Port Hardy is named for the captain of Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar. This area has been inhabited for at least 8,000 years, based on archaeological discoveries of sandstone tools, burial sites and petroglyphs (pictures on stone). This town of 5,000 lies at the northern end of Vancouver Island, with wintertime recreation at nearby Mount Cain ski area. Quatse River Estuary and Hatchery provides very good bird watching.
A ferry (250-669-1211) connects Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands, via the famed Inside Passage. It is also a regular stop for those on Alaska cruises from Vancouver or Seattle.