Spectacular scenery, quality of life and affordability have created one of Vancouver Island’s best-kept secrets for everyone from young families to empty-nesters eyeing active semi-retirement.
“Port Alberni is, by a long a stretch, the most affordable city on Vancouver Island with a hospital,” notes Pat Deakin, the City of Port Alberni’s Economic Development Manager.
Founded as a resource-based community, today the city of 18,000 is evolving, with a diversifying economy, exceptional community facilities and sought-after lifestyle opportunities.
- Diversifying economy. Complementing traditional resource-based industry are value-added specialty products and cutting-edge outdoor adventure entrepreneurs, such as West Coast Edge ATV, Vancouver Island Soaring Centre and Girl on a Board kite-boarding, along with stewardship and conservation organizations. Like the generation before that escaped the frenetic pace of Vancouver and Silicon Valley for the South Island, today Port Alberni’s quiet – but connected – lifestyle calls to innovative entrepreneurs supported by a location and hIgh-speed communications that let them do business with the world. Affordability and natural beauty also make the region a haven for artists, while Aboriginal administration, post-secondary education and aerospace (yes, aerospace) round out the numerous opportunities.
- Embrace your commute! The city’s accessible location is one of its best-kept secrets. KD Air and Pacific Seaplanes serve the community by air with multiple flights daily between Port Alberni and Vancouver, making travel for business or pleasure a breeze. By car, not only is the drive one of the most beautiful on the Island, but it will have you in Parksville in just 35 minutes and to Nanaimo in an hour. And then there’s the daily drive. “In Port Alberni, the commute from anywhere to anywhere is just 12 minutes,” Deakin laughs.
- Shop – and dine – local. With no need to leave the valley to find everything you need, shop the city’s wonderful range of major retail chains and great local boutiques. A similar variety offers tasty prospects for foodies. The valley is home to an amazing three farmers’ markets, plus various farmgate sales, a diverse line-up of restaurants and yes, the chance to raise your glass at the Twin City Brewing Company.
- Enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle. Long known for its fishing, Port Alberni today offers everything the outdoor enthusiast could want. Beyond hiking, biking and numerous watersports, surfers can hit the Long Beach waves in just 70 minutes. Head the other way and be on Mt. Washington’s slopes in about 75 minutes.
- Big city amenities, small town style. From hockey to baseball, Port Alberni has enjoyed a lengthy, celebrated sports history, reflected in its numerous recreation facilities ideal for growing families and active adults. Then there’s the new high school, a modern West Coast General Hospital, a bustling public library and more. Better yet, it’s all available for a very affordable average single-family home price of around $240,000, $100,000 less than the next most affordable Island community!