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Like almost any place in British Columbia, Powell River is actually much more than simply "Powell River". From the Old Townsite, to the charmingly named communities of Cranberry and Wildwood, there are many distinct sub-communities of this unique region. Below is information about the main districts:
Cranberry originally grew out of an early 1900s economy built on animal farming and agriculture, and forestry jobs at shinglemills and sawmills, benefiting from the huge tracts of forests growing up from the ocean's edge and easily transported via the network of lakes in the district.
The land in the Cranberry district was subdivided in 1912, with lots going to returning WWI vets for the princely sum of $1. Cranberry is located one mile southeast of Westview and is a popular location for those wishing to set up home-based businesses.
The famous Cranberry Pottery originates
from this area, and Cranberry Lake itself is home to millions
of water lillies, a source of irritation to many in Powell River
as they are choking the lake into a swamp, but of great interest
to anyone interested in natural biology.
Image courtesy of PhotographyTips.com
If you're heading to the ShingleMill Restaurant for dinner, you're visiting Wildwood as the ShingleMill lies at the foot of Wildwood Hill. Originally settled by hardy pioneers who claimed their 40 acre pre-exemptions by waiting in Vancouver for a serendipitous 40 days and nights on a first-come-first-served basis, the almost biblically-chosen few land grantees waded through the woods with their belongings on their backs to stake their flags for their new homesteads.
It was a rough life of rafting and dragging housewares, building and farm equipment onto the land, until the first bridge was built in 1916 and conditions for improving their homes improved. Wildwood has its own unique character, built on a history of rural isolation that, while dispensed with by all the modern conveniences, still lends the area a wonderful charm in direct opposition to today's common consumer-driven subdivisions.
The woods are ever-present, but the floatplanes land at Powell Lake, and tourists journey through Wildwood on their way to Lund, marvelling at the lush greenery and the expansive views from the top of Wildwood Hill.
Image courtesy of PhotographyTips.com
Westview is the most populated area of Powell River, and is the main destination for visitors to the region, with its diverse array of businesses, and many familiar franchises such as restaurants and hardware chains. Marine Avenue, following (naturally) the waterfront along Powell River, offers a great mix of eclectic shopping, with gift stores, a wide variety of interesting restaurants, service businesses, bookstores and of course, the Tourism Powell River!
This is the spot to be at the annual Blackberry Festival for the renowned "Street Party" held every August to coincide with the ripening of the blackberries, and is also where Seafair is held every year. Just on the edge of town is the wonderful Willingdon Beach municipal park and campsite, a popular destination in the summer months.
Westview is also where those visitors continuing on to Vancouver Island on the Circle Pac Tour catch the ferry to Comox, or detour instead to beautiful Texada Island aboard another smaller ferry to Blubber Bay.
Renamed Lang Bay after the first World War after the three Lang brothers - Harry, Frank and Tom - who settled the area and then went on to serve in the Canadian Army, Lang Bay was originally called Wolfson Bay. It offers stunning views across Malaspina Strait, and access to great hiking and fishing. Destinations to note in this area include the Lang Bay Fish Hatchery and Palm Beach Regional Park.