I first came to Powell River in 1970 when I was a young, restless vagabond, and I stayed for about a year. It was a crazy time, a great time, and I never forgot the place. I came back in 1995 after my first marriage fell apart in Calgary, and I’ve been here ever since.
Powell River is located on Canada’s west coast, 80 miles north of Vancouver, and right on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a really creative place, full of writers, musicians, and poets, with old-time American Vietnam War draft dodgers who came here, planted roots, and contributed to Canadian society, plus a lot of loggers and fishermen who add to this magical west coast flavour.
Palm trees grow here, housing prices are reasonable, and deer come into my yard and eat the flowers. There’s 20,000 people, a paper mill that continues to downsize, and a little bit too much rain in the winter, although there’s hardly any snow, and the temperature rarely dips below freezing. (That’s why there’s palm trees!). Cruise ships cruise by, and whales aren’t far away. And in the evening as I sit on my deck, I can hear sea lions barking as I watch the ships and tug boats out on the water.
And if it sounds like I’m rich, think again. I simply paid 85 grand five years ago for my house with an ocean view.
If you’re coming from Vancouver, it takes two ferries to get here, one in West Vancouver, then an hour and a half drive by car, then another ferry, then a 30 minute drive after that. About five hours in total. The highway on the west coast stops north of Powell River, and that’s it, you can’t drive any further up the coast. But going the other way, you can drive all the way to Chile on this one road.
There’s no hustle bustle. You can get all your stuff done round town in about 20 minutes, and the pace is nice. Several big-time athletes have come from here, including several NHL’ers, a Super Bowl Champ, an Olympian, a world-class soccer pro, and a senior hockey team that has been been one of the best in the country for the last ten years and has won two Allan Cups. I’ll mention these people in the upcoming days.
Anyway, I’ve decided to take you on a little tour and I’ve enlisted my good friend Gaston to help. This’ll be done over a few days, so I hope you enjoy, and maybe I’ll see you out here someday.
Gaston sits at the ferry terminal in downtown Powell River. This particular ferry brings folks to and from Vancouver Island.
This is how you would see Powell River from the ferry. Gaston loves being in pictures and I don’t mind. He’s helping me.