We began our voyage here in Prince Rupert, a small town on the coast of British Columbia, Canada. It is a great place for us to start exploring the Great Bear Rainforest, a temperate rainforest on the coast of British Columbia. It extends about 300 km along the coast from Alaska to Oregon, and it covers an area of six million hectares or about 10% of BC’s total area. One third of all old-growth trees in BC are found in this region. In Prince Rupert, we can also learn about the First Nations cultures in this region. The town has a population of around 20,000 people, most of whom are indigenous peoples from the Tsimshian tribe. The Tsimshian are known for their rich culture and traditions, which include totem poles, potlatches, and other unique art forms.
Located on the coast of the North Pacific Ocean on the edge of a deep bay, Prince Rupert is one of the most important fishing ports in Canada and has been a hub for salmon fishing and canning since its founding in 1878. The city has also become an important port for exporting Canadian timber, grain, and coal. We saw an example of this when visiting the Northern Pacific Cannery, one of the most unique places to tour in British Columbia. The cannery is one of the last standing canneries from British Columbia's once booming salmon industry. It is located in a beautiful setting, right on the water, and the visit offered a fascinating glimpse into the history of the area.
We also had the opportunity to explore the Museum of Northern British Columbia as well. This museum has an extensive exhibit and collection about the First Nations people, who have lived in this area for thousands of years. These cultures have a beautiful history of art that is often literally woven into their everyday life and attire. Examples of different wood carvings, including carved poles, are also found in the museum.
All in all, this unusually sunny day in Prince Rupert was a lovely way to start our voyage and to familiarize ourselves with the history and cultures of Northern British Columbia. We will certainly take the lessons learned here with us as we venture into the lush forests and fjords around us.
Photo caption: Visiting Prince Rupert