Prince George, British Columbia

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Prince George
City of Prince George
An aerial view of Prince George
An aerial view of Prince George
Flag of Prince George
Official logo of Prince George
Motto(s): "Shaping A Northern Destiny"
Prince George is located in British Columbia
Prince George
Prince George
Location of Prince George in British Columbia
Coordinates: 53°55′01″N 122°44′58″W / 53.91694°N 122.74944°W / 53.91694; -122.74944Coordinates: 53°55′01″N 122°44′58″W / 53.91694°N 122.74944°W / 53.91694; -122.74944
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Indigenous territories Unceded Lheidli T'enneh territory
Regional District Fraser-Fort George
Established 1807
Incorporated March 6, 1915
 • Mayor Lyn Hall
 • Governing body Prince George City Council
 • MPs Todd Doherty
Bob Zimmer
 • MLAs Shirley Bond
Mike Morris
 • City 318.26 km2 (122.88 sq mi)
 • Metro 17,686.50 km2 (6,828.80 sq mi)
Elevation 575 m (1,886 ft)
Population (2016)
 • City 74,003
 • Density 226.1/km2 (586/sq mi)
 • Metro 86,622
 • Metro density 4.8/km2 (12/sq mi)
Time zone UTC−8 (PST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−7 (PDT)
Forward sortation area V2K - V2N
Area code(s) 250 / 778 / 236
Highways Hwy 16 (TCH) Trans-Canada Highway
Hwy 97

Prince George, with a population of 74,003 (census agglomeration of 86,622),[1] is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is the "Northern Capital" of BC.[2] It is situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, and at the crossroads of Highway 16 and Highway 97.


Hudson's Bay Company post at Fort George (1880)
Prince George (1914). The large building in centre is the PG Hotel.
Prince George's welcome sign
City view from LC Gunn Park
Aerial view of Prince George

The origins of Prince George can be traced to the North West Company fur trading post of Fort George, which was established in 1807 by Simon Fraser and named in honour of King George III.[3] The post was centred in the centuries-old homeland of the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation, whose very name means "people of the confluence of the two rivers."


Throughout the 19th century Fort George remained unchanged, while Fort St. James reigned as the main trading post and capital of the New Caledonia area. Even during the Cariboo Gold Rush, Fort George was isolated, although Quesnel prospered as the Cariboo Road was built to its doorstep, making it the main staging area for the miners going to the goldfields at Barkerville. Then, when the Collins Overland Telegraph Trail was built in 1865–67, it bypassed Fort George, following the Blackwater Trail from Quesnel and continuing northwest towards Hazelton.

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway

Finally in 1903, Fort George's fortune began to change when reports said that the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (later part of CN Rail) would pass near the fur post. In 1906, agricultural settlement began around Fort George and then in 1909, development of the town began as two rival land speculation companies built the communities of South Fort George and Central Fort George. South Fort George was built on the Fraser River near the Hudson's Bay Company’s trading post and Central Fort George was built two miles (3 km) to the northwest on the Nechako River. Both communities flourished due to the marketing strategies of the land promoter for Central Fort George, George Hammond, who advertised the community all over Canada and Britain, describing Fort George in glowing terms as being the future hub of British Columbia, having mild winters and being suitable for any agricultural endeavour (except for the growing of peaches). Ten paddle steamer sternwheelers serviced the area, coming up on the Fraser River from Soda Creek.[4]

Properties were sold in both of the main townsites and many others nearby, such as Birmingham, Fort Salmon,[5] Nechako Heights and Willow City. By 1913, South and Central Fort George each had a population of 1500 and were booming as thousands of rail construction workers came to town for supplies and entertainment.[6] Both communities believed that the Grand Trunk Pacific station and townsite would be built in their town, and both were disappointed when the railway purchased the 1,366 acres (5.53 km2) of land in between them from the Lhiedli T'enneh instead, even though Charles Vance Millar, then the owner of the BC Express Company, was well into negotiations to purchase that property himself.[7] The railway compensated Millar by giving him 200 acres (0.81 km2) of the property and, by 1914, when the railway was completed, there were four major communities in Fort George: South, Central, Millar Addition and the railway's townsite, Prince George, where the station was built. Although George Hammond fought a series of bitter legal battles for a station for Central and for the right to incorporate, the railway won in the end and the City of Prince George was incorporated on March 6, 1915.


