Inspire a Love for Alberni Valley — Nature Meets Urban

The “Inspire a Love for Alberni Valley” campaign is all about celebrating the love that residents have for their hometown and encouraging tourism that honors and respects local culture, people, and the environment.

While many choose the summer months to visit the Alberni Valley, we’re here to inform you that the shoulder season is the ultimate time to visit. In this first rendition of the campaign, we met with Nilo Du Plessis, owner of the newly opened Antidote Distilling Co., in the heart of Port Alberni, and Célia Auclair of Forest for Dinner. These business owners touch on why they chose the Alberni Valley to start their businesses, and how their collaboration shows the true spirit of the Alberni Valley.

WATCH: Nature meets Urban

READ: Port Alberni makers fuse urban, nature on

#ExplorePortAlberni for urban elements, by nature

“They told us it would be a three-year commitment. Now coming into six years, we are not sure how we could ever leave?” says Nilo Du Plessis, of Antidote Distilling in Port Alberni.

As a guide to the Heart of the Alberni Valley, this gin distiller has this to say about the next time you’ve got 48 hours to grow your own love of the Alberni Valley: take his advice on what to do, and to keep the difficult decisions for when you work through Antidote’s menu featuring something for any ailment.

48 hours in Port Alberni with Nilo Du Plessis of Antidote Distilling


“Left off the highway, head straight into the City’s original downtown, now uptown and home to the Harbour Quay. From there: Order up a fresh brew coffee at the Wildflower Bakeshop and Café

Wildflower Bakeshop and Cafe, 5047 Argyle St

Pick up treats at The Donut Shop and stroll one of the world’s largest ocean inlets.”

Where to stay: Make your pick on where to lay your head that night, by sourcing our accommodation section.


“Fill your day with good food and adventures close to town. Grab breakfast at Mountain View Bakery

Explore Port Alberni’s Forest Routes, with gentle to moderate hikes.

Dinner: Brie & Barrel or any of the three local breweries:


Get in some lake time and cocktails. Start by grabbing breakfast at Broken Bow.

Spend time at Sproat Lake.

Grab a java from Della’s Café (open year-round) and walk the lakeside trail out to Petroglyphs.

Keep earning those steps with a hike up Gracie’s Lookout as included in the 2nd suggested itinerary below. Finish the day with dinner and drinks at the Antidote Distillery.


Want to change up your trip, to give it more of a nature feel? Here is a second itinerary that comes straight from the forest floor.

48 hours in Port Alberni with Célia Auclair, Forest for Dinner

Meet ‘For the Love of the Alberni Valley’ second steward, Célia Auclair, co-proprietor of Forest For Dinner. Here is a woman who takes the idea of having forest for dinner to the most literal form possible. She and her partner Dan Patarin make their living through products they harvest out of foraging missions through the Alberni Valley’s woodlands and forests.

Here are her tips to an Alberni adventure infused with nature, and urban experiences.


Start with a hike where you will gain perspective of where you are: Gracie’s lookout. “You can take in the inlet, the forest and an overview of the valley you are now within.” Getting here is easy, it’s up the mountain behind Coombs Country Candy (getting up is an intermediate hike). “Post hike it’s time for a drink and dinner at Antidote Distillery as I will be thirsty and hungry.”


Grab breakfast at one of the local coffee shops:

Spend the day exploring the forest – a short hikes round up can be found here. For those with a bit more spring in their step we recommend the trek down to Weiner Falls.

Dinner at one of these three locations:

Bare Bones Fish & Chips


Célia promotes a little retail therapy across a few of Port Alberni’s top shops. So many to list, watch for profiles on Walk the Coast and Totally Board Surf Company for their profile next in part two of this Love for the Alberni Valley series. Allow Célia or Nilo’s itineraries guide you into your next #ExplorePortAlberni getaway.

Search the hashtag #ExplorePortAlberni for more elements that could make up your next getaway. Share your discoveries with us so we might feature you by simply using #ExplorePortAlberni in your tags.

Looking for more?

Here are a few fall activities we recommend to round out your trip:

Glow Mobile Sauna – check them out on socials for up-to-date offers and pop-ups!

Breakfast at the Broken Bownewly opened this year, located at 5405 Argyle Street, in the heart of Harbour Quay, offering a wealth of nourishing fare.

Catch a show at Char’s Landing – a community venue hosting live music in the heart of the Port Alberni’s Uptown Art District.