Powell River: green gem of the Sunshine Coast [PHOTOS]

A renaissance town worth a weekend trip— or maybe a move.

Green travel, Patricia Theatre, Powell River.
Photo courtesy of Powell River Tourism

A perfect weekend out of the city. After waking up at, say, the Rodmay Heritage Hotel, you head to River City Coffee (slogan: "Local to the Last Drop") for a cup of their West Coast blend and much-loved carrot-cake.

Then you grab lunch at the Open Air Farmer's Market (2014 winner for best Farmer's Market in BC) and head for a picnic at Valentine Mountain— or for a paddle of Desolation Sound in a rental from Powell River Sea Kayak.

Dinner? Try the Coastal Cookery for creole broth mussels, ling cod or the "Duck'en club" with duck-fat fries — or the Laughing Oyster for gunpowder prawns and halibut mueniereCap it off with an evening flick at The Patricia, the oldest continously-operating theatre in Canada, originally built in 1928 to show silent films. 

Sounds amazing. But where are you?

Yep. Powell River. And this is how the “very friendly” folk there spend their days, according to Powell River Visitor Centre manager Tracy Ellis.

The Patricia Theatre by David Stanley via Flickr

A nice place to visit— or live

“You would find one day is not nearly enough to enjoy all that Powell River has to offer,” says Ellis. 

While it was founded on a timber and pulp-mill economy in the early 1900s, Powell River has greened with age. The town is a booming arts and entertainment hub thanks to the efforts of the local Arts Council, the Malaspina Art Society and other groups. It's home to the Powell River Film Festival, the venerable Sunshine Music Festival (now in its 34th year), and a new Blackberry Fest in August.  

The town also created a sustainability charter in 2010 to encourage an eco-friendly development ethos.

“We will design social and economic systems to recognize and respect indicators of ecological stress,” the charter reads. “While the sustainability of our local community is important, we will not forget that our actions and choices have impacts elsewhere, and act accordingly.”

Then there's the new Resident Attraction Campaign, which highlights the bonuses of visiting and living in the area—outdoor recreation, fishing, arts, and not least, cheap real estate. As the site notes, the average single-family home in Powell River costs $260,000, and "it is very hard to find one without at least a partial view of the ocean."

Photo of Paper Mill courtesy of Powell River Toursim

What to do & where to go

Here are some other outdoor Powell River attractions:

Seawalk 

Sound like a familiar local destination? This 20-minute walk gives views of the Strait of Georgia and three islands neighbouring Powell River: Texada, Harwood and Savary. You can go beyond the sea walk to an open beach.

Willingdon Beach Trail 

The short 1.2 km trail is just north of Powell River, and follows an old 1910 rail bed that was used to carry logs to dumping wharf of the Powell River Company Mill, according to Willingdon Beach’s website.

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