Port Alberni’s Harbour Quay is the former site of a Tseshaht winter village and their Wolf Ritual Beach. Art and stories about these historically significant sites will be showcased in the City’s iconic harbourfront clock tower, as part of an Indigenous tourism initiative.
The area presently known as Port Alberni is the traditional territory of the ćišaaʔatḥ (Tseshaht) and hupačasatḥ (Hupacasath) peoples. As part of its economic diversification plans, the City of Port Alberni has committed to highlighting Indigenous cultural and history, and fostering Indigenous tourism opportunities on the waterfront at Harbour Quay.
The harbour’s iconic clock tower, which sits at the water’s edge among local shops and restaurants, will be repurposed into the focal point of this redeveloped area: the Story Tower. The 40-year old tower will be transformed with Indigenous art and storytelling.
The project includes refurbishing the existing clock, including refacing it with Tseshaht art depicting the wolf, and reinforcing the structure’s three platforms with steel beams.
Beyond the Tower, the Tseshaht are developing new tourism and business ventures, such as an interpretive centre where traditional arts and craft items will be offered for sale, and cultural canoe tours.
The Story Tower will add to other Indigenous tourism sites in the area, such as the Hupacasath Welcome Figures and the Nuu-chah-nulth Whaling sculpture that greet visitors to Victoria Quay on the north side of Port Alberni.