Acquiring the name in the early pioneer days when the first herd of dairy cows arrived there and had to swim ashore because no dock had yet been built, Cow Bay is a quirky, colourful district where restored historic buildings house artist collectives, shops, and offices. Walk on boardwalks built over the water on pilings and smell the salty air from the harbour. Wander through the wide array of shops and galleries, browsing everything from local art and pottery to modern clothing boutiques and artisan food markets.
Cow Bay. Image by Shayd Johnson
Once you’re up the hill from Cow Bay, the blend between daily city life and tourism can be sometimes tricky to distinguish. Don’t worry, though, Prince Rupert is only about 6 km (4 miles) from one end to the other, with much of the shopping and restaurants located in less than half of that, so you really can’t go wrong. Wander up 2nd Avenue from Cow Bay and you’ll find all kinds of shops, ranging from grocery stores and purveyors of essentials to tackle shops, a tiny newspaper stand and bookshop, a pet store, and second-hand shops.
Colourful storefronts along 2nd ave. Image by HeyBethTaylor.
Skip up a block to 3rd Ave to our town’s historic shopping district and find yourself spoiled for choices. Little restaurants half-hide themselves among the shops, banks, gift shops, and galleries. Like in Cow Bay, there’s a lot to see here. The odd historic building peeks out from between its more modern neighbours; beautiful old houses gaze down from the top of the hill; a small gallery sits next to a salon, next to a clothing shop, across from City Hall. There’s jewellery, paintings, clothing, gifts, and souvenirs, books, and lots more.
The folks who work hard running local businesses here are proud of the place they call home, they love this landscape, and they are typically excited to share Prince Rupert with visitors. If there’s something in particular you’re trying to find, just ask—you’ll probably find more than you were looking for.
antiques and artisans at the argosy. Image by Mike Ambach
Plan your Prince Rupert itinerary by discovering the unique businesses that operate here.