The original connection from Masset Inlet to the east coast was the Mexican Tom Trail which consisted of a series of blazes through the wilderness. In 1920 loosely following the trail, construction began on a road. This was two -12 inch planks placed side by side, on each side, with a gap in the middle to reduce cost of material. Later an additional 6 inch plank was added for more width. Strictly a one way road, pullouts were placed along the way to allow for two way traffic, with whomever was closest to the pullout having to back up- no easy job on these narrow planks. 1941 saw the slow removal of section by section of the planks, replacing them with gravel. This was completed in 1951 and in 1966 a contract was awarded for paving the road. No trace of the planks remain today except for the nearly arrow straight road running from Tlell to Port Clements, a huge contrast from the wandering road to Masset which was open in 1958.
The early years saw many ships servicing the islands, the "Amur", "Henriette", "Beartrice", and "Prince Albert" to name a few. The Grand Truck Pacific purchased the "Prince John" in 1911 especially for the Queen Charlotte run. It was 186 feet long and fully loaded could do 12 knots. It was said by the local people at the time that if the "Prince John" couldn't make the trip across the Hecate Strait during the fierce winter storms, no other ship could.
The Prince John was sold by GTP in 1941. The first ocean going steamer to dock in Queenstown (other that the survey ship "Lillooet") was the "British Empire" in 1911. It was delivering mining supplies and equipment.