The town derives its income chiefly from tourists’ trade and from the surrounding farming area. A small co-operative shingle mill once operated intermittently. During the Fraser River gold rush in 1858 a tent colony sprang up on the shores of the harbor, only to dwindle away within the year. The town, platted in 1884, was originally named Concord, but was renamed to honor James G. Blaine, presidential candidate.
For a number of years fishing was a profitable industry of the area, and a salmon cannery, now closed, operated at Blaine. Smugglers and fish pirates, once worked out from the safety of Point Roberts, the American-owned tip of the Canadian peninsula 14 miles west of the town. Smuggling was brought to a close, however, in 1910, when the Federal Government installed the Point Roberts Light, the northernmost light along the coast of the United States.
Blaine’s maritime history has always been rich and is still a large part of the town’s identity today. Its two large marinas are home to hundreds of recreational sailboats and yachts, and a small group of determined local fishermen provide visitors with dockside sale of fresh salmon, crab and oysters. Nature lovers will appreciate Blaine’s coastal location, accessible bike and walking trails and mountain and water views. Blaine’s Drayton Harbor, Semiahmoo Spit and Boundary Bay, thanks to their large population of migratory birds and waterfowl, are a birdwatcher’s paradise, and ranked as “Important Birding Areas” by the Audubon Society.