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Downtown Stewart Lightsangie in stuartStewart Tidal Flat
                  Downtown Stewart              Angie at  Head of Portland Canal                 Tidal Flats of Stewart BC

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Paintings of Stewart Area

The Small Diamond of Canada's North--Stewart B.C.

Misty MountainsFound in the remote wilderness of Canada's north, situated at the end of a picturesque inlet that forms the southern boundary of the Alaskan Misty Fjords, the location of Stewart, B.C. is spectacular.  At the head of the Bear River valley, this gem of the north coast has more to offer than the gold sought by miners in the late 1800's.   Surrounded by jagged snowy mountain peaks, glaciers, and ice-fields, the region is home to magnificent wild animals from grizzlies to bald eagles. 

Originally built by the mining industry at the end of the 1800's, Stewart grew to a colorful bustling town of 10,000 people.  The Premier Gold Mine, once the largest in the world, was located in the region.  In the 1980's, the closure of the Granduc copper mine, the last major mine in the region, led to a loss of employment which saw the town shrink to a population of 500 people. Despite the economic ups and downs of the mining industry, the Eskay gold mine has been operating just 36 km from Stewart.  There is the possibility of a few more mines opening up in the area and big dollars are being spent on mineral exploration in the region.   Financial stability is looking closer for the locals who stuck around through the many lean years.  There has been provincial government talk of an access road linking BC's north-central resource rich interior to the deep sea port facilities of Stewart which would provide further economic development although this proposal is with some controversy with the Native community and locals who would like to preserve the lovely character of the small town.

Bald Eagle in Harbour As the cruise industry to Alaska continues to grow and its port facilities of Ketchikan become increasingly crowded and expensive, more cruise lines may take advantage of the deep seaport facilities of Stewart and Hyder at the headwaters of the Portland Canal, a long deep fjord,  and Canada's most northerly ice-free sea port. In the summer of 2005, a visit up the canal to Stewart and Hyder was part of Cruise West Cruise Lines adventure-class cruise ships' itinerary.  If things continue to grow, perhaps one day the weekly ferry service to the area will be reinstated.


Ripley Creek Inn BuildingsThe rustic beauty and appeal of Stewart's magnificent location have continued to be an attraction to visitors who come to see the many natural splendors.  While passing through the area tourists will find the quaint charm of the renovated old hotels and inns, and charming restaurants in Stewart's downtown.  

Hyder AlaskaLocated just a mile down the road, all traffic to the neighbouring Alaskan community of Hyder, the first point of Alaska accessible by car from the southern US states and Canada, must pass through Stewart. Despite its small population, the town has the facilities of a much larger town with a hospital serviced by two doctors, a school to grade 12, an ice-rink, and a lovely park pavilion and board walk on the tidal flat waterfront.  There is even a swimming pool that has been decommissioned.Waterfront Boardwalk

There is a provincial courthouse, a couple of hotels and inns, service stations, a hardware store, several stores and restaurants, churches, a couple of campgrounds, two museums, a marina, a seasonal paved airport, and a snow-mobile club that has one of the longest seasons in North America-year round.

Street EnhancedDespite its northerly location, Stewart has mild coastal winter weather, ranging from plus 5 to minus 5 degrees, and often the snow melts off the ploughed roads.  Ripley Creek InnWith a fair amount of precipitation, the picturesque snow covered peaks of the metal roofs in the village and the surrounding mountains give the town the air of a Swiss village or a charming town on a fjord in Norway in the winter.  All of the region's untouched powder has attracted the attention of the heli-skiers and in 2006, Bell 2 will be  continuing their heli-skiing operation out of the village's Ripley Creek Inn which will see up to 15 well-heeled visitors each week.  The future of the area is definitely becoming rosier!


Bear RiverStewart certainly has the potential to become the hottest northerly community in North America for active yuppie retirees, artists, wilderness connoisseurs, and interesting characters looking to the majestic surroundings of BC's north as an escape from the hectic bustle of the south.  With local access to healthcare and other city amenities, they can fill their days exploring mountains, glaciers, and hiking trails, enjoying ocean activities, heli-hiking, and grizzly bear viewing (in Hyder) in the summer, and heli-skiing, touring, and ski-doing in the winter. With easy driving access to many other recreational wilderness areas of northern BC, the Yukon, and Alaska, Stewart visitors and residents can also fly to Ketchikan, Alaska on the Monday and Thursday mail plane from Hyder, Alaska which they could link to summer ferry services from Seattle or Vancouver. Due to the unbelievabely low real estate prices in the village, active retirees tired of the rain or snow can afford to fly off to Mexico for some sun. 

The future is looking brighter for Stewart!  Don't wait too long to move here because it sounds like things are about to change in the undiscovered diamond of  BC's north!  As Stewart grows into a vibrant economically sustainable community with the steadiness of its mineral resources, its ocean port, and its ever alluring natural beauty that is magnificent enough to attract artists, real estate prices won't stay low for long!

I have just returned from a delightful late summer, early fall visit to Stewart and was pleased to be able to see the changing colors of fall along the rivers. I saw a grizzly feeding on fish in the Salmon River along side the many bald eagles. I had some great late afternoons painting along the river as well as at the top of the world at the head of the Salmon Glacier. I had fun painting some of the autumn colors around the village with the mountain top glacier above the courthouse and I had a spectacular view of the Bear Glacier in the sunshine on my drive out. I had a lovely time getting to know more of the wonderful people in Stewart and am planning on being back soon to paint in this wonderful area soon. Please check back as I hope to have some more lovely pictures of Stewart in the summer and fall as well as my latest completed paintings of the area posted here.

Bear River in Winter
Snowy River and Misty Fjord
Stewart Tugs

    Snowy Bear River                                              Snowy River and Mountains                                      Stewart Tugs in the Snow

See More Watercolors of the Stewart Region by Angie Roth McIntosh
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