BC Geographical Names

Name Details:

Name: Alberni Inlet
Feature TypeClick here for a list of
Feature Types.
Inlet (3) - Elongated body of water extending from a sea or lake
StatusClick here for an explanation of Status.: Official
Relative Location: Extends NE from head of Barkley Sound, SW side of Vancouver Island, Clayoquot Land District
Latitude-LongitudeClick here for an explanation of Position Type.: 49°03'34''N, 124°50'57''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
DatumClick here for an explanation of Datum.: NAD83
NTS MapClick here for an explanation of NTS Map.: 92F/2
Related MapClick here for an explanation of Related Maps.: 92C/14
  Nearby names within

Origin Notes and History:

Alberni Inlet approved 13 August 1945 on C.3609, by the Executive Committee of the Geographic Board of Canada; in place of Alberni Canal, the old name. Also Port Alberni.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Entered between Mutine Point and Chup Point, and extends 22 miles north to the mouth of Somass River, including Uckucklesit Inlet and Port Alberni. (Small Craft Guide, Canadian Hydrographic Service, vol 1, ed. 7, 1989)
Source: included with note
First labelled Canal de Alberni on Spanish charts. In 1931 H.D.Parizeau, Hydrographic Service recommended that the ambiguous term 'canal' be changed to 'inlet', "...it is most important for the foreign trade existing between Port Alberni and the outside world, that this word canal, which is greatly mistaken, should be changed for the proper word of inlet. It is needless to tell you that a great difficulty of this word canal comes in with the foreign shipping in general, who figure themselves the extra expense and the danger attached to sending their ships through a canal; for they figure that Alberni Canal is something similar to Manchester Canal, Panama Canal and Suez Canal, where extra fees for pilotage, canal dues, extra insurance and so forth come into the question." (12 March 1931 letter from Hydrographic Service, file H.1.31).
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Identified as Alberni Sound by the captain of a merchant vessel: "...After a pleasant passage [from San Fransisco] we arrived off Cape Barclay [Beale] late one afternoon. Mr. Banfield, the Indian Agent was to be on hand to pilot the ship up the Sound. Seeing nothing of him, and the tide being at ebb, I concluded to haul off shore for the night, and in the morning proceeded toward the entrance of the Sound. Picking up Mr. Banfield, the pilot, we sailed up the Sound as far as the first archorage, a small sandy spot near the right hand side of the Sound with hardly room for the ship to swing at her anchors. The following day ...we came down the Sound, and no anchorage being in sight, we made a hawser fast to a tree, dropped a kedge anchor out in the channel in 72 fathoms of water, and swung alongside the precipitous bank, where, after putting out fenders, we lay very safe. While lying there the ship was being painted, and one of the crew painted the ship's name "Pocahontas" on the rock. It is now known as Pocahontas Rock, and is so inscribed on the published chart of the Sound. The following day, the wind proving favourable, we proceeded up to Alberni, anchoring ...in our loading berth." (cFebruary 1912 letter from Cyrus Sears, Baltimore, Maryland, to Victoria Customs Agent, recalling his voyage to Port Alberni in November 1861; reprinted in Alberni Pioneer News, 24 February 1912)
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Named in 1791 by Lieutenant Francisco Eliza, after Don Pedro de Alberni, Captain of Volunteers, who was in charge of the small military force that accompanied Eliza that year while he strengthened Spain's toehold at Nootka. While there had been altercations and some tension between Spaniards and Indians during the earlier Spanish occupation, Alberni is largely credited with turning the situation around, to the extent that, even years later after Alberni had long-since been returned to Mexico, his Spanish successors at Nootka were often charged with passing on the hellos and good wishes of the Indians. Alberni remained at the fort for less than two years; building houses and offices for the base, well-digging, animal husbandry and agricultural activities all fell into Alberni's area of responsibility or interest, and the European skills were shared with the Indians in the area. See also Walbran's "British Columbia Coast Names"
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office