Port McNeill is an established community partly surrounded by lush temperate rainforest, and the sparkling waters of the Broughton Strait.
Often overlooked by travelers, there is far more to this Vancouver
Island Getaway than meets the eye. The range of activities is equally
wide and variable, and the hospitality is second to none. The mild climate
of Port McNeill, allows for year round outdoor recreational
activity. Particularly popular activities to do in Port McNeill include beachcombing,
and sea kayaking
just to name a few.
While in Port McNeill you "must" visit the Just Art - Native Art Gallery and Orca Gallery of fine art photography by award winning photographer Rolf Hicker, where you can also sign up for photography tours. Another "must see" are the famous paintings of Gordon Henschel at the Henschel Fine Art Gallery, only a few minutes drive from Port McNeill. Immerse yourself in the natural surroundings of Port McNeill, and enjoy a true pacific paradise.
There are a variety of Port McNeill accommodation options available, from hotels like the Black Bear Resort to cottage accommodation and RV camping located on a small gold course just outside of Port McNeill, or this luxery bed, breakfast and photo tours B&B near Port McNeill and Telegraph Cove.
To round off an exciting day of exploration in and around the Port McNeill area, relax and dine well at one of the many restaurants Port McNeill has to offer. The Northern Lights Restaurant offers delectable meals which can include locally caught seafood. The Sportsman Steak House offers flavours of the Mediterranean, while McNeills and Bo-banees offer casual cafe style dining.
Port McNeill was named after Captain William Henry McNeill of the Hudson Bay Company, who arrived aboard the S/S Beaver, a paddle-wheeler that was the first steamship to operate on the west coast of British Columbia. Captain McNeill was believed to have occasionally anchored in what is now known as McNeill Bay, in order to cut firewood for the boilers on his ship. At that time, there were no residents in the bay.
Although Port McNeill history does not go back beyond the 1930’s as far a settlement is concerned, there is still much to learn of the pioneers of these days. In the early thirties, some small logging companies set up camp in various locations along the Coast and into McNeill Bay. Most of the forestry employees lived in bunkhouses in logging camps. They were transported to the camps from Vancouver by various steamship companies, most notably Union Steamships.
There were no roads on the Northern half of Vancouver Island, other than those built by individual logging companies, so all transportation was by ship or float plane. The first logging road to another community was the road to Port Hardy Airport, which was completed in 1959.
Logging has been an important part of Port McNeill’s development and was the mainstay industry. By late 1961, the population had reached 400 and new businesses were beginning to open their doors.
Here you can find more pictures of Northern Vancouver Island