Video and story: Heart of Our City, Christy Allen, the stay-at-home backpacker

Christy Allen fostered a business of bringing travellers to her doorstep and she's a young entrepreneur in Prince Rupert, video and story.

Christy Allen fostered a business of bringing travellers to her doorstep

Christy Allen fostered a business of bringing travellers to her doorstep



For backpackers travelling the world a hostel or guesthouse abroad can feel like home.

For Christy Allen, after backpacking the United Kingdom with her grandma and staying at hostels, she decided to turn travelling into a lifestyle while also planting roots.

“I was 21 at the time and I was like, I can do this. This is amazing, so I did,” she said with her pixie curled brown hair and a warm smile.

Allen grew up in Prince Rupert and when she was a teenager, her parents ran the Eagle Bluff Bed and Breakfast. Part-time work was always available for Allen who cleaned guest rooms. After high school, Allen went to Prince George to get her business degree.

She was only 24-years-old when she bought the Pioneer Guesthouse where she has brought the world to her. She’s met travellers from Europe and even from Israel and Korea. Sometimes in the off-season she would find someone to look after the place while she spent time exploring the world on her own.

For a while she kept up a long distance relationship with a New Zealander, and she spent a total of nine months going back and forth to the Christchurch on the South Island. But she didn’t find love abroad — it found her in Prince Rupert.

This August, Allen’s guesthouse will be transformed into a wedding party. She’s tying the knot with Sebastien Paquet, a Quebec resident who came to stay at her guesthouse in 2010 and didn’t quite leave.

“He loved how friendly the town is. He’s never experienced that anywhere else,” she said adding that Prince Rupert is magical when it’s sunny. Rain or shine, they’re getting married outside with a tent setup and around 100 family and friends from across the country.

Allen is another example of a clever entrepreneur in the city who has an eye for opportunity. She had a room at the front of the guesthouse at ground-level that was too noisy for guests. She found other uses for the space.

“We didn’t have a specialty yarn store at the time and I know there’s lots of knitters in town so I thought, ‘I’m going to open a yarn store’ — and I didn’t know how to knit,” she said.

Then she learned to knit and for three years she’s hosted a drop-in knitting social on Thursdays evenings during the darker months.

Not knowing how to do a hobby or sport has never slowed Allen down. In Prince George she joined the rugby team in her last year of university, and then continued to practice with the men for five years when she moved back to the North Coast.

She also joined the women’s hockey team when she was 25 even though she’d never played before. The only experience she had was a couple years of figure skating when she was nine-years-old.

“I was a Bambi on the ice,” she said, but still plays today with what she calls a “tight-knit” team.

Being her own boss gives her also gives her a sense of accomplishment. Growing up she saw how hard her parents worked and it has formed the person she is today. Many of the renovations done at the 50-occupancy guesthouse on Cow Bay Road she completed on her own.

“I love working with my hands,” she said.

In 2008, she went back to school to get pre-apprenticeship training in electrical. “While I didn’t pursue it, just being able to be at home and wire a light and not have to phone someone to do it is awesome,” she said.

Nothing seemed to slow Allen down in her many ventures until 2010. She was building an addition to her guesthouse, a two bedroom apartment so she could live on-site, she met her future fiancé that year — and then she was in a car accident that left her with a broken back.

Allen downplays the incident, but it did halt her rough and tumble rugby practices. She still plays hockey.

The wedding plans this summer haven’t prevented her from diving deeper into another business venture.

She owns one of the buildings on Third Avenue and recently had a tenant leave abruptly, and she thought, “What am I going to do with a building in a town full of empty buildings?”

Allen is back working with her hands and creating a new social enterprise space for crafters, artists and knitters. With only a few weeks to redesign the space, Allen will open the doors to the e’Klek Tik Trading shop for Seafest weekend.

Just Posted

BC Ferries has announced the welcoming back onboard of recreational travellers on June 15 after the provincial travel restrictions were lifted. (Courtesy of BC Ferries)
BC Ferries welcomes back recreational passengers

The ferries corp will relax mask-wearing in outdoor spaces

Nic Pirillo received $1,000 Youth WORK Apprenticeship Award presented to him by Erik Brooke and Catlin Chandler of Broadwater Industries, in front of the boat Pirillo built in his free time using newly acquired skills. (Photo: supplied)
Learning and earning with apprenticeship

Nic Pirillo graduated in 2020 and was awarded the Youth WORK Trades award

According to the BC Centre of Disease Control epidemiology mapping from May 30 to June 5, there was an increase of one case in the Prince Rupert area after a three-week stability of no new cases. (Image: supplied BC CDC)
Prince Rupert second dose vaccination clinic to run from June 14 to July 9

Volunteers needed for P.R. immunization clinic, recipients must register and cases back up to one

Capt. Portugal was getting into the festive spirit out working for the City of Prince Rupert and celebrating Seafest 2021, on June 12. During regular business hours Capt. Portugal is known as David Costa. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Searching out fun in the sun for Seafest 44

Families and friends can participate in weekend COVID-19 friendly activities

Seafest is underway with a sunfest theme from June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert. Alex Hoogendorn vice president of Prince Rupert Special Events is creating sunny times making feature for the decorating contest with his son Caleb Hoogendorn on June 4. (K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Seafest 44 plans a sunfest June 11 to 13 in Prince Rupert

All events in festival are COVID-19 safe, social distancing and health protocols approved by N.H.A.

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

White Rock’s Marine Drive has been converted to one-way traffic to allow more patio space for waterfront restaurants. (Peace Arch News)
Province promotes permanent pub patios in B.C. post-pandemic plan

More than 2,000 temporary expansions from COVID-19 rules

Most Read