To understand the history of Vancouver Island one has to follow the path of its Aboriginal peoples, whose presence has been traced back more than 8,000 years.
Most Vancouver Island communities feature the region's rich Aboriginal heritage through exhibits, artifacts and interpretive displays in their museums. Totems, carvings and artworks by local Aboriginal artists can also be found in shops and galleries.
Fascinating Aboriginal artifacts found near present-day Port Hardy can be seen in the Port Hardy Museum. Port Alberni's artifacts date back some 4,000 years. And Nanaimo's Petroglyph Park features 1,000-year-old rock carvings of varying figures, from mystical creatures to human beings.