Is Prince George of B.C. greater than Prince George of Cambridge?
B.C.’s Northern Capital boasts a variety of historic sights to see this summer
Prince George was built on the forest industry. “Throughout history, we’ve had lots of little ma-and-pa sawmills around Prince George,” said Katherine Carlson, curator at the Central B.C. Railway and Forestry Museum. “When the railway came through, we had 40 or 50 sawmills just along River Road. They supplied the timbers needed to make the railway ties. Now we have conglomerated mills in town.”
During the early 1900s, the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway through the region prompted the rapid development of forestry activity. This rapid growth in logging and sawmills provided stable jobs, and many families settled in the small communities that developed along the railway.
Prince George saw its population grow from 4,000 in 1947 to 60,000 by 1976, earning it the title of B.C.’s “Northern Capital” and “Gateway to the North.” Its most recent population estimate is 88,000.
The architecture within downtown Prince George reflects the forestry identity within the city. “We have a beautiful Wood Innovation Centre,” Carlson said. “A lot of our buildings have a fascinating wood exterior, including our art gallery.”
The Hubble telescope may be capable of viewing distant stars and planets, but Prince George’s Huble Homestead grants the ability to travel back in time 100 years.
The Huble Homestead was built over a century ago, in 1912, by Albert Huble. It was designed to look like a typical Ontario farmhouse, complete with squared logs and dovetailed corners.
In 1985 the Giscome Portage Heritage Society began restoration of the house, and four years later the Huble house was unveiled to the public as the centrepiece of the Huble Homestead Historic Site.
Upon your arrival at the historic site located 40 kilometres north of Prince George, you’ll be greeted by the welcoming committee, comprised of people—and sheep. You’ll stumble upon some old equipment, including a fabric-making weaving machine. Meander down to the banks of the Fraser River where you’ll discover a fishing camp, a dugout canoe and ducks. If you’re feeling iron deficient, you can always stop in at the blacksmith shop. During festivities, the homestead hosts butter- and ice cream-making demonstrations. Admission to Huble Homestead is by donation and opens May long weekend and closes in October.
B.C.’s newest provincial park is a one-of-a-kind cedar-filled landscape. The Ancient Forest is part of the world’s only inland temperate rainforest. The thousand-year-old western red cedars found within the park have thrived in their environment, which includes a rich biodiversity of plants, mosses, lichens and fungi. A looped boardwalk provides access to people of all abilities to experience the magnificent “Big” Tree, Treebeard, Radies Tree and a cascading waterfall. The Ancient Forest is 100 kilometres east of Prince George and has plenty of parking for RVs.
When to visit
The best time of year to visit Prince George is July, a.k.a. “Celebrate PG” festival month. Canada Day marks the old-fashioned Dominion Day event. You can find out how pioneers would have marked the first of July. Browse the “Parades of Patriotism” display and watch the parade itself. For a more interactive experience, take part in pioneer games, races, contests, treasure hunt, crafts and heritage demonstrations.
Canada Day also kicks off an eight-day outdoor music festival called Heatwave. From July 1 to 8 there will be free showcases of the cultural and musical diversity of Canada. “It is guaranteed to be an incredible time for the concert,” said Anna Brink, marketing and communications co-ordinator for Tourism Prince George. “How can you go wrong with eight days of free music at an outdoor venue during the summer?”
Who wouldn’t con-cedar vacationing in this wooden oasis?