Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada
Like many towns on the Pacific coast of North America, Prince Rupert was founded on the site of First Nations communities that had thrived for millennia. The town was founded in 1910 and named for Prince Rupert of the Rhine, the 17th century Duke of Cumberland and governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. The vision of the current city was that of Charles Hays, president of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, who recognized its deep, ice-free harbor as the natural northwestern terminus of the North American railway network. He traveled to Europe to solicit development funds for his dream, but perished during his return on the ill-fated liner Titanic. Prince Rupert is today the closest year-round rail terminal to the vast markets of Asia. It is also an important center for tourism, being a hub for ferry, cruise and rail traffic between Canada, Alaska and the lower forty-eight U.S. states. The town itself offers visitors sites of interest such as the attractive sunken gardens located behind its City Hall. The Museum of Northern British Columbia and its Totem Carving Shed illustrate the First Nations and later historic development of the town. The North Pacific Cannery Museum reflects the importance of fishing as a local industry, and the Kwinitsa Station Railway Museum preserves one of the few remaining stations of the Grand Trunk system. Many visitors are drawn by the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, which features one of the densest populations of these magnificent creatures anywhere. Hikes at the Butze Rapids Park and Trail and along the elevated catwalks and suspension bridges at the Metlakatla Wilderness Trail provide more direct access to the area’s lush coastal rain forest.