The Canadian Coast
From Vancouver, take a quick ferry over to Victoria, one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Evidence of the British era and role in the city’s founding is easily seen in its buildings, famous gardens and pedestrian amenities. Butchart Gardens offers a combination of history and gorgeous scenery in the century-old attraction featuring themed gardens like Sunken, Rose, Japanese, Italian, Mediterranean and Italian gardens.
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Start by ferrying over to Vancouver Island and enjoy a leisurely exploration of BC’s capital city, Victoria, and the charming seaside communities along the island’s eastern coast as you head north toward Port Hardy.
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Duncan is a great place to learn about the First Nations heritage of Vancouver Island. The community features the largest collection of outdoor totem poles in the world, and a totem tour is a great way to explore the downtown area. Be sure to visit the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre for more information on the culture and heritage of the area’s first people.
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Telegraph Cove is a charming, boardwalked community that seems like it fell out of history. The little cove offers fishing, kayaking, whale watching and many other outdoor activities. A now humming visitor attraction in the summer, the area also has plenty of shops and restaurants.
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Port Hardy is one of the primary port cities in the BC Ferries system and the place where you’ll begin your journey up the legendary Inside Passage region of British Columbia and Alaska.
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From Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, you’ll take BC Ferries to Prince Rupert, a quintessential Inside Passage town boasting of excellent fishing and bear viewing. Alaska Marine Highway System ferries connect Prince Rupert to the continuing ferry journey north up the Inside Passage.
Prince Rupert is situated at the southernmost tip of the Inside Passage, and its landscape is typical of the region – tall coastal mountains, islands, ocean, rainforest, a charming small boat harbor and a downtown built on pilings over the water. It’s a great place to take a bear-viewing tour; several local tour companies offer these excursions. In Khutzeymateen Provincial Park, a limited number of permits are available to visitors to view grizzly bears in their natural habitat.
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Begin your First Nation’s experience right in Prince Rupert at the Museum of Northern BC. Housed in a traditional First Nation’s longhouse that overlooks Prince Rupert harbour, the museum collection celebrates the culture and history of the area. Combine this time in Prince Rupert with a visit to the North Pacific Cannery Historic Site, now a National Historic Site but for 90 years operated consistently as a salmon canning production facility. The Cannery is located in Port Edward, a short ferry ride from Prince Rupert.
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