couple on the Queen of Oak Bay who were going on to Bella Coola. I wanted to find out more (you never know when another trip can become available. The terminal has departures to Bella Coola and Prince Rupert. If I had another week I would certainly book return passage on one of these.
Port Hardy Resort. My preference has been to camp at provincial or national parks. However as there wasn’t any in Port Hardy, I booked into this private resort. It is located between the Quatse Estuary and Quatse River. The resort offers cabins, sites for RVs and 10 tent sites.
Check in was 3 pm. I got there at 3:30 and there was a sign on the door that they had gone into town and would be back in 15 minutes. No telling when that 15 minutes started. Soon there were two more people waiting to check in. I made the comment that it’s a bad idea to go into town at check in time. I called the phone number and a person said they would be right there.
I got the tent setup and headed out for dinner. One of the people who were waiting to check in came over to help me setup. Guess it was a kind of karma.
Glen Lyons Restaurant. Named after the river that flows by it. Had a view of the estuary. They had a happy hour on Bowen Island Brewery IPS – $5 for a can. The menu was typical restaurant fare. Ordered a burger.
It was going to be a long driver back to Nanaimo in the morning. Plus there were a number of adventures I had planned. I wanted to get an early start so got everyone under the sleeping bag and crashed early.