Bella Bella, British Columbia Canada

Discover Bella Bella, British Columbia: A Historical and Cultural Gem

Bella Bella, British Columbia, also known as Waglisla, is a captivating unincorporated community and Indian reserve nestled on the east coast of Campbell Island. This Heiltsuk home is located in the Central Coast region of British Columbia, Canada. Bella Bella is a significant transportation hub, being part of the Inside Passage, a crucial route for marine vessels carrying cargo, passengers, and recreational boaters from the south coast.

Bella Bella, British Columbia: A Brief Overview

Bella Bella is situated 98 nautical miles north of Port Hardy, on Vancouver Island, and 78 nautical miles west of Bella Coola. The community was founded between 1897 and 1903 and was originally styled New Bella Bella to distinguish it from "Bella Bella". The community's official post office name for some time was Waglisla, meaning "river on the beach" in the Heiltsuk language.

The Hudson's Bay Company's Fort McLoughlin was near the same location, which is on McLoughlin Bay. With a population of 1,400, Bella Bella is the largest community to be found on the Central Coast north of Queen Charlotte Strait. It is home to the Heiltsuk First Nation.

Bella Bella, British Columbia: A Community Revived

Like many small communities on the coast, such as nearby Ocean Falls, Bella Bella has had a precarious and isolated existence. The closing of coastal cannery towns and decreased need for coastal shipping reduced the importance of Bella Bella's port. However, the resumption of ferry services by BC Ferries and the introduction of an air link from Vancouver via Port Hardy by Pacific Coastal Airlines have revived Bella Bella.

Services in Bella Bella include a large general store, the Bella Bella Community School, Alexa's restaurant, the Koeye Cafe, the Thistalalh Memorial Library, an RCMP police station, the Bella Bella Medical Clinic, and R.W. Large Memorial Hospital and its pharmacy.

Bella Bella, British Columbia: A Rich History

Bella Bella is a Heiltsuk village situated on Campbell Island, British Columbia. The village was initially located at McLoughlin Bay, south of the current location but moved between 1898 and the early 20th Century to the present site. Heiltsuk's oral history tells of a dispute with the store owner in the original town, prompting the entire community to abandon the site and move to a larger site – the present location of the village.

During the early period, Bella Bella was composed of relatively new European-style houses and a boardwalk. By 1903 the new town was fairly well established. The mission was complete with a hospital, mission house, and school which doubled as a church. Methodist missionaries played a significant role during this period, functioning as colonial agents, magistrates, ministers, as well as medical doctors. A missionary hospital was established, as well as a church and school. The current hospital in Bella Bella evolved from this early missionary hospital.

Bella Bella, British Columbia: The Story Behind the Name

The origin of the name Bella Bella has several stories. It originally was associated with the Heiltsuk people and the community of Heiltsuk people that developed where the Hudson Bay Company built Fort McLoughlin. After several years of effort – the Heiltsuk were able to have the name Bella Bella returned to the postal service in the community. The name was changed in 2007. As a result of this history – the name Bella Bella can be seen in four different locations on the Central Coast maps – depending on when they were created and how up-to-date they are.

Bella Bella, British Columbia: Geology

The 13-million-year-old mafic dike swarms in the Bella Bella area were formed by the Anahim hotspot when this part of North America was directly overhead. The dikes are believed to mark the first arrival of the hotspot, although it is now located in central British Columbia at Nazko Cone.