A summer view of Port Alice's waterfront park.

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

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Alert Bay council has decided to cancel Canada Day celebrations. (Alertbay.ca photo)
Alert Bay council cancels Canada Day celebrations

The decision was made in wake of the mass graves being found at former residential schools

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

In the first election with public money replacing corporate or union donations, B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau and B.C. NDP leader John Horgan take part in election debate at the University of B.C., Oct. 13, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. MLAs ponder 2022 ‘sunset’ of subsidy for political parties

NDP, B.C. Fed call for increase, B.C. Liberals have no comment

Investigators use a bucket to help recover human remains at a home burned in the Camp fire, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, in Magalia, Calif. Many of the missing in the deadly Northern California wildfire are elderly residents in Magalia, a forested town of about 11,000 north of the destroyed town of Paradise. (AP Photo/John Locher)
‘Forever War’ with fire has California battling forests instead

Five of the state’s largest-ever blazes seared California last year, as authorities tackle prevention

Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto and IOC President Thomas Bach, on a screen, speak during a five=party online meeting at Harumi Island Triton Square Tower Y in Tokyo Monday, June 21, 2021. The Tokyo Olympics will allow some local fans to attend when the games open in just over a month, Tokyo organizing committee officials and the IOC said on Monday. (Rodrigo Reyes Marin/Pool Photo via AP)
Tokyo Olympics to allow Japanese fans only, with strict limits

Organizers set a limit of 50% capacity — up to a maximum of 10,000 fans

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Most Read