Yesterday evening, we were poking around the old seaplane hangar just down from the docks, when we discovered the local Coal Harbour museum. It’s an odd (but impressive) assortment of artifacts collected and contributed by community members housed in a small room off the hanger. The walls are adorned with newspaper clippings, photographs, letters and paraphernalia that present Coal Harbour’s history – from whaling to mining and timber. An impressive set of blue whale bones grace the entrance to the ‘museum’ and we were impressed to learn from the newspaper displays and photographs that they were hunting and processing whales just down from the docks all the way through 1967.
This morning a few of us took advantage of the chance for some final provisioning in Port Hardy. Captain Pat aboard Irish Mist was kind to coordinate a tour of the highlights of Port Hardy – primarily a small museum with an arrangement of historic and prehistoric artifacts related to the history of Port Hardy, Coal Harbor and surrounding area, and an opportunity to enjoy coffee and internet at a nice café across the street that also adjoined a great bookstore. Lots of great British Columbian literature…salmon, forests, sailing and survival tales galore.
After lunch Irish Mist led the way over for a visit with Calvin Hunt, Kwakwaka’wakw carver. Calvin’s wood shop is tucked away in a small residential neighborhood up the street from the tribal headquarters – not a place we would have found on our own. In the backyard were housed three traditional cedar wood canoes, while underneath what would have otherwise been a carport sat a 350+ year old cedar log that was being transformed into a commissioned totem pole.
It’s neat to discover these people and places tucked away – part of the joys of traveling off the beaten path. Thank you Irish Mist for coordinating a great day in Port Hardy.