Home of the famous “Welcome to Port Hardy” sign, this park is the most photographed site in Port Hardy! This sign marks Mile “0” of the Island Highway (Highway 19) and provides a panoramic view of Hardy Bay with a backdrop of the snow-capped Coastal Mountain Range.
Walk the Seawall
Grab some ice cream and enjoy a short beautiful stroll along Port Hardy’s seawall, running from the government dock to Tsulquate Park, and past Carrot Park. Amber lights light the walk in the evening, providing a pleasant atmosphere for a leisurely stroll along the waterfront.
Totem Poles are located at: Fort Rupert Reserve
Port Hardy Airport
Bear Cove Terminal (BC Ferries)
Chamber of Commerce (Visitor Centre)
Port Hardy Secondary School (inside foyer)
Thunderbird Mall (inside front entrance)
Chain Saw Carvings – A former resident of Port Hardy carved all these unique signs.
Visitors can view these truly wonderful signs at the following locations:
Carrot Park – “Welcome to Port Hardy”
RCMP Detachment – Salmon
Glen Lyon Inn – Eagle
Airport Inn – Bear
Highway 19 and Hardy Bay Road Junction (Jessie’s B&B) – Bear
Public Library – Bear (one inside and one outside)
Highway 19 and Bear Cove Highway – 3 Bears
Sunny Sanctuary Campground – Eagle and Lumberjack
Port Hardy Airport - Eagle
Tour of Murals
Port Hardy’s of murals are located at:
Airport Inn (outside)
Malone’s Oceanside Bistro (inside)
Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish (inside & outside)
North Island Diving & Water sports (outside)
Thunderbird Mall (inside)
Chamber of Commerce (outside back wall)
Sporty Bar & Grill (front entrance)
North Coast Trail Backpackers Hostel (outside)
Quarterdeck Marina (outside)
Port Hardy Swimming Pool (inside)
Visitors can take these fascinating tours daily between late June and early October. Tours leave from Telegraph Cove, Alder Bay, Port McNeill, Port Hardy & Alert Bay. Visit the InfoCentre for more information.
Port Hardy has a variety of small shops and a diversity of eateries. Market Street is our main street, where you can find many souvenir shops and galleries, each with their own unique little treasures. The Thunderbird Mall is located within walking distance of downtown and the Information Centre. A list of local restaurant menus is available at the Visitor Centre for your perusal.
Port Hardy Museum and Archives
The Port Hardy museum is operated by the non-profit Heritage Society. Admission is by donation. It exhibits aboriginal artifacts, early settlers’ effects, natural history materials, and local industrial equipment. It also mounts a temporary exhibit from April to October each year. Locally made Aboriginal art and jewelry, local interest book and souvenirs are available in the museum Gift Shop. 7110 market Street 2126, Port Hardy B.C, V0N2P0 phone 250 -949-8143
Open at various hours during the week, the public library offers an abundance of books that can be signed out or just read while sitting in the brightly lit, designated areas. Call (250) 949-6661 for hours of operation.
Explore the rocky beaches near town for beach glass and treasures. In addition, you can discover tidal pools teeming with intertidal life like starfish, crabs, limpets, and other creatures! Other spectacular beaches (various distances from town – ask for specific locations) are located at Storey’s Beach, Raft Cove, San Josef Bay, Cape Palmerston, Cape Scott, and Grant Bay. While combing you may just see a bald eagle or a black bear!
Many of the local restaurants serve a variety of seafood dishes. Stop in at Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish to purchase mouth-watering smoked fish delicacies or a variety of locally caught fresh seafood – for more information contact Hardy Buoys at (250) 949-8781.
With eight baseball diamonds in town, baseball is becoming a very popular way of spending a sunny afternoon.
North Island Lanes offers public bowling throughout the day, and at night. Cosmic bowling is offered on Friday nights.
Fitness & Health
This fully stocked gym offers a variety of fitness classes including yoga. Massage & a suntan bed are also available.
If you want to catch a glimpse of the bald eagle, then take a walk down the Port Hardy Sea Wall, Storey’s beach, the mouth of Glen Lyon River or anywhere along the low tide line.
Port Hardy Recreation Centre
Our recreation centre boasts a full size indoor pool, hot tub, sauna and arena. Tennis courts and racquets are available at the pool. Call to find information about indoor street hockey, 949-6686 or ask us for schedule information.
Port Hardy is known for its world-renowned scuba diving. Due to the clarity of the water and tidal action, scuba divers rate Port Hardy as one of the top sites to dive!
Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre & Hatchery
It’s all about the salmon at the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre. The interpretive gallery features aquaria, a fun-filled habitat display complete with woody debris, many of our salmon’s prey and predators, and information on challenges to salmon survival in freshwater and ocean environments. Tours of the hatchery will open your eyes to a world of salmon that few people get the chance to see. The centre is open to the public Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm . Admission to the centre is $5 per adult, $2 per youth (5-18 years old) and $10 per family.
Quatse River and Estuary Trails
This lovely return trail begins at Port Hardy’s seaplane base, meanders along the waterfront, and then splits into the Estuary trail and the Quatse River Loop. For the nature observer, this area provides abundant wildlife, birds and marsh vegetation. You may wish to bring along your binoculars or a magnifying glass for exploring the estuary. Watch for birds and wildlife at the estuary, and enjoy the gracious rainforest bordering the Quatse River.
