Island Profile: Campbell River

The countless destinations scattered across Vancouver Island are each known for something special and unique. Though nestled along its namesake river, the rushing body of water is only one of many things Campbell River has become famous for.

Campbell River

Photo: Macpablo_Campbell_River on Flickr

Campbell River trip (24)
Photo: Logantech on Flickr

Resting on Earth’s 50th parallel, this city of 32,000 is a short 90-minute drive from Nanaimo and a three-hour trip from Victoria. Serviced mainly by the Island Highway, route 19, access to Campbell River can also be gained by air or by sea.

Campbell River Map
Map: Beaver Lodge Bed & Breakfast

The Kwakwaka’wakw people of the Wakashan First Nations migrated from Fort Rupert, rooting down in the area in the 1700s. It’s believed that this group dominated much of the land and neighbouring bands, including the Coastal Salish. When Captain George Vancouver sailed in by way of what’s now known as Discovery Passage in 1792, the town of Campbell River very slowly began more than 200 years of settlement to become the city it is today.

Historical Campbell River
Photo: Discover Campbell River

Campbell River Lightup
Campbell River from Smelt Bay, Cortes Island – Photo: proudlydonut on Flickr

With deep roots in hard work and industry, Campbell River has long been known as a fishing town. Curiosity began as early as 1880 when sport fishermen discovered the abundance of salmon. It wasn’t long before the industry sector caught on as well.

Since then, lodges, fishing groups and even conservation groups have sprung up, each with an interest in what Campbell River is famous for. The area has even played host to some Hollywood infusion, welcoming the likes of Bob Hope and Bing Crosby over the years, all vying to angle the “perfect catch.”

Fishing Boat
Photo: Macpablo_Campbell_River on Flickr

Campbell river trip (50)
Photo: Logantech on Flickr

Anyone who has visited Campbell River will attest to the small town nature and charm that’s still evident on city streets and in the magnificent views. Though much has changed over the last handful of centuries, the moonlight still hits Discovery Passage the same way it always has.

In Campbell River
Photo: russilwvong on Flickr

The "Peoples" ART
Photo: Fizzcity Gallery on Flickr

Local First Nations bands still have a strong and proud presence in this community of hard-working citizens. Many of Campbell River’s families work in industry sectors including fishing and the local pulp mill. Tourism is also a big draw, and it’s not unusual to see luxurious cruise ships criss-crossing off the shore en route to Alaska.

discovery passage at night
Discovery Passage – Photo: Frans & All on Flickr

Growing up, I always knew we were nearing Campbell River on our trips when I spotted the incredible – and graffiti-laden – boulder near Oyster Bay.

Photo: Alanna@VanIsle on Flickr

Sunny Evening in Campbell River
Photo: clompers on Flickr

With seemingly endless natural beauty, it should come as no surprise that a number of blockbuster movies were filmed in and around Campbell River. Some of these films include The 13th Warrior, Final Destination 2 (highway scenes outside Campbell River), Seven Years In Tibet, The Scarlet Letter and Trapped.

Grass and mountains
Photo: Tony Cyphert on Flickr

tonight view
Photo: Macpablo_Campbell_River on Flickr

With its close proximity to ferry service and a local airport, there’s no excuse to skip past Campbell River. Though a little out of the way of some of Vancouver Island’s bigger cities, it’s well worth the trip – and very close to Mt. Washington. For more information on the region, or to plan your trip, visit Campbell River Tourism‘s website.

Does an all expenses-paid trip to Tofino for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic surfing competition interest you? One lucky winner will win a trip for two, including a night’s stay in the Garden Cottage at Chesterman Beach B&B, dinner for two at Shelter restaurant, surf lessons and more. Even your ferry fare is paid for! To enter, head on over to Hurry – contest ends October 23!

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6 Comments on “Island Profile: Campbell River

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention A Vancouver Island Girl’s Blog – by Vancouver Island Blogger Keira-Anne Mellis » Blog Archive » Island Profile: Campbell River --

  2. I have a few close friends who grew up in Campbell River… never got a chance to check it out much! Didn’t realize there was so much there! Great post.

    Also, thanks for linking up the Cold Water Classic Contest. That’s sick! I definitely entered 😀

  3. Hey Keira-Anne,

    just wanted to say thanks for linking to my Tofino contest–there were so many great entries and I know at least one came via your site! The winner’s posted now if anyone’s wondering…


  4. Just want to say that the caption of the “graffiti-ladden boulder”, known as big rock to locals, is nowhere near Oyster Bay as it is in the middle of the city limits of Campbell River.
    Beautiful pictures tho.

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