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Powell River, British Columbia

Powell River, with a population of 13,000 residents is a coastal city in British Columbia, on the mainland part of the Sunshine Coast on the eastern shore of the Strait of Georgia. The coastal mountains providing a stunning backdrop. Powell River is approximately 145 kilometers (90 miles) northwest of Vancouver. The city is accessible by ferry from Comox on Vancouver Island or by road via a scenic drive from Vancouver and then a ferry crossing from the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal in West Vancouver to the southern part of the Sunshine Coast.

Powell River has a rich history rooted in forestry and pulp and paper production. The city was established in the early 20th century around the Powell River Company’s pulp mill, which played a crucial role in the region’s economic development.

The city is surrounded by natural beauty, offering outdoor enthusiasts opportunities for hiking, kayaking, fishing, and exploring the nearby lakes, forests, and coastal areas. The proximity of Powell River to Desolation Sound, a renowned marine destination, offers boating enthusiasts access to pristine coastal waters and marine parks.

Powell River History

The area around Powell River has a rich history of Indigenous occupation by the Tla’amin Nation (formerly known as the Sliammon First Nation), a Coast Salish people, who have lived in the region for thousands of years.

Powell River’s modern history begins with the establishment of the Powell River Company, in 1910. The company was founded by American entrepreneur Dwight Powell, who chose the site for the pulp and paper mill based on proximity to timber and to transportation routes. The mill became a significant economic driver for the region.

The development of Powell River included the creation of the Townsite area, which is now recognized as a National Historic District with well-planned streets, parks, and historic buildings, all reflecting the architectural and design styles of the early 20th century.

The town of Powell River was officially incorporated in 1955, and over the years, the economy diversified with the development of tourism, education, and other sectors.

Powell River Attractions

Cranberry Lake and Inland Lakes

Powell River is home to Cranberry Lake, a popular spot for outdoor activities, including swimming and picnicking. Additionally, numerous inland lakes provide scenic settings for recreation.

Inland Lake Provincial Park

The park is located north of Powell River.
250-474-1336
https://bcparks.ca/inland-lake-park/

Turn up a short but steep hill on Haslam Street north of Cranberry Lake. Turn left onto the gravel road, continue on for about 5 km, then turn right on the Haywire Bay and Inland Lake intersection. In another 2 km, turn left into the park

Located northeast of Powell River, Inland Lake Provincial Park offers hiking trails and a scenic lake for swimming, fishing, cycling, canoeing, boating, and picnicking. Many years ago, the Model Community Society constructed a 13 km wheelchair-accessible trail around Inland Lake.The trails provide opportunities for both beginners and experienced hikers. In 1977, this area, formerly known as the Confederation/Haslam Lake Protected Area, which included a Forest Service Recreation Site at Inland Lake, was signed over to BC Parks and renamed Inland Lake Park.

Millennium Park

Willingdon Avenue, Powell River, BC V8A 2L6

Millennium Park is a waterfront park with walking paths, gardens, and public art installations. It’s a pleasant place to enjoy outdoor activities and scenic views.

Okeover Arm Provincial Park

At northern terminus of Hwy 101, 19 km north of Powell River. Lund is the closest community to the park, located approximately 9 km west by road.
1 800-689-9025
https://bcparks.ca/okeover-arm-park/

This park is known for its picturesque coastline, Okeover Arm Park is on the east side of the Malaspina Peninsula and includes Okeover Inlet. Visitors can enjoy canoeing and kayaking, searching out the varied marine life in the tidal pools, walking through the lightly forested upland, kayaking, and enjoying the coastal scenery.

Powell River Forestry Museum

4815 Marine Ave, Powell River, BC V8A 5T3
Website

The Forestry Museum highlights the significance of the forestry industry in Powell River’s history. It showcases vintage logging equipment and exhibits on the forestry practices of the region. The Society maintains the historic Willingdon Beach Trail and logging machinery displays along the trail for the enjoyment of the public. This wheelchair-accessible 1.2km flat trail was a railway grade from 1910-1918. The PRFMS also operates the miniature, ridable Paradise Valley Railroad at Paradise Exhibition Park.

Cranberry Lake

A mile south east of Powell River. Trailhead located at Marlatt and Park avenues in Cranberry

Cranberry Lake is a scenic spot offering hiking trails ( 0.6 km) and opportunities for birdwatching, as well as for fishing from the pier. The lake provides a peaceful setting for outdoor activities and is surrounded by lush forest. Cranberry was the first suburb of Powell River (now known as Townsite) and was within easy walking distance of the mill.

Qathet (Powell River) Museum & Archives

4798 Marine Ave, Powell River, BC V8A 4Z5
(604) 485-2222
Website

The museum showcases the history of Powell River, featuring exhibits on Indigenous culture, early settlers, and the development of the region’s industries. It provides insights into the cultural heritage of the community.

Powell River Public Library

100-6975 Alberni St, Powell River, BC V8A 2B8
604-485-4796
Website

The public library is a community hub offering a range of resources, events, and services. It’s a place to explore literature, attend community programs, and connect with locals.

Powell River Recreation Complex

5001 Joyce Avenue, Powell River, BC V8A 5R2
604-485-2891
Website

The recreation complex includes facilities for sports, fitness, and community events. It features a swimming pool, an ice rink, a gym, and more.

Powell River Salmon Society Hatchery

5775 Ash Ave, Powell River, BC
Website

Learn about salmon conservation and witness the efforts of the Powell River Salmon Society at their hatchery. Guided tours may be available to provide insights into the salmon life cycle.

Texada Island

Website

Take a ferry from Powell River to Texada Island, the largest of the Northern Gulf Islands. Explore the island’s trails, beaches, and historical sites, including the Blubber Bay Quarry. At over 300 square kilometres, Texada Island is the largest of the Gulf Islands. Home to approximately 1,126 people, the island is part of the qathet Regional District and is located just a short ferry ride from Powell River’s Westview ferry terminal.

Townsite Heritage District

Website

The Townsite area of Powell River, with its historic buildings and tree-lined streets, is recognized as a National Historic District The Townsite area has well-preserved heritage buildings, reflecting Powell River’s early years. Stroll through tree-lined streets and explore the architectural history of the town.

Powell River Farmers’ Market

4365 McLeod Road, Powell River, BC V8A 0P5
604-414-5076
Website

The local farmers’ market is a vibrant gathering featuring fresh produce, artisanal products, and handmade crafts. It provides a taste of the local flavors and a chance to connect with the community.

Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park

Take the Sunshine Coast Highway to Lund, for nearest land access
1 800-689-9025
Website

While not directly in Powell River, Desolation Sound is a stunning marine park known for its pristine waters, fjords, and marine lifeDesolation Sound Marine Park has more than 60 km of shoreline, several islands, numerous small bays, and snug coves. The warm waters of the park are ideal for swimming and scuba diving. The forested upland offers a shady refuge of trails.

This park is a very popular boating and kayaking destination, located at the confluence of Malaspina Inlet and Homfray Channel. . It’s a popular destination for boating, kayaking, and enjoying the natural beauty of the coast.

 

Willington Beach

Off Marine Ave, just north of Power River town centre
website

Willington Beach is a popular waterfront area offering sandy beaches, a seaside promenade, and stunning views of the Strait of Georgia. It’s a great spot for picnics, beachcombing, and enjoying the coastal scenery. The Willingdon Beach Trail is approximately 1.2 km one way (20 minutes walking) and easy, flat and wide

Powell River, British Columbia Area Map