Fishing charters and boat rentals are available. Salt water offers salmon from April to September, and bottom fish from April to October, a great time to be hard on the open ocean. If you prefer fresh water, try out the many lakes and rivers. Trout and steelhead are open from September to March. Fishing licenses are mandatory and are available at the Quarterdeck Marina, Jim’s Hardy Sports or on the internet. Contact the local Department of Fisheries and Oceans at (250) 949-6422 or (250) 949-6731 for current fishing regulations.
Several companies offer fantastic tours from various locations on the North Island. Tours and rentals are available for the beginner and the experienced. With Multi-day tours, you will experience the North Islands wildlife to the fullest.
A Little Bit Further:
This fantastic beach is located 12 minutes from downtown Port Hardy – head south on Highway 19, turn left onto Byng Road and left again on Beaver Harbour Road (and then follow Beaver Harbour Road straight to the beach). This is a beautiful scenic area with something for everyone to do. The sandy beach is a popular place for building sand castles, swimming, kayaking, eagle watching, and beachcombing – watch for squirting clams! This is also a great place for picnicking: there is a park, a covered pavilion area, fire pits, and a great view. Just remember not to litter!
During the summer season, there are races almost every weekend.
Fort Rupert & First Nation Carvers
At one time, this was the site of a Hudson’s Bay Fort. The chimney from the Fort is still standing in its original spot. More recently, the Fort Rupert Band has built a Big House. There are many spectacular totems throughout the community. For a driving tour guide of Fort Rupert check with the Visitor Information Centre.
The Copper Maker Gallery is located on the Fort Rupert Reserve. Tony and Calvin Hunt are among the local Native artists and carvers working out of this shop. This work includes Southern Kwakiutl art, carvings, bowls, masks and totem poles. Commissionable pieces are available. Many of the works have made it to museums and cultural centers all over the world. Call (250) 949-8491 for further information.
Marble River Trail
This canopied trail is about a 30-minute drive from Port Hardy, towards Port Alice. This is a beautiful trail through the forest, with sections coming out to the river. This is a great place to hike in and watch the salmon go up the river waterfall to spawn in the fall. Allow at least 3 hours for round trip hiking time. Has a camping ground as well.
Schedules are available at the InfoCentre for most of the BC Ferries routes. The Inside Passage and Discovery Coast cruises are both very popular trips and are the only two that leaves from Port Hardy. Reservations are required. Call (1-888-BCFERRY (223-3779) for information or reservations. There are also shorter ferry trips that leave Port McNeil and go to Alert Bay and Sointula several times daily. You may just catch a glimpse of whales and other wildlife on the ferry as well.
Little Huston Lake Arches and Caves are located on the Island Highway just south of the Nimpkish Lake. Watch for signs. Also of interest in this area are Devil’s Bath, the Eternal Fountain, and the Disappearing (and later Reappearing) River.
Cape Scott Provincial Park
Cape Scott Provincial Park and San Josef Bay are wilderness-hiking adventures. These popular hiking area’s are can be accessed by driving 63 km on an active logging, gravel road to the parking area. The west coast often experiences strong Pacific winds, tides and rains. It is a naturalist’s paradise, but requires good guide maps and preparation. Be sure to stop at the Info Centre to pick up your Park map, as well as check in with the Visitor Information Counselors for current Park information. Remember that this is a wilderness area and that you must pack-in camping supplies with you, and pack-out your camping refuse, as well. There is an overnight camping fee inside the park, just register yourself at the self-registration box at the head of the trail. Do not forget to take the short hike while you’re at Cape Scott to the light house!
The Shoe Tree
En route to Holberg, Winter Harbour, and Cape Scott, make sure to keep your eyes peeled on the right side of the road for the Shoe Tree. It was started after a woman destroyed her shoes on the Cape Scott hike, and decided make a testament to the hike by nailing her shoes to a tree. The idea caught on and now you can find everything from stilettos to slippers.
This was an old homestead established in 1910 by Bernt Ronning. He planted a variety of different plants and trees from around the world. After Mr. Ronning’s death, the garden was abandoned and fell into neglect. Today, Ron and Julia Moe have taken over and brought the garden back to life. Follow the signs to Cape Scott Park and watch for the Ronning’s Garden sign on the right hand side (between Holberg and the Cape Scott parking area). You will find a parking lot and a gravel path leading to the site. Allow 10 minutes to walk into the site and then enjoy your self-guided tour.
Raft Cove Provincial Park
This is a great place to see the West Coast of Vancouver Island. This small cove is about one and a half hour drive from Port Hardy (past Holberg but prior to Cape Scott Park -- follow the signs to the parking area at Raft Cove). The 45 minute-short rugged trail can get quite muddy in the rain. However, once you are at the cove, you will find that the beach was well worth the effort – the cove is a great place to look for the rare glass balls that wash up on the beaches. Bring your surfboard for the waves are great. Exercise caution and be aware of undertow and strong currents.
This forestry site is one of the only West Coast sites that are accessible with a vehicle. There is a short, well-maintained walk from the parking area to the beach and walk-in campsites. Just follow the signs to Raft Cove, continue past Raft Cove, and watch for the Cape Palmerston signs.
Golfer’s will find 3 golf courses on the North Island. Inquire at the Visitor Centres for more information.