The 50-odd grizzly bears that call the
"home" ignore visitors, like me, who silently float by their world of sedge grass and rocky beaches. In Canada's only grizzly bear sanctuary, just north of
, BC, pull up a deck chair and watch them play on the beaches until mid-August when they begin following the trail of salmon inland, up into creeks and rivers. Although you can drive to Prince Rupert, the more spectacular route is by
Start in Port Hardy. You can also join
Prince Rupert Adventure Tours
on a six-hour catamaran ride into the
Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary.
Prince Rupert, dubbed the halibut capital of the world, has some hippie-dippie clapboard seafood joints-like the Cow Bay Cafe, Rain Dining Lounge and Opa's Japanese sushi joint-that are divinely fresh and inventive. For a thick, bitter cuppa-at the kind of joint where plants grow out of old ski boots and The New York Times magazine might be a decade old-head to Cowpuccino's Coffee House.
The population of 13,000 people is about half first nations (native Canadian) people. Prince Rupert holds the title of rainiest city in Canada, with about 2500 mm of precipitation annually.
After a false start as an entertainment writer, Debra Cummings ("Deb") spent six months kicking around southeast Asia-trekking up mountains and mastering the multiple meanings of the head-wobble in India-before returning to Calgary, AB, to take up the travel beat. That was 20 years ago. Since then, she's worked as a newspaper features writer and travel editor, covered travel for CBC Radio and spent a year "voluntouring" around the planet with her husband and two children.