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Stewart-Cassier Highway

Historic Cow Bay

(Lonnie Wishart photo)

Prince Rupert

Culture & History

Several totem poles stand mighty and tall in Prince Rupert's downtown. These impressive pieces of art signify the strong First Nations culture in the area.

The Tsimshian First Nations have lived in Prince Rupert and surrounding area for thousands of years. Their culture has always focused on the land and its animals.

Trading History

Traders, attracted first by sea otter pelts then trade, arrived in the early 19th century. Europeans quickly saw the potential for wealth in salmon and soon, approximately two hundred canneries were built and running along the Northwest coast. A diverse mix of foreigners – Europeans and Asians – as well as local First Nations laboured in the canneries during the summers. They travelled far distances with their entire families and almost no possessions for employment.

In the early 1900s, Prince Rupert was chosen as the last stop on the Grand Trunk Railway, a railway that followed the rivers between Winnipeg and Prince Rupert and eventually spanned close to 5,000km/3,100mi.

This is what made Prince Rupert the centre it is today; the railroad brought life and jobs to the region.

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