Discover Powell River, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty
Nestled on the northern Sunshine Coast of southwestern British Columbia, Canada, Powell River is a city that offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. Despite its relative proximity to Vancouver and other populous areas of the BC Coast, Powell River's geographical surroundings, including two long, steep-sided fjords, contribute to its remote charm. The city serves as the head office of the qathet Regional District and is home to a vibrant community that thrives near the eastern shores of Malaspina Strait, part of the larger Georgia Strait.
The Rich History of Powell River, British Columbia
The city of Powell River was named after Israel Wood Powell, B.C.'s first superintendent for Indian Affairs and a chief architect of colonial policies. Despite never stepping foot in the town, Powell's influence is evident in the city's name. A supporter of B.C. joining the union with Canada, Powell brought the first Canadian flag to BC on June 17, 1871.
The city's industrial history began in 1908 with the establishment of a pulp mill. The first roll of paper was produced at Powell River Mill in 1912, marking the beginning of a thriving industry. At its peak, the mill in Powell River was the largest pulp and paper mill in the world, producing paper for one in every 25 newspapers globally. Today, the mill produces newsprint and specialty papers for Catalyst Paper.
Powell River's Historic Townsite, a well-preserved early 20th Century planned community, was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1995. The city was also named a "Cultural Capital of Canada" in 2004, recognizing its strong arts and cultural programs.
Powell River, British Columbia: A Name Change in Progress
In May 2021, the Tla'amin Nation submitted a request to the Powell River city council for a name change. The request stems from the city's namesake, Israel Powell, who played a significant role in the sale of Lot 450, which included the tiyskʷat village, and the implementation of policies that negatively impacted Indigenous customs.
Attractions in Powell River, British Columbia
Powell River offers a plethora of attractions for tourists and locals alike. The city received a $10,000 grant from the government of British Columbia in 2020 to support tourism. Nearby Texada Island, with its quiet beaches and lakes, is a popular weekend destination. The city is also home to the Patricia Theatre, Canada's oldest continuously operating theatre, and the Powell River Historical Museum.
Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the Sunshine Coast Trail, Canada's longest hut-to-hut hiking trail. The city also hosts several festivals, including the Blackberry Festival, Pacific Region International Summer Music Academy (PRISMA) Festival, Townsite Jazz Festival, International Choral Kathaumixw, and the Sunshine Music Festival.
Transportation in Powell River, British Columbia
Despite being located on the mainland, Powell River is only accessible by water (BC Ferries) or by air (Powell River Airport) due to its geographical isolation. The city has two ferry terminals, the Westview Ferry Terminal and the Saltery Bay Ferry Terminal, which provide service to Comox, Vancouver Island, and Texada Island. Pacific Coastal Airlines offers flights between Powell River Airport and the South Terminal of Vancouver's International Airport.
The City of Powell River, British Columbia
The City of Powell River includes the original Townsite, which became a National Historic District in 1995, and the more populous Westview, and the Cranberry and Wildwood areas. On October 15, 2005, coinciding with its 50th anniversary of incorporation, Powell River was officially designated a city.
Demographics of Powell River, British Columbia
In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Powell River had a population of 13,943 living in 6,402 of its 6,718 total private dwellings, a change of 6% from its 2016 population of 13,157.
Climate and Ecosystem of Powell River, British Columbia
Powell River boasts a Mediterranean climate of the warm-summer type, the most northerly location in the northern hemisphere with such a climate. The city is situated within a temperate rainforest, the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone, which is the rainiest biogeoclimatic zone in British Columbia.
Power Supply in Powell River, British Columbia
East of Saltery Bay, a powerline crosses Jervis Inlet on a span of 3.1 kilometres (1.9 mi), providing power to the city of Powell River.