Coal Harbour, Holberg Inlet

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Coal Harbour is a community located on the north side of Holberg Inlet in Quatsino Sound, on the Pacific coast of northern Vancouver Island. It was named after a small and unsuccessful local coal mine that was founded in 1883.

The townsite and surrounding area was the site of a Royal Canadian Air Force base for seaplane patrols in the North Pacific during World War II. Many of the original buildings still remain, such as the general store and the officers barracks immediately overlooking the harbour.

After the war the buildings were bought by B.C. Packers and whaling operations began. Whales were harpooned by a fleet of up to 5 small "chasers", boats with harpoon guns. Whales were brought up by steam windlass on the main slipway formerly used by seaplanes. They caught mostly sei (2153), sperm (1108), and fin (837) whales. The plant was powered by two World War II U.S. destroyer steam engines. Canada Packers took over the facility in 1967 and it was sold for scrap. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Holberg Inlet and Quatsino Sound.

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