I’ve always thought, and I’m pretty sure countless others feel, that Prince Rupert is the best-kept secret in B.C. and perhaps in all of Canada.
I have to admit, when I first lined up my interview with the Prince Rupert Northern View back in February 2014, I went straight to Google Maps to figure out where this ‘Prince Rupert’ was.
I was living in Toronto at the time with my wonderful partner Amanda, and was in the midst of an internship stint with Sportsnet’s digital team.
I knew Toronto. I’m not from there, but I had visited enough times to know what I was getting myself into.
I had never been to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.
I did some quick research. OK, this place is on the coast (sweet), the temperature rarely dips below -5 C (sweet), it doesn’t snow (sweet-er… scratch that last one), and the opportunities to see wildlife were plentiful (awesome).
Before moving here, seeing a deer off a long stretch of back-country highway was something you wrote home about. I still write home about seeing deer, only now they’re munching on trees outside my window, having staring contests with my cat.
There looked to be a couple downsides too. It was rather isolated, some amenities may not be available and if you were a fast food aficionado, which I’ll guiltily admit to being, you were out of luck.
This was what I could gleam from my little laptop from my little apartment in Toronto.
Of course, the best part about Prince Rupert can’t be read on any laptop.
You need to touch down at Prince Rupert Airport at nighttime, take a Jurassic Park ride through the brush of Digby Island, board a ferry, frantically ask those around you if where you put your luggage was the right place, try to peer into pitch darkness to see if you can become cat-like and find out where the heck this bus on a boat is taking you, and finally arrive into town.
I’m sure by now you know where I’m going with this.
It’s the people that are the best part of Prince Rupert.
I doubt he’ll even remember this, but the very first person I spoke to the evening of March 17, 2014 in my first hour in Prince Rupert was the Rupert Rampage’s famed trainer and all-around amazing guy Jules Robinson.
I asked Jules where the Crest Hotel was. He pointed down the road to the giant building with CREST written on it. I’ve never been good at directions, or using basic vision apparently. After he told me, he asked me if I played hockey.
I said yes, I used to, and he asked me to look into joining the Rupert Rampage. I told him I’d be at the rink every game, but not on the ice. I was the new sports reporter in town.
I then moved into general news, community, business and everything else under the sun that gave me the privilege of meeting almost each and every one of you reading this.
You are all the reason why Prince Rupert is undoubtedly the best city on the West Coast.
You help one another out without a moment’s hesitation, you make ‘elite’ Lower Mainland teams sweat when they face you on the ice, field, or court, you play beautiful music in concert bands, you dazzle with dance moves and you throw kick-butt festivals.
Through working and living here, I’ve met amazing people that have become friends and I was honoured to have told some of your stories.
Hopefully I did those stories justice.
I can’t fit everything I want to say in this space (a reporter’s curse), so I’ll just say this. So long, Prince Rupert and thank you for letting me in on this amazing secret.
But you might need to worry. I’ll be spilling the beans to everyone I know back home.