By Jim Barr
For Anita Sutherland, wandering the forested trail system at the base of the Beaufort Range or watching the return of salmon into the Stamp River are healing moments, after her recent battle with cancer.
It was while seeking to restore her health that she and her husband made the decision to relocate to Port Alberni permanently. With her cancer in remission they made the plunge, buying local retail business Walk the Coast.
Like Billy Leach, whose Totally Board Surf Shop has been an Alberni staple for 15 years, being part of this community inside and out has just deepened her connections to the Alberni Valley.
Leach and Sutherland shared their #ExplorePortAlberni tips in a recent series about Port Alberni locals who “Inspire a Love for the Alberni Valley” for the Alberni Valley Tourism Association.
Watch the video below for their insights, read on for a sample Alberni Valley itinerary designed just for the season – and details on how you can win a trip!
Alberni Valley 3-day shop & stroll itinerary
This three-day itinerary is a combined snapshot of recommendations from both Leach and Sutherland. For their full itineraries and more, head to the Alberni Valley Tourism website.
Day One: Embracing nature and history
- Morning: Witness the return of sockeye salmon at viewing platforms at Stamp River Provincial Park.
- Afternoon: Explore McLean Mill National Historic Site for a glimpse of the early industrial history of Port Alberni.
- Evening: Treat yourself to artisan chocolates and gourmet popcorn at local sweet haven Coombs Country Candy.
Day Two: Culinary delights and unique finds
- Late morning: Grab an early lunch at Bare Bones, featuring their crispy tempura-style batter fish and chips, to fuel your day.
- Afternoon: Explore independent local shops like McLellan & Co. and The Blue Fish Gallery for one-of-a-kind west coast items.
- Evening: Finish your day with award-winning locally crafted beer at one of Alberni’s local breweries
Day Three: Outdoor adventures and cultural feasts
- Morning: Hike to Gracie’s Lookout for panoramic views of the Alberni Valley as the sun rises.
- Afternoon: For the mountain bikers in the crowd, check out the intermediate-level flow trail Fir Baby, with natural features to get your body moving.
- Afternoon (later or alternate): Take a leisurely stroll on Log Train Trail, winding through second-growth forests filled with Douglas fir and hemlock trees.
- Evening: Dinner at Little Bavaria, featuring authentic German cuisine like schnitzel and Hungarian goulash.
Immerse yourself in the Alberni Valley’s seasonal allure as you follow this curated three-day itinerary.
For more Port Alberni travel inspiration, check out Sutherland’s and Leach’s local tips on the Alberni Valley Tourism website.