Port Hardy, BC, incorporated as a district municipality in 1966, population 4008 (2011c), 3822 (2006c). The District of Port Hardy is located on the northeast coast of VANCOUVER ISLAND, 391 km by road north of NANAIMO. Its harbour is the largest and most sheltered on the north island.
Port Hardy was named for Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, who served aboard Admiral Horatio Nelson's flagship, the HMS Victory, in the Battle of Trafalgar. The earliest non-native settlement in the area was in the 1850s and by 1904 a post office and general store had been opened. The Hardy Bay Land Company enticed settlers from England with advertisements describing a prosperous town. The settlers did not expect the isolation and ruggedness of the area, so few remained. The community remained small until the opening of the Island Copper Mine in 1971.
The mine closed in 1995, leaving the forest industry the mainstay of the economy. Port Hardy is also the hub of commercial salmon fishing on the northern part of the island and an important area for aquaculture. Tourism has become a growing industry since completion of the Island Highway and ferry service to PRINCE RUPERT in 1980 and BELLA COOLA in 1996.