A summer view of Port Alice's waterfront park.

Port Alice park

Local artist Gordon Henschel explains his love for painting in Port Alice.

The best kept secret on North Island is a town that has been written off so many times and has risen to live again that it should be called “Phoenix”.  The town is one of the prettiest on the whole island and enjoys a community spirit second to none. The town is, of course, Port Alice.

I have painted Alice a number of times over the years, always trying to find a view that is a little different from the thousands of photos that have been taken by photographers from everywhere. Alice is so photogenic that it is really hard not to take beautiful, picture-postcard photos; and why would you not?  Especially true along their famous sea walk, where every turn engenders a great view of plummeting mountainsides along an inlet sprinkled with The Frigon Islands.

There are two other good reasons why I like to go to Port Alice to paint. Firstly, I love the drive past the rumbling Marble River Falls, up and over the pass with its myriad of gem-like lakes and finally downhill passing by a dazzling array of alders lined up like soldiers along the creek that runs alongside the highway. How many thousands of alders are there??? My second reason to paint in Alice is to have an excuse to go to the Victorian Steakhouse. Why is it that I always forget to take a lunch?

Port Alice gets really warm in summer (I swear they grow bananas). Often I have gone to paint there on one of our Port McNeill foggy mornings to find the sun had arrived early. The park at Port Alice includes the boat docks and rambles along beside the ocean for quite a ways. On this hot day I set up to paint at the opposite end of the park under a nice shady old hemlock, watching the park being enjoyed by kids from nine to ninety. I used all my “hot colours” to try to capture the moment, trying to hurry before the sun peeked around the hemlock. Then I would have to escape to the cool restaurant!

Gordon Henschel is a longtime North Island artist who owns a gallery in Nimpkish Heights. www.henschelfinearts.com

Just Posted

Quarterdeck restaurant, pub temporarily closed until summer

“We have decided to close the pub until April 30, 2019,” stated the pub’s announcement.

Port Hardy’s RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen: ‘It’s business as usual’ after cannabis legalization

Local RCMP will still be on the lookout for impaired driving despite cannabis legalization.

Jay Dixon finishes top three for School and District Leadership award

“I believe it’s all of our responsibility for our schools to provide quality education,” said Dixon.

7 Mile Landfill operations tender closes October

Taxes covering the landfill have not increased over the past 15 years and are not expected to soon.

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

Port McNeill mayoral election: Shirley Ackland

Incumbent Ackland wants to complete council’s priorities started in the last four years.

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Port Hardy mayoral election: Dennis Dugas

Dugas has extensive experience working under the district, 40 years, but is now running for mayor.

Port Hardy mayoral election: Hank Bood

Bood talks on his past four years as mayor working on various projects.

Port Hardy municipal election candidate Treena Smith’s profile

Smith has had prior experience working in local government working in economic development.

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

MCFD hold events for Foster Family Month

Ranger said these events are a way of “trying to bring foster families together.”

Most Read