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Port Edward is located on the Tsimpsean Peninsula, opposite Ridley Island. The region has a stunning natural landscape that visitors can expect to see in Northern British Columbia. The surrounding parks and mountains provide numerous trails for hiking. The region is also home to many wildlife habitats; most notably the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, the only such sanctuary in North America, protects prime grizzly habitat. The waters are also home to abundant wildlife, where whales are plentiful. For many, the sight of humpbacks, grays, orcas, or minkes leaves an impression that will last a lifetime. The timing of your visit will determine what species you see.
The region is also home to the North Pacific Cannery, which is the oldest intact fish cannery on the West Coast of North America. The North Pacific Canning Company established it in 1889. The site consists of 30 buildings, 600 meters of boardwalk, and a unique working dock that is over 100 by 50 meters. The facility offers guided tours.
Named after King Edward VII, Port Edward was incorporated on June 29, 1966. The Grand Trunk Railway expanded their operations to the North Coast of British Columbia in 1908. They laid out the townsite of Port Edward at that time. Speculators began to purchase large blocks of land in the area, however, Charles M. Hays (Grand Trunk’s President) put plans for Port Edward on hold when he ran his railway to Kaien Island instead. This site became known as Prince Rupert.
The military used the town as a base during WWI. This helped to put Port Edward on the map. Since then, the fishing, pulp, and paper industries have sustained it. Prior to this, Port Edward’s first actual building was built in 1913 and was to house Prince Rupert Hydro’s 1500 horse-power diesel oil plant, but this never occurred.
The Nelson family moved to the area in 1909 from Tromso, Norway. They became fully immersed in the fishing industry within the decade. Nelson Bros. Fisheries Ltd pioneered in the field of long-distance fish packing on the coast, and by the early 1960s, Port Edward had become the largest fish processing area in the North. Inclusions were the installations of BC Packers evaporator plant in 1949, crab canning equipment in 1953, a clam operation in 1959 and a shrimp operation in 1961.