Appearances can be deceiving, and such is the case for Powell River, which is not a body of water but a much-beloved city on the Sunshine Coast.
Although a small city, Powell River has a lot to offer Canadian tourism. The city was founded in 1912 and is situated in the southern region of the province of British Columbia. It has a population of roughly 14,000 people.
On the other hand, the historical and cultural significance of the place makes it an absolute treat for those who love the mysteries and stories of days gone by.
12 Things That Make a Visit to Powell River Special
Here are some worthwhile things to do and places to visit that help you make your next visit to Powell river worthwhile.
1. Powell River Farmer’s Market
Like many other parts of Canada, Powell River has its version of a farmer’s market. It is great for kids, given the playground is especially meant for the young ones to jump around.
It is highly recommended that you check out the farmer’s market on the weekends as they offer a short train ride.
The farmer’s market isn’t just limited to agricultural produce. The stalls display all sorts of stuff, including pottery, baked goods, and flowers.
Live music is also conducted, but check out the bands or artists taking the stage before you go.
The rural setting gives it a homely, welcoming vibe. The Canadian people are especially friendly, and you have a perfect shopping experience with hassle-free conveyance and entertainment.
2. Powell River Historical Museum and Archives
The Powell River Historical Museum and Archives contain some of the most well-documented pieces of world-class artifacts and history regarding the townsite heritage society and the history of the Willingdon beach trail, sunshine music festival, inland lake, and other geographical surroundings.
A rather small and cozy setting, but informative nonetheless. You’ll learn a lot about the people of the First Nations and the culture and artifacts preserved in the museum.
The museum workers always come up with interesting facts to surprise the visitors while helping the people out, guiding them through the region’s history. It will take you over an hour to absorb everything the museum offers.
But if you’re someone that loves the stories and the remnants of days gone by, then the trip to this museum is worth it.
Add to that the fact that there is an ice cream store right next door, and you have a wonderful, informative outing topped off with a dessert and a good walk.
3. Patricia Theatre
The Patricia Theatre is one of the oldest movie theatres and has welcomed guests for over a century, opening its doors to the general audience in 1913.
Despite its age, the theatre has been upgraded to a completely digital setting, with the latest features in cinema viewing present at the theatre. Be warned that the museum only accepts cash for all of its bookings.
The iconic decor with huge, old-school artwork is one of the best things about the iconic theatre. The panel paintings only add to the charm of the theatre, with the popcorn reviewed to be some of the best in all of movie theatre history.
Be sure to check up on the show timings before you go, and dress appropriately since things can get very hot or cold depending on the weather.
4. Desolation Sound Marine Provincial Park
Desolation Sound is one of the most well-known establishments in the city of Powell River. You’ll find some of the park’s most serene views and diverse natural spectacles.
From seemingly endless waterways to snow-capped mountains towering above the waters, this place has it all.
It is lauded as the most beautiful area for a cruise by the local yachters of British Columbia, who hail it as the best place for a boating trip in the entire province.
Spreading out over a vast area of 8,449 hectares, the park is filled with plenty of small but beautiful details to spice up the day and mood of whoever plans to visit the place.
Since the place is highly attractive for those who love to have a row or paddle, there are plenty of docking bays and anchorages in the area.
Some prominent ones are Grace Harbour, Theodosia Inlet, Thors Cove, Wootton Bay, Mink Island, Tenetos Bay, and Prideaux Heaven.
We could honestly spend all day talking about the brilliant features of Desolate Sound Provincial Park, but there’s a lot more to Powell River than just the park itself.
Check out here if you’d like to check out all the details about Desolate Sound.
5. Haywire Bay Regional Park
Another one of the more famous parks in the Powell River area, the Haywire Bay Regional Park, boasts two swimming beaches within its marked ranges.
It is ideal for picnicking, swimming, canoeing, fishing, or boating with friends and family.
Apart from the activities mentioned above, the park has about 48 campsites for hikers and campers to enjoy and has hiking opportunities.
The Lost Lake Trail can be accessed through the park and is of rather serious difficulty compared to the other hiking trails in the region.
6. Inland Lake Provincial Park
Visitors cannot get enough of the Inland Lake Provincial Park as an unmissable sight if you’re in the area.
The best way to explore the park is on a bike, as the route around is pretty long. It would also be wise to recommend bringing along a water bottle for your trip to Inland Lake.
The trail along the park is about 13 kilometers long and well-maintained throughout the year. Spending an afternoon at the lake with friends or family, with a picnic packed for the group, is arguably the best way to enjoy the park.
