Featured Businesses

Tides & Tales Sport Fishing Adventures

Mike Kelly

Mike Kelly, owner of Tides and Tales Sport Fishing and Codfather Charters, knows what it takes to succeed in business.  “It’s the personal touch and going the extra mile, that brings our guests back,” says Mike. 

“I just love to teach young people how to fish and to see that rush of excitement when they land their first fish.” 

Mike knows how to fish.  After many years of fishing in BC, Alberta and the northwest USA, Mike opened Tides & Tales in Port Hardy in 2003.  The business has steadily grown over the years and then in 2015 he landed the opportunity to purchase Codfather Charters in Port Hardy.

Tides & Tales and Codfather Charters now run seven boats in total and they are busy.  Guests come from all over BC, Alberta and western United States.  Mike and his guides leave the dock at 6:00 a.m. and fish until 2:00 or 3:00 every day.  That’s not when Mike’s day ends though.  Providing that personal touch and taking care of his growing business means many more hours after the fishing day is done.  “In some ways we’re making it up as we go,” says Mike.

Mike gives a lot of credit to Community Futures for helping him go from lots of ideas and goals, to a written plan with financials and a clearer picture of how his expanded business needed to work.  “Lawrie at Community Futures knows what it takes to succeed and he is always there to bounce ideas off and support my business any way he can.”

Mackay Whale Watching

Bill and Donna Mackay

Bill MacKay and his wife Donna were in the whale watching business out of Telegraph Cove for years before they built and launched the Naiad Explorer and MacKay Whale Watching in 1998.  As the MacKay’s children grew they too had become involved in the business.  

The Naiad is a 50 foot custom welded aluminum vessel built for whale watching, with a washroom and comfortable seating for 48 people.  For MacKay’s the whale watching season really begins in earnest on July 4 and runs through October.  From their storefront in Port McNeill, the company does one trip each day, 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. 

Bill MacKay feels proud of the fact that his business has grown up during a time that has seen increasing interest in whales around the North Island from both researchers and tourists alike. “No two days out on the water are the same,” says Bill.  “People ask me if I ever get bored, but nothing could be further from the truth.”

Whale watching has provided the MacKay’s with some great moments.  “One time, with a full load of passengers, we sat idle, completely shut down for two hours, when two Humpbacks just lay touching up on either side of the Naiad.”

The Naiad is not just a whale watching boat though.  “This boat is a life line for the many small coastal communities in this region,” says Bill.  Even in the summer after the whale watching is done for the day, the Naiad will do runs to First Nations communities like New Vancouver, Kingcome, Guilford Island and others.  “We’ve done many, many Medivac trips all over the coastal islands and the central coast,” adds Bill. 

“When we needed assistance with replacing the engines on the Naiad, Community Futures was there.  They moved quickly and were so easy to deal with.  This was important to us so we could maintain that life line for the communities we serve,” said Bill.




Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures

Andrew Jones

Andrew Jones, owner of Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures, has been kayaking and camping   most of his life. He also always believed that he would one day own his own business.  For many years he worked in the retail industry with Eddie Bauer, and when the time came that he was ready to start a business he chose wilderness kayaking guiding because he loved to work with people and combining that with his lifelong passion just made sense.

Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures started offering tours in 1999. Their most popular packages are run from base camps on Hanson Island, northeast of Telegraph Cove. Experienced kayakers, families and beginners can take advantage of four day tours to view the north island's diverse wildlife and wonderful scenery. There’s even an option to add on a grizzly bear tour with Tide Rip Tours. 

Last year, with help from Community Futures, Andrew went from one base camp to two on Hanson Island. “It’s really satisfying to know that the business is growing and making a positive impact on the North Island economy,” said Andrew. Adding, “if anything, I would love to be able to hire more local guides. It’s still a thrill for me to see how my staff grow into the business and become my best advocates for the North Island.”

For the more adventurous kayakers, Kingfisher offers 8 and 15 day tours in the Haida Gwaii archipelago. There is also a 14 day Great Bear Rainforest expedition which starts in Klemtu and winds its way down to Bella Bella.  “I just love seeing my customers connect with everything that this part of the world has to offer,” says Andrew.

the Bead Lady

Carol Ellison

Local Treasures at the Bead Lady in Port McNeill.

Carol Ellison has been doing beadwork most of her life. As a Metis she learned traditional beadwork from her grandmother in Edmonton. Carol developed her own beadwork style and started marketing her products at Windsong Marina when she lived in Echo Bay over ten years ago. During that time she made strong friendships and connections with the many boaters who visit Broughton Archipelago each summer. Carol continued to sell to b...oaters following a move to Shawl Bay and then in 2014 she moved to Port McNeill. Demand for her products continued so Carol opened a store front in the old Pacific Coastal location, and then just a few months later, in December 2014, she moved to her current location in the Pioneer Mall.

The Bead Lady is not just about beads. Carol has branched into local art including a number of First Nations artists. She also o ers an array of fashions for “mature gures” and beautiful jewellery and other fashion accessories as well. Though her traditional customers are 40-60 year olds, Carol says that younger people are coming in more and more for her beads and jewellery. “It’s a great gift store and my prices are competitive because I have excellent wholesale sources,” says Carol. Like many businesses in the area, the Bead Lady depends on a good summer business and through her boating connections Carol has lots of annually returning customers. “I just love to play and have fun with the locals and tourists alike,” says Carol.

The Rock Pub

Annie LeBlanc and Dawn Harilstad

"Roll me away tonight" - The Rock Pub

The Rock, located in the Dalewood Hotel in Port McNeill, is the brainchild of Annie LeBlanc and Dawn Harilstad, both longtime residents of the North Island. Annie and Dawn actually worked together at the pub in the late 1980’s. “Over the years that we worked there and through the years since, we always had a vision for what we would do with the bar if we ever had the chance,” says Dawn.  That chance came in the spring of 2014.  The hotel owner at the time approached Annie and asked if she would lease and run the bar. The partners knew they would have a lot of work to do if they were going to achieve the vision they had for their new bar. Turned out they had a lot more than they first thought. Annie and

Dawn rolled up their sleeves and went all in on the renovations.  One of the strengths of this business is the solid friendship shared by its partners.  It’s a good thing, because that friendship has been tested with running a business that has faced any challenges in its first 18 months. One of the key issues they have dealt with is the lack of “pub style” food that many patrons look for when they want an evening out. They are now working on a solution to this! Annie says, “It’s a matter of thinking outside the box. We need to be more than just a bar.” They’ve shown some of that flexible thinking by hosting catered to

Christmas parties and business meetings.  Both Annie and Dawn love music so they are very happy to bring in great bands on weekends. The atmosphere of the pub and some great musical acts have combined to give The Rock some of its best nights in its first year and a half of operation.  “We appreciate the support and flexibility shown to us by Community Futures,” says Annie. “Most new businesses face challenges in their first couple of years and Community Futures has provided good advice and support all along the way.” “If you haven’t been in a while come and see the “new” Dalewood, The Rock,” says Dawn. “The beers are cold and the atmosphere is warm.”


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Communities Served

Alert Bay, Bella Bella, Coal Harbour, Echo Bay, Holberg, Kingcome Inlet, Klemtu, Port Alice, Port Hardy, Port McNeill, Quatsino, Rivers Inlet, Shearwater, Sointula, Telegraph Cove, Winter Harbour, Woss, Zeballos


Community Futures Mount Waddington
14 - 311 Hemlock Street
Box 458
Port McNeill, BC
V0N 2R0

T: 250.956.2220
T: 877.956.2220
F: 250.956.2221