Prince Rupert is a port city in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It is the land, air, and water transportation hub of British Columbia's North Coast, and has a population of 12,508 people (Statistics Canada, 2011). Prince Rupert is situated on Kaien Island (approximately 770 km (480 mi) north of Vancouver), just north of the mouth of Skeena River, and linked by a short bridge to the mainland. The city is located along the island's northwestern shore, fronting on Prince Rupert Harbour. At the western terminus of Trans-Canada Highway 16 (the Yellowhead Highway), Prince Rupert is approximately 12 km west of Port Edward, 144 km west of Terrace, and 717 km west of Prince George.
Prince Rupert's sheltered harbour is the deepest ice-free natural harbour in North America, and the 3rd deepest natural harbour in the World. Situated at 54° North, the harbour is the northwestern most port in North America linked to the continent's railway network. Located on the Great Circle Route between eastern Asia and western North America, the port is the first inbound and last outbound port of call for cargo ships. Passenger ferries operating from Prince Rupert include BC Ferries' service to the Queen Charlotte Islands and to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, and Alaska Marine Highway ferries to Ketchikan, Juneau and Sitka and many other ports along Alaska's Inside Passage. The Prince Rupert Ferry Terminal is co-located with the Prince Rupert railway station, from which Via Rail offers a thrice-weekly Jasper – Prince Rupert train, connecting to Prince George and Jasper, and through a connection with The Canadian, to the rest of the continental passenger rail network. The Prince Rupert Port Authority is responsible for the port's operation. Much of the harbour is formed by the shelter provided by Digby Island, which lies windward of the city and contains the Prince Rupert Airport. The city is located on Kaien Island and the harbour also includes Tuck Inlet, Morse Basin, Wainwright Basin, and Porpoise Harbour, as well as part of the waters of Chatham Sound which takes in Ridley Island.
Prince Rupert is a central point on the Inside Passage, a route of relatively sheltered waters running along the Pacific coast from Vancouver, British Columbia to Skagway, Alaska. It is visited by many cruise ships during the summer en route between Alaska to the north and Vancouver and the Lower 48 to the south. Prince Rupert is also the starting point for many wildlife viewing trips including whales, eagles and grizzly bears. The Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear sanctuary features one of the densest remaining populations in North America; tours can be arranged by water or air (using float planes) departing from Prince Rupert.
Prince Rupert Airport (YPR/CYPR) is located on Digby Island. The airport consists of one runway, one passenger terminal, and two aircraft stands. Access to the airport is typically achieved by a bus connection that departs from one location in downtown Prince Rupert (Highliner Hotel) and travels to Digby Island by ferry. The airport is served by Air Canada and Hawkair from Vancouver International Airport (YVR). Prince Rupert is also served by the Prince Rupert/Seal Cove Water Aerodrome, a seaplane facility with regularly scheduled, as well as chartered, flights to nearby villages and remote locations.
CN Rail has a mainline that runs to Prince Rupert from Valemount, British Columbia. At Valemount, the Prince Rupert mainline joins the CN mainline from Vancouver. Freight traffic on the Prince Rupert mainline consists primarily of grain, coal, wood products, chemicals, and as of 2007, containers. As the renovations at the Port of Prince Rupert continue, traffic on CN will steadily rise in future years. In addition, a three times weekly Jasper – Prince Rupert train operated by Via Rail connects Prince Rupert with Prince George and Jasper. Running during daylight hours to allow passengers to be able to see the scenery along the entire route, the service takes two days and requires an overnight hotel stay in Prince George. The route ends in Jasper and connects passengers with Via's The Canadian, which runs between Toronto and Vancouver.
The Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA) is a federally appointed agency which administers and operates various port properties on the harbour. Previously run by the National Harbours Board and subsequently the Prince Rupert Port Corporation, the PRPA is now a locally run organization.
PRPA port facilities include:
- Atlin Terminal
- Northlands Terminal
- Lightening Dock
- Ocean Dock
- Westview Dock
- Fairview Terminal
- Prince Rupert Grain
- Ridley Terminals
- Sulphur Corporation