NBC cited the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center as saying that the first tsunami wave was three feet high despite forecasts predicted a wave of up to 6 feet high.
"The tsunami arrived about when we expected it should," senior geophysicist Gerard Fryer said, adding: "I was expecting it to be a little bigger."
Officials had urged Hawaiians to move away from the coastline ahead of the tsunamis.
"This is obviously a very very dangerous situation," Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle told Hawaii News Now.
The U.S. Geological Survey said the earthquake hit 123 miles south-southwest of Prince Rupert—in the Queen Charlotte Islands region, also known as Haida Gwaii, according to the Vancouver Sun—at a depth of 6.2 miles
Two aftershocks—of magnitude 5.8 and 4.8—were also measured, according to Reuters.
The National Weather Service issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas of British Columbia and southern Alaska and a small tsunami was recorded on a deep ocean pressure sensor.
The advisory specified the outer West Coast of Vancouver Island from Cape Scott to Port Renfrew, and for the Juan de Fuca Strait from Jordan River to Greater Victoria, including the Saanich Peninsula, CBC reported.
Two tsunami waves also hit Haida Gwaii, the first measuring 11 inches and the second 17 inches, CBC wrote, citing emergency Info B.C.
However no damage had been reported.
The US Geological Survey said in a statement on its website:
"It was felt across much of north-central B.C., including Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Houston. There have been no reports of damage at this time."
Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist, told the Associated Press that an earthquake this size likely would not generate a large tsunami.
"This isn't that big of an earthquake on tsunami scales," she said. "The really big tsunamis are usually up in the high 8s and 9s."
The U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska said it tried to warn all those in a boat to prepare for a tsunami.
Natural Resources Canada said in a statement that a major earthquake was felt across much of north and central British Columbia.
The AP cited Urs Thomas, 59, operator of the Golden Spruce hotel in Port Clements, as saying the quake struck without warning and lasted about three minutes.
"It was a pretty good shock. I looked at my boat outside. It was rocking. Everything was moving. My truck was moving."
Steve Querengesser, who was in Queen Charlotte less than 30 miles from the epicenter when the quake hit, told The Province newspaper:
“At first, we thought that it was the beginning of a storm or a large military vehicle passing by. We ran to the nearest doorway and felt the whole room sway and shake. It was a wild experience. Our hearts are still beating fast."