The Alberni Inlet is often featured in photos of the Alberni Valley, as the working harbour is a curiosity with tourists and residents alike. A photo contest put on by the Maritime Discovery Centre has captured some of that marine mystique, and the winning photos are on display in the waterfront heritage centre.
The idea for the photo contest came from the previous exhibit, which was a series of black and white photos of the Alberni Harbour from the 1980s. Chris Johnson, facilities coordinator, thought it would be interesting to see people’s perspectives of the harbour now, for a visual comparison.
“We asked people to submit their photos of the harbour, (Alberni) Inlet or Barkley Sound, and we would choose three for cash prizes and 18 in total for display,” he said.
“We have the 18 photos up in our travelling exhibition space.”
Lucas Dewey won first place for their photo of the MV Frances Barkley at sunset. Nikki Robertson won second place for her photo of the Swept Away Inn, a former U.S. Navy minesweeper that has been converted into a bed and breakfast. Sarah Brooke’s photo of a Polar Bear Swim at Canal Waterfront Park earned third place.
The photo exhibit will be up until the next exhibit is installed, “which could be a few months,” Johnson said. He is hoping the photo contest will become an annual event.
There are other permanent exhibits on display in both the Hutcheson Gallery and the Discovery Centre (the lighthouse building) depicting the maritime history of the Alberni Valley. There are some vessels in various states of restoration in the outside yard at the Hutcheson Gallery too. Johnson also posts historical and current photos and interesting facts on the centre’s social media accounts.
The Maritime Discovery Centre’s Hutcheson Gallery is open Thursday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 2900 Harbour Road in Port Alberni. If hours change, they are posted on the centre’s Facebook page.