No Roads Lead to Digby Island


If you are planning on traveling to northwestern British Columbia, Canada, taking a flight from Vancouver (YVR) to Prince Rupert (YPR) is the quickest way to get there.

Here is a step-by-step guide as to what you can expect when flying to Prince Rupert.

The flight takes about two hours – it beats the 19 hour drive and saves you a few days(!) in travel if you have limited time to spend in this beautiful province.

If you prefer the drive, you can read and see photos of what most of the road trip would look like in my blogpost “Northern BC – Part I and II” (the drive is so long it needed two parts…!)

You can choose between flying with Air Canada or HawkAir.  If flying with Air Canada the 50 seat DH3 aircraft is used.  It’s an experience!



Step 1:  You survived the flight (congratulations!).

Step 2:  You realize you did not actually land in Prince Rupert, but on an island.  Specifically Digby Island, located west of Prince Rupert.  The adventure begins…


Step 3:  You realize there are no friends, family or tourist guides greeting you at the airport.


Step 4:  You realize there’s not much of anything at the airport.


Step 5:  You get somewhat confused as to what the purpose of the busses are, but realize no one else is panicking so you decide to stay “cool” and pretend you know what is going on.

Step 6:  You finally ask someone what is going on and they announce that the busses are there to transport all passengers to – ta-dah – the ferry.


Step 7:  You notice passengers inside the terminal gather around an area where the luggage from the plane is suddenly being shuffled onto a type of “luggage stage”.

You do what everyone else is doing (pretending you know what is going on):  identify your bags and walk outside the terminal.

Step 8:  You give your bags to a person who loads all the luggage onto a white van (photo above).


Step 9:  You board the bus.



Step 10:  The bus starts its journey on a narrow road (the only road on Digby Island) where the only signs of activity are the airport vehicles tire tracks and tracks from wildlife…


Step 11:  You see the “ferry terminal” and realize there is probably not going to be a Starbucks there….


Step 12:  You get somewhat concerned that the “device” in front of “the ferry” is the only thing stopping the bus from rolling into the ocean.  But then you realize you forgot the bus has breaks.  Silly you.


Step 13:  You start enjoying the views (and put your scarf on because it’s cold!)



Step 14:  You take time to remember some of the fun facts from reading this blog:

Digby Island is actually not only the hub for the Prince Rupert Airport.  A small community called Dodge Cove with fewer than 100 people is also located here.  There are no paved roads, shopping centres or cars in this community.


Prior to European colonization, Digby Island was occupied by the Tsimshian for thousands of years.


BC Ferries offers ferry services to several of the remote communities outside Prince Rupert.  You can also get to Alaska if that tickles your fancy.


Step 15:  You (finally) see your final destination!

The tall building in the centre of the photo above is the Highliner Plaza Hotel.  This is where the busses and ‘luggage van’ will take its passengers – and luggage.  And this is where family & friends & tourist guides will greet you.



Step 16:  Arrival!

DSC_0448Step 17:  You realize you are actually going to make it.  Prince Rupert awaits!

Enjoy your stay!

ps:  Remember to pick up your luggage from the white van…


The photos in this post were taken in December 2012.  The journey is guaranteed to be much more beautiful if you travel on a day with sunshine.  However, note that if arriving in the evening, all you will see is darkness… 


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