The hiking trail along the park merges with the famous Sunshine Coast Trail, so be sure to check that out if you’re in for a long hike.
Biking, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, and camping are among the other great things visitors can do at Inland Lake.
It is a pretty lake and demands a dip in the water, so be sure to get your swimsuit should you ever find yourself in the area.
7. Boating and Canoeing/Kayaking
Considering that the waters around Powell River rarely ever freeze up, unlike the scene in other parts of the province, fishing is one of the most enjoyable and regular ways to enjoy yourself in the area.
The access points to the Powell Forest Canoe Route are some of the best places to start for anglers of all ages in the area. Malaspina Strait is one of the places in the area that has shallow waters, so plan accordingly.
Since the conditions for anglers are so favorable across all seasons, people can find fishing charters in the area.
There are many charters in the area, all guided by seasoned men who know the waters of the area through and through and know just when to tell the anglers to send in their reels.
There are as many as 32 lakes in Powell River. Though not all of them are ideal for the best boating experience on the coast of BC, we’ll pick out the best ones from the many water bodies available for a ride.
The Powell Forest and Bowron Lakes Canoe Route are some of the most favored routes by boating enthusiasts. Since the former’s establishment in the 1940s, it has been right up there with some of the best routes for taking a boat ride in the area.
When it comes to lakes, Inland Lake, Confederation Lake, and Haslam Lake are some of the best lakes in the region for taking the time to enjoy a quiet day out on the water.
Houseboating is one of the best ways to enjoy the best of Powell River, especially considering that houseboat charters are available for rent for the Powell River and Powell Lake, which are the most amazing water bodies in the area.
Known as the “jewel of the Sunshine Coast,” you’re bound to have a good time on the water in and around the Powell River area.
As it is with almost every other part of Canada, it is impossible to mention an attractive tourist spot without going over the hiking trails in the region that give tourists access to an unlimited amount of natural spectacles and the chance to find hidden treasures in nature.
The Sunshine Coast Trail is the crown jewel of hiking trails in the Powell River area.
It spreads out at a humongous 180 kilometers and is vast enough to rival the West Coast Trail in terms of views, scenery, and thrilling adventures that one could get to take while hiking.
The Sunshine Coast Trail starts from the Saltery Bay ferry terminal in the south. Its course ends at Sarah Point in the Desolation mentioned above, Sound Marine Provincial Park.
While it can be compared to the West Coast Trail, it is easier than the extremely challenging hike on the coast along Vancouver Island.
One thing that makes the hike more comfortable is the presence of user-maintained huts along the Sunshine Coast Trail on Saltery bay. Check the huts here
While the Sunshine Coast offers a wide variety of huts for hikers to spend the night and rest, those who choose to hike the west coast trail do not have access to such amenities and must spend the night camping.
The hike takes about 7 to 10 days to complete from one extreme point. However, people can complete the smaller hikes in a day or a few hours.
The highest point on the trail is Mount Troutbridge, which stands at a towering 4,260 feet / 1,299 meters) above sea level.
The Sweetwater Trail is among the easier and shorter trails in the region, making it a great place for less experienced hikers to find their footing. It is a loop trail and spans 4.3 miles (7.4 kilometers).
On the other hand, the Lang Creek Trail and Marathon-Appleton Trail are easier than the Sweetwater Trail for more experienced hikers.
The former is very short, spreading out at only 5 kilometers, whereas the latter spreads out at a more lengthy 15 kilometers.
Both are very easy and could be considered for those who plan to hike with young kids and prioritize safety.
9. Cycling/Mountain Biking
The thrill of cycling down an open, well-maintained road is too good to describe. You feel one with the wind and at peace, as you pedal along a smooth track with little obstruction.
Luckily for the riders, Powell River has some of the best cycling tracks in Western Canada.
A wide variety of cycling roads come off the ever-important Highway 101, which is key to connecting multiple important points we’ve already discussed. The cycling roads pass through Paradise Valley, labeled as an agricultural area.
Should you pedal north of Powell River, you’ll find yourself on a 23-kilometer journey to the nearby destination of Lund. You’ll find yourself face to face with a pretty steep hill, but it’s your choice to conquer it or not.
The Wellington Beach Trail also offers some of the best cycling trails in Powell River, which are extremely scenic and extremely rewarding for whoever takes this path.
Much like normal cycling, mountain biking also has a great prospect in the Powell River region.
The Upper Sunshine Coast area is the best place to try out your mountain biking skills in the area, with the marked and well-maintained roads being extremely easy to follow and traverse.
