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Port Alberni Travel Guide

Port Alberni is a city on Vancouver Island that sits at the end of the deep Alberni Inlet, which marks a path to Barkley Sound on the island’s west coast. This large town has a booming lumber industry, which most visitors can immediately attest to upon arrival when they smell the pungent odors emanating from the mills. The other source of revenue for Port Alberni is fishing. Anglers come every year during the run of steelhead to catch some of the best salmon in the province.[1] You can also find halibut in the city’s salt water inlets.[2]

Port Alberni is home to the McLean Saw Mill, located at the harbor of the city’s downtown area.[3] This is a historical site where you’ll find a steam railway, the M.V. Lady Rose. Everyday, except for Sundays, the ship takes passengers down the Alberni Inlet. Half the time, it stops at Bamfield and the other times it stops at Ucluelet via the Broken Island Group. The cruise is a great way to observe forest and sea wildlife. Kayakers and canoers are permitted to board their vessels, which are put to good use upon arrival to the Broken Islands. If you do not have kayaking, diving, or canoeing equipment, you can rent at outlets in Port Alberni before getting on board.[4]

Being at the midpoint between Pacific Rim National Park and the east coast towns, Port Alberni is a great place for road trips. Highway 4 connects the town to the west coast by Sproat Lake, which is surrounded by summer cottages where anglers and water sports enthusiasts swarm in the warmer months. The highway passes through spectacular mountain and forest scenery, although evidence of extensive logging is noticeable. Highway 4 continues along the Kennedy River all the way to Kennedy Lake before reaching a junction with Tofino-Ucluelet Highway where the road turns sharply to the right toward Tofino.[5] At Sproat Lake, be sure to catch a glimpse of the world’s largest aerial firefighting flying boat, the Martin Mars water bombers.[6]

Be sure to spend some time in and around the Alberni Valley if you are a hiker or a mountain biker. There are over 100 trails in this area and it is widely considered the best hiking and mountain biking destination on Vancouver Island.[7]

Carroll, Donald. Insider’s Guide Canada. Edison: Hunter Publishing, Inc, 1996. ISBN: 1556507100.

“Port Alberni.” < http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_Alberni>

[1] Carroll, 76
[2] Port Alberni
[3] Id.
[4] Carroll, 76
[5] Id.
[6] Port Alberni
[7] Id.

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