PRINCE RUPERT (British Columbia)
Just 40 mi (66 km) south of the Alaskan border, Prince Rupert is the largest community on British Columbia's north coast. Set on Kaien Island at the mouth of the Skeena River and surrounded by deep green fjords and coastal rain forest, Prince Rupert is rich in the culture of the Tsimshian, people who have been in the area for thousands of years. As the western terminus of Canada's second transcontinental railroad and blessed with a deep natural harbor, Prince Rupert was, at the time of its incorporation in 1910, poised to rival Vancouver as a center for trans-Pacific trade. This didn't happen, partly because the main visionary behind the scheme, Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad president Charles Hays, went down with the Titanic on his way back from a financing trip to England. Prince Rupert turned instead to fishing and forestry. A port of call for both BC and Alaska ferries, but relatively new to cruise ships, this community of 15,000 retains a laid-back, small-town air.