Port Hardy is the largest community on the
North Island, the area has been
continually occupied for at least the last 8000 years. The first settlers came
to the Port Hardy area at the turn of the century, Alec Lyon and his wife Sarah
opened a store and post office on the east side of Hardy Bay in 1904, not far
from the existing settlement of Fort Rupert on the shores of nearby Beaver
The total isolation of the area discouraged
further settlement, but in 1912, after a ( a bit shady) land deal by the hardy
bay land company, more settlers began to arrive. Posters promising settlers a
well established town with roads, railways, grain elevators and wharfs. Many
came from the states and some from as far as the U.K., as they arrived, they
found none of these amenities and found only thick forests and rocky land. A
place at the end of the world.
Many packed up and left, but others had
invested everything they had to make the move were forced to remain and by 1914,
12 families had settled, built a school, church, sawmill, and a hotel. By 1916,
a rugged trail was built from Port Hardy to Coal Harbor and the community was on
its way to becoming the central North Island supply centre it is now.
is lots of wildlife in and around the Port Hardy area, there are so many eagles
here that you can see one any time you like. The other birds here are just as
plentiful, birds like northern shrikes and puffins.
Every year killer whales run up and down the coasts of Johnstone Strait and
Blackfish Sound. Take a trip on one of the tour boats from late June to late Oct
and you'll see and hear these majestic mammals along with humpback, grey
and Minke whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions and sea otters.
Watch for black bears along the highway in spring and summer. They feed along
riverbanks during the salmon run in the fall. Grizzly bear viewing excursions
will take you by boat to nearby mainland inlet shores July through September for
some incredible bear viewings..