There were three rationales given for naming the new city as Prince George:

  • In 1911, Grand Trunk Railway documents justified the name to clearly distinguish it from nearby Fort George neighbourhoods.
  • In 1914, the railway said that the name would honour the recently crowned King George V.
  • A third rationale was to honour Prince George, Duke of Kent, the fourth son of reigning King George V.[8]

Businessmen in Hammond, Fort George petitioned the provincial government to block the new name but they were unsuccessful.[8] In May 1915, residents voted by plebiscite to name the new city as Prince George.[9]

War years

With the onset of World War I in 1914, the local economy was devastated as many local men enlisted and the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway was halted, creating a massive drop in population, a problem that was exacerbated by the ensuing Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918.[10] Prince George persevered through the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s and did not experience any significant growth until World War II when an army camp was built at the foot of Cranbrook Hill, bringing new life to the struggling businesses and service industries.

Army Camp Prince George was opened during WWII and once housed 6,000 soldiers. From March 1942 – October 1943, divisional troops and units of the 16th Infantry Brigade (8th Canadian Infantry Division) were housed there. The camp was located in the area of 1st Street, Central Street,15th Ave, to the bottom of Cranbrook Hill. Barracks were built to house the soldiers, dining halls constructed to feed them, and wet canteens for their leisure and entertainment. There were rifle ranges, mortar ranges and artillery ranges. The camp closed at the end of the war. Most of the buildings were either demolished or moved to new locations, although some remain in their original locations, such as the former transportation building on 15th Avenue, that was used by the British Columbia Forestry Service from the late 1940s to 1963. It is now owned by the City of Prince George for use by the Community Arts Council. The Nechako Bottle Depot on First Avenue is also another former camp building. Others include the first Overwaitea store, at Victoria and Third, formerly a barracks and the original civic centre, which was the old drill shed, was removed and rebuilt on Seventh Avenue.[11][12]

After the war, as the ravaged European cities rebuilt, the demand for lumber skyrocketed and Prince George, with its abundance of sawmills and spruce trees, prospered.[13] Finally, in 1952, after 40 years of construction, the Pacific Great Eastern was completed and joined with the CN line at Prince George, and with the completion of Highways 16 and 97, Prince George finally fulfilled George Hammond’s long ago promise of being the hub of British Columbia.

Modern history

A general view from Prince George

Canadian Forces Station CFS Baldy Hughes (ADC ID: C-20) was constructed in 1952 as a General Surveillance Radar station. It was located 22.3 miles (35.9 km) south-southwest of Prince George, and was closed in 1988. It was operated as part of the Pinetree Line network controlled by NORAD. Today the former station is The Baldy Hughes Addiction Treatment Centre.

On June 25, 1956, at just after 7 o'clock, a Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane built in 1943 (Serial Number 8300, bearing Canadian Registration CF-HSC) flown by Frank Samuel Pynn, out of the Prince George Airport, was observed flying in an unsafe manner, it went into a half roll, seemed to fall over on its back and nosed into a deep ravine in the cut-banks on the north side of town approximately one kilometre from the city centre. Pilot Frank Pynn, a former Royal Air Force Transport Command pilot, and his passenger, 15-year-old Jimmy Clarke, died on impact. Alcohol consumption was believed to be a factor in the crash and the Coroner's inquest found that Pynn died "through his own neglect and complete disregard for the Aeronautical Regulations of Canada." The wreckage is still there; however, most pieces are less than two meters in length.[14][15]

In 1964 the first pulp mill, Prince George Pulp and Paper was built, followed by two more in 1966, Northwood Pulp and Intercontinental Pulp.[16] New schools and more housing were needed and the new