There are certain characteristics that define the people of Port Alberni and what it means to be 'a local'. These can be influenced by history, geography, demographics, common experiences and attitudes. Local culture shifts and evolves over time, and can change slowly or quickly. The good news is that it can be learned.

When you move here, you'll understand.

6 Hallmarks of Local Culture

Prominent characteristics of the Port Alberni mindset that make us who we are.



We are heavily connected to the outdoors. It can't be helped: The temperate rainforest ecosystem, the Pacific Ocean, the rivers and lakes, the mountains and the incredible diversity of plant and animal life; each of these elements define the community. There is a prolific amount of far-reaching trails, backcountry roads and waterways that invite us to constantly explore.


Things are close by. Commutes are short, parking is free, major amenities like the hospital, airport and harbour are close by. Over a dozen communities can be reached within a 3 hours' drive. We can buy what we need locally and eat local too. Any residence is within a 10 minute drive from a trailhead or waterfront. 'Immediacy' is both physical and social: in a smaller community people's paths cross throughout the day, family can see each other more often and there's chances to stop and chat. News travels fast!


There is a lot here, more than meets the eye. Being nestled in a valley on the edge of wilderness with oceanfront at our door means that we are in tune with nature as our provider. The temperate climate is conducive to growth and activity during every season. Farms and gardens do well, the fishing is world-class, and wild food can be gathered year round. The community is large enough to support itself with numerous recreational, sport, cultural, artistic and social activities to choose from, and it's cultural, close enough to its neighbours to not feel isolated. We are spoiled by abundance and convenience in this special place.



Port Alberni has gotten by on its own, whether leading the charge as a national forestry powerhouse or while learning to find new footings during times of transition and change to its key industries. Navigating through challenges has made our community adaptable, strong and determined. We have relied on each other to get things done, we look out for each other and make no apologies for who we are.

Duality & Amalgamation

Port Alberni used to be 2 distinct 'twin' cities. Alberni and Port Alberni were neighbours, rivals and eventually, friends who amalgamated in 1967. Duality is part of our history, but so is coming together to seek a balance and create something new. This is why there are 2 waterfronts, 2 downtowns, a North Port and a South Port...living here gives you two times the value!

Heart & Hands

We are builders with a generous nature. Port Alberni is home to people who work with their hands and there is a proliferation of tradespeople, manufacturers, craftspeople, artists and farmers working in their industries. It's a natural extension of the city’s roots as a resource-based mill town. If you need something made, chances are someone local can do it. Here, the spirit of giving is alive and well, as attested by the service organizations, businesses and individual residents who regularly invest their time and resources into the community. Generosity is a way of life, through volunteering, rallying for charitable causes, fundraising and welcoming new residents. People are down-to-earth, unpretentious and friendly.


Contact Us


Port Alberni, British Columbia, Canada




Choose Port Alberni.ca

An initiative of
City of Port Alberni 

Website developed & administered by
Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot

Principle photography & videography by
Chaisson Creative