The interior of the new BC Cannabis Store in Port Alberni. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Pair of Port Alberni pot stores open

B.C. Cannabis Store, Orange Bridge Cannabis first two legal pot stores to open in central Island

Two provincially-licensed cannabis stores have opened in the Alberni Valley.

The government-run BC Cannabis Store officially opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 11. The new store is located at the Pacific Rim Shopping Centre off Johnston Road in Port Alberni.

Director of retail operations Kevin Satterfield explained that this is the province’s sixth store overall, and the third on the Island. “[Port Alberni] is a great community,” he said. “It’s kind of a gateway to Tofino and Ucluelet. We really liked the location, and the municipality had all the bylaws in place.”

The sleek interior is not what most people expect from a BC Cannabis Store, said Satterfield. He describes it as “fashionable and functional,” with all items—even the 99 cent rolling papers—locked up and out of reach. Dry flowers are arranged at three tables based on their content—Indica, Sativa, hybrids and high CBD strains. Walls are covered in educational materials to help customers decide what they want to try. The interior is also entirely modular, so the design can be rearranged when more products like edibles, concentrates and beverages hit the market.

READ: Pot edibles, topicals and extracts to hit shelves no earlier than mid-December

“Each [store] is slightly unique,” explained Satterfield. “We’ve tried different layouts and plans to see how the customer reacts to it. Our customer makeup is ever-evolving.”

But the BC Cannabis Store was not the only location celebrating on Wednesday. Orange Bridge Cannabis, located next to Tseshaht Market on Tseshaht First Nation lands, has been operating for a couple of weeks, but held its official grand opening on Sept. 11. The store is unique, in that it marks the first retail cannabis license for a First Nation on Vancouver Island—and possibly across B.C.

“Our community was the one that directed us to enter this industry,” explained Ken Watts, a councillor for Tseshaht First Nation. “This couldn’t have happened without our community.”

Orange Bridge Cannabis is 100 percent Tseshaht First Nation owned and operated, with five Tseshaht members working in the store. Along with being one of the first B.C. licensed retail cannabis stores owned and operated by a First Nation, Orange Bridge also marks the first time in 30 years that Tseshaht First Nation has opened a new business along Highway 4.

“No pun intended, but we’re planting a seed,” said Watts during the opening ceremony. “That’s for all of Tseshaht to be proud. We’re breaking new ground. It’s important that we celebrate today.”

The name Orange Bridge was suggested by Tseshaht councillor Melanie Cranmer, while the logo was designed by Tseshaht member Willard Gallic Jr.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


The outside of the new BC Cannabis Store in Port Alberni includes frosted windows and doors, as well as a separate entrance and exit. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Kevin Satterfield, director of retail operations for BC Cannabis Stores, demonstrates how customers can test the smell of particular products. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

A glimpse at the shelves inside of Orange Bridge Cannabis. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Just Posted

Guest choreographer takes the ice with Mount Arrowsmith skaters

Mount Arrowsmith skating season is underway, with COVID-19 protocols in place

RCMP investigating after tires slashed in Port Alberni neighbourhood

RCMP are looking for anyone with information or video surveillance

Port Alberni writer featured at Alberni Valley Words on Fire

Vicki Drybrough’s poetry and short stories have been published in anthologies and literary journals

Tour de Rock alumni ride through Port Alberni

Event was scaled down this year in response to COVID-19

Third brewery on the way for Port Alberni

Alberni Brewing Company hopes to open in early 2021

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Shawnigan Lake’s Kubica gets 25 to life for murder in California

Former Shawnigan Lake man convicted of killing woman in 1990

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

She warned her son about toxic drugs, then he was dead

Donna Bridgman’s son died at the age of 38 in Vancouver

Most Read