The New Powell River

Once a single-industry mill town, Powell River has been quietly cultivating a new crop of local businesses and creative projects. “A lot of the new businesses were started by entrepreneurs who came from Victoria, Vancouver and Squamish, and have helped revitalize the local economy,” says Paul Kamon, executive director of Sunshine Coast Tourism. Kamon relocated from Vancouver with his family in 2011. He points to the expat-founded Culaccino Italian Kitchen, Townsite Brewing and 32 Lakes Coffee Roasters, among others. Part of the draw is affordable real estate, he says (single-family homes sell for an average $370,000) and amenities that rival larger centres, like an airport with five flights a day to Vancouver, and blistering internet speeds courtesy of fibre-optic cable. The other part is natural appeal. “We’re surrounded by forests and eight freshwater lakes and also right on the ocean,” he says. “Cycling, mountain biking, paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, hiking–it’s all available.” –Staff