The historic community of Alert Bay
Explore the culturally rich Cormorant Island where the descendants of pioneers reside alongside the vibrant ‘Namgis First Nation of the Kwakwaka’wakw. Visit the U’mista Cultural Centre and stroll the waterfront boardwalks as you immerse yourself in the culture of this charming coastal town.
1Alert Bay Ecological ParkAlder Rd, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
Located at the south end of Cormorant Island, the Alert Bay Ecological Park is the best location for bird watching on the Island. The diverse terrain spans dense forest and open marsh areas with marked trails and boardwalks allowing for easy exploration. With two distinct areas, the Big Tree Interpretive trail and the marshland “Gator Gardens” there is ample opportunity to explore in search of the many species who frequent the area including Northern Flickers and Bald Eagles.
2Culture Shock Gallery10A Front St, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
Culture Shock is a 100% Aboriginal owned cultural centre celebrating the traditions of the ‘Namgis people. The centre features a number of First Nations murals, a shop, and cafe, and they also invite visitors to join on Cultural Experiences, like cedar weaving classes and storytelling.
3Bayside Grill81 Fir St, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
Laidback restaurant at the Bayside Inn Hotel serving Canadian and Indian cuisine. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
4Shop Rite Deli99 Fir St, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
Local grocery with grab and go food and snack items like their famous pepperoni cheese sticks!
5Duchess Bannock & Desserts257 Fir St, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
This beloved takeout spot serves savoury comfort foods, deserts and of course bannock!
6Gordies4 Maple Rd, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
Indigenous-owned Restaurant and Lounge serving a variety of cuisines, using fresh and local seafood. Swing by for lunch or dinner, or for their daily happy hour!
7The Orca Inn Hotel Pub and Restaurant291 Fir St, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
The Orca Inn pub and restaurant is located at the Orca Inn, and is open on weekends. You can often find live music and special events here, as well as fresh seafood forward dishes and cold beer!
8Accommodation in Alert Bay
You can find a variety of comfortable accommodations in Alert Bay, with Inns and hotels, bed and breakfasts, private lodges, campsites and more.
9Alert Bay Visitor CentreBag Service 2800, 118 Fir St, Alert Bay, BC V0N 1A0
Cross the strait to the community of Sointula
Sail the short distance across the Broughton Strait to the Finnish Pioneer settlement of Sointula. Malcolm Island is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise, with stunning wilderness and a welcoming culture.
10Bere Point Regional Park & Beautiful Bay TrailMalcolm Island, Mount Waddington A, BC
A visit to Bere Point Regional park offers exceptional views of Queen Charlotte Strait with its Orca rubbing beaches and the snow-capped mountains beyond. This popular regional campsite offers access to the Beautiful Bay Trailhead from its day use parking area, which spans the shoreline offering 5 km of rugged shoreline hiking. The area is host to over 120 species including shorebirds, waterfowl and a number of passerines.
11Mateoja Heritage Trail
Passing through a 1900’s pioneer homestead and Melvin’s Bog, the Mateoja Heritage trail winds its way to the shores of popular local swimming spot, Big Lake. The marshland surrounding the lake is an excellent location for bird watching, and benches around the lake allow visitors to rest while you engage in surveying the surrounding area. The viewing platform at Little Lake makes for a great lunch spot where you can observe waterfowl and songbirds.
12Pulteney Point LighthouseMalcolm Island, Pulteney Point Rd, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0
The impressive barren sandspit that the lighthouse stands on marks the separation of Queen Charlotte and Broughton Straits. The tidal forces in the area make it a productive habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl. Explore the history of the lighthouse while you scan the shoreline for some of the over 100 species that have been spotted in the area.
13Kaleva RoadMount Waddington A, BC
The top birding hotspot for the entire region, a stroll along the shoreline of Sointula on Kaleva road can turn up a surprising mix of species. This road spans kilometres of shoreline, so take your time and pause frequently to boost your chances of an exciting discovery. Species that have been seen here include Harlequin Duck, Cedar Waxwing, Marbled Murrelet and Townsend’s Warbler.
A top spot for shorebirds on Malcolm Island, explore the tidal flats that can be teeming with waders, especially during the spring and fall migration.
Mitchell Bay, located at the southern end of Malcolm Island, is a scenic location that provides an excellent vantage point for observing marine life. The dynamic currents in the area result in an upwelling of nutrients, attracting marine mammals like Sea Otters and Humpback Whales, alongside a variety of seabirds. This picturesque spot offers a glimpse into one of the region’s most productive marine ecosystems and is well worth the 30 minute drive from Sointula.
16Coho Joe Cafe145 1 St, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0
Come here for fresh baked scones and muffins, made daily from scratch. Coho Joe Cafe also serves homemade soups and salads, and a variety of lunch options. Don’t forget a cup of fresh joe!
17Burger Barn710 1 St, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0
Relaxed little eatery on the waterfront serving tasty burgers and fish and chips. Their burger menu has something for everyone, with veggie, beef, chicken, and fish burgers. Open seasonally during the summer months.
18Malcolm Island Food Company130 1 St, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0
This family run market sells fresh and frozen meals, fine grocery items and gourmet baked goods.
19Upper Crust Bakery185 1 St, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0
This cozy bakery nestled on the beach serves Finnish-inspired baked goods and coffee. Located near the ferry terminal it’s a great place to stop before your ferry ride, or upon your arrival for a pick-me-up.
20Bere Point CampgroundBook Now
Rugged 29-site campground with ocean and mountain views. This is the perfect place for campers who want an all-natural experience. Enjoy walking the beautiful Bay forest trail to the viewing platform at Bere Point.
24Island Utopia Cabins1180 1 St, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0
Rustic waterfront cabins that will allow you to escape the world! Welcoming guests from May to October.
27Sointula Resource Centre165 1 St, Sointula, BC V0N 3E0
Accommodation in Alert Bay
Mateoja Heritage Trail
Bere Point CampgroundArray
What's Happening in Sointula & Alert Bay
From cultural experiences to artisan markets, head to the community calendar to find out what is happening in Alert Bay during your visit.
For bird related events on Malcolm Island, including the Annual Christmas Bird Count, visit their website to learn more.
Taking place in late April, this community bird count in memory of local researcher Doug Innes has been taking place for over 20 years.