Port McNeill - Vancouver Island, British Columbia

A Vancouver Island Getaway - Information on Port McNeill

Visit Rolf Hickers fine art photography gallery in Port McNeill

In the untamed wilderness of Northern Vancouver Island, lies a town known as the “Gateway to the Broughton Archipelago ” or as "Vancouver Island Getaway" - Port McNeill.

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, whale watching, bear watching, and sea kayaking just to name a few.

Port McNeill picture
Aerial Shot of Port McNeill on Northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia

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.

sunset over Port McNeill
View over Port McNeill Bay and Malcolm Island

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.

Today with a population of approximately 2,700 residents, Port McNeill still relies heavily on the logging industry for its economy, while developing an awareness of tourism industry potential.

Here you can find more pictures of Northern Vancouver Island