Elephant Bay Loop is one of the best ways to explore Powell River on a bike, as the loop will take you an entire day to explore.
Other epic mountain biking routes in the region that cannot be avoided are Duck Lake Road, Bunster Hills Loop, and Malaspina Trails. Take some time to check out some of these biking routes if you have a taste for the sport and find yourself in the area to do all these amazing things.
The local festivals add to the specialty and the uniqueness of any place on the face of the Earth. From the townsite jazz festival to the Powell river film festival. There is so much to see; let’s look at Powell River’s traditions.
International Choral Kathaumixw
A global gathering of world-class artists, this choral function pools together some of the best harmonic voices that you will ever have the chance to hear in one place. It is held not once but twice a year.
Apart from concerts, there are seminars, workshops, social events, concert tours, vocal competitions that showcase talent, and international conductors with years of experience.
Powell River Sea Fair
The Powell River Sea Fair is the extravaganza of the summer, with the event being held every July for locals and tourists alike. It is held over a particular weekend and showcases a carnival on the Pacific Ocean’s eastern shores.
Multiple competitions held on the beaches include volleyball tournaments, boat races, karaoke for the kids, and a fishing derby.
The Sea Fair is one of the signature attractions of the summer for the small but hearty and national historic district townsite.
As the name suggests, this event, held in concordance with the Powell River Sea Fair, draws people from all parts of the country to participate in sports and craft competitions involving logs.
Among the regular fixtures, you’ll find chainsaw log carving, throwing, tree climbing, and log rolling, to name a few.
British Columbia loves its blackberries, and a festival dedicated to the fruit is arguably the most fitting way to celebrate the union of Canadians and blackberries.
The Blackberry Festival features a highly competitive contest for the best homemade blackberry wine. The festival is held during the peak season of blackberry growth in tribute to blackberries growing everywhere in the historic townsite and nearby areas.
As you might guess, there are many stalls offering dishes made especially out of blackberries, live music, visual arts, pies, and a thrilling fireworks display to go with the block party that the organizers throw!
Texada Sandcastle Weekend Festival
The Shelter Point Park is the annual Sandcastle Weekend Festival site, held in the prime summer season during the latter half of July.
You can watch or participate in the festivities as the people of Powell River get creative with sand and design some of the most creative sandcastles ever.
The Texada Sandcastle Weekend Festival is a must-see with live entertainment and food!
The city of Powell River has a rich history. Let’s go over some of them.
- It was named after Israel Wood Powell, the superintendent of Indian Affairs for the province of British Columbia. The adjacent area’s river and lake were named after Israel Wood Powell, who traveled in the 1880s.
- Before the European people came in and settled in the area, it was inhabited by many native Canadian people of the first nations. More specifically, it was inhabited by the Coast Salish peoples of the Tla’amin Nation. It was a passage for people returning from the famed Vancouver Island.
- After the British Columbia Credit Unions Act was passed, a study group of nearby mill workers applied for the first charter. By 1955, the Powell River Credit Union had been founded, and the mill provided comparatively inexpensive office space.
- The Powell River was the site of the largest paper mill in Western Canada, with the Powell River mill starting production work in 1908. The Brooks Brothers and MJ Scanlon formed a partnership that resulted in the birth of the Powell River Company, the first pulp, and paper mill in Western Canada.
- The city was declared a National Historic District of Canada in 1995, owing to the remarkable preservation of the 20th-century art forms and community that could be found within the confines of the city. Furthermore, the city was declared a “Cultural Capital of Canada” in 2004, demonstrating its rich cultural heritage and impact on Canadian tourism.
Black bears and cougars are the most prominent land animals in Powell River. You’ll find bald eagles, great blue herons, and marbled murrelets among the birds.
Due to the proximity of the city of Powell River to various surrounding water bodies, Orcas, or killer whales, Northern (Stellar) Sea Lions, and Pacific White-Sided Dolphins are some of the most prominent water-borne animals that inhabit the area.
As mentioned above, salmon, lingcod, and cutthroat trout are some of the area’s most notable fish. It would be wise to nudge you toward the huge amount of varied flora found in the Powell River.
Follow the link here to get to know all about the rare and common species of flora that can be found in the city.
Powell River is one of the most beautiful attractions on the western coast of Canada. While not the largest in stature, it surely has much to offer in tourism.
It offers; great outdoor adventures, many lakes, underwater statues, ferry terminals, cultural programs, and many other trails and fantastic places. Being a historic Powell river townsite.
Click here to read more about the thrilling adventures you can have on the Canadian west coast.As an Amazon Associate, Icy Canada earns from qualifying purchases.
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