The Port McNeill entrance sign

Town originally a logging base camp

A brief history of the former logging base camp of Port McNeill

The town of Port McNeill, population 2,700, was originally a base camp for loggers.

Port McNeill became a settlement in 1936.

The town was named after Captain William Henry McNeill of the Hudson’s Bay Company’s SS Beaver, the first steamship on the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Port McNeill was incorporated on Feb. 18, 1966, the first under the new Canadian Constitution.

Although forestry and fishing is still a good source of revenue for the community, over the last 10 years it has focused on growth in the tourism industry.

The Port McNeill region is the traditional homeland of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation, which has been here for as long as 9,000 years.

Aboriginal bands speaking the Kwakwaka’wakw language constitute a significant minority and form the majority in many smaller communities.

They imbue the region with a rich cultural heritage and compelling recent history best explored at Alert Bay, 40 minutes by ferry.

 

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