Prince Rupert, with its 12,000 residents, is located on the northwest coast of British Columbia, at the western end of the Yellowhead Route #16 of the Trans-Canada, which after a ferry crossing continues on Haida Gwai (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands). It is also a major west coast shipping harbour for exports of Canadian goods and raw materials, being at the west end of the Canadian National Railway line across Canada. Prince Rupert is only 48 km (30 miles) south of Alaska, USA!
Prince Rupert is located on Kaien Island in the territory of the Tsimshan First Nations. Prince Rupert calls itself “The City of Rainbows” and is Canada’s wettest city with 2,620 mm (103 inches) of average annual precipitation.
Prince Rupert’s deep harbor, surrounded by towering mountains and lush rainforests, made it attractive for both residents and visitors, though the high mountains cast a “rain shadow” on the community, giving it the highest rainfall (2,620 mm (103 in) per year) and cloudy-days (only 1230 hours of sunshine per year) of any place in Canada.
Prince Rupert History
The area has been home to the Coast Tsimshian First Nations for at least 5,000 years.
In the late 1800s, the area attracted the attention of European explorers, who saw the potential for a deep-sea port that could connect the west coast of North America to Asia. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was built to connect Prince Rupert to the rest of Canada, and the town quickly grew into a bustling hub for transportation and commerce.
Following a Canada wide contest, the town was name after Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the first Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, who never visited Canada.
By 1909 the town was bustling, and there was lots of land speculation as the railway was parceling off its land holdings in the community. The real estate boom ended in 1912, followed by World War One, which shifted Canada’s shipping focus to the East Coast. Mount Hays, the larger of two mountains on Kaien Island, where Prince Rupert is located is named for Charles Melville Hays, president of the Grant Trunk Pacific Railway.
During World War II, Prince Rupert played a vital role in the war effort as a major port for the movement of troops and supplies to and from the Pacific. During the War, US troops completed the road between Prince Rupert and Terrace to help move thousands of allied troops to the Aleutian Islands and the Pacific.
After the war years, the town continued to thrive as an important transportation hub and a center for fishing and logging. Today, Prince Rupert remains an important gateway to Asia, with its port serving as a major hub for international trade.