Prince Rupert in a day: First Nations, cows, rainbows and blue ocean
Prince Rupert wasn’t in my itinerary. I was supposed to arrive by ferry and leave by train and be happy ever after. But things don’t always go as planned, so I ended up spending a full day in Prince Rupert. I don’t regret it, it is a lovely little town, especially the side overlooking the bay. Let’s see how to spend a relaxed day.
If you’re not into First Nations’ history or history in general, this is not the museum for you. Coming from Haida Gwaii, I had been exposed to the Haida art, but I didn’t know much about the other gazillion of First Nations. This museum is not huge, but you could easily spend a couple of hours in there, retracing centuries of Canadian history through all sorts of artifacts. The information is extensive and engaging and there are even repertoire videos of First Nations’ artists. I had the museum all to myself, so I spent some time posing like an idiot between totem poles.
Cow Bay is probably my favourite spot. In the whole area just lingers a positive and happy atmosphere. There are beautiful views of the mountains, quaint little shops of souvenirs, local art galleries, cute cafes with a personality and… everything on the street is cow-themed. From garbage bins to sun umbrellas to street signs to entire walls. Walk around and take a look at the shops, before resting in a cafe for a snack and some good cowpuccino. And at the end, conclude your visit by walking on the rainbow and back, just because you can 🙂
Rotary Waterfront Park
After a meal, is there anything better than a siesta? Walk down to the waterfront and stroll along the water until you reach the Rotary Waterfront Park. You’ll be welcomed by a big whale sculpture and most likely by a bunch of kids running around. Take a peek inside the Kwinitsa Railway Museum, the old terminus station of the Grand Truck Pacific Railway. Then, you’re ready for some relax in the sun: find a bench, enjoy the view and chill.
On the other side of the museum there are the old rail tracks. It may be an interesting spot for artistic pictures or photoshoots like the ones you see magazines, but it also seems the perfect location for a murder, so I would go at night.
Pillsbury House and Sunken Gardens
Anyway, if you cross the tracks and take the little uphill road (Bill Murray Drive to be precise), you’ll get back on the main road. On the way, you’ll have the chance to see the oldest house built in Prince Rupert in 1908. Something you can brag about for the rest of your life… or not.
If you keep walking on 1st Avenue, at one point there will be a small entrance on the right that looks a bit like a rabbit hole: it will take you to the Sunken Gardens, a cute quiet corner of green with a few tables and flowers. Perfect for reading, meditating or updating your travel diary. The tables even have a printed chessboard, so bring your own pieces and challenge someone to a game of chess!
On the other side of the gardens, there’s the courthouse and then you’re pretty much back into the heart of the town.
Prince Rupert recap
1 day itinerary: you can power through all the things I mentioned in the article in the morning and head out of town for a hike in the afternoon (or viceversa). Or you can just take it really slow and spend the full day in town as I did.
2 days itinerary: Go on a whale watching tour or visit the bear sanctuary. Right beside the tourist information centre, there is a company that organizes tours (Prince Rupert Adventures), take a look at what they have to offer.
Accommodation: I stayed at the Cow Pioneer Hostel (Hi Hostel partner), right in the city centre. The place is very clean and cozy, the staff is friendly and can recommend fun activities and tours. If you are a solo traveler and need to get to the ferry or to the train station, you can share a taxi with other travelers like you splitting the costs.
Transportation: the ferry terminal and the train station are about 5 km away from the city centre. I walked, but normal people can easily grab a taxi. The Greyhound bus terminal is in the city centre.
Souvenir shopping: the cute shops in Cow Bay are awesome, definitely worth a visit even just for the fun of it!
Questions or suggestions? Share them in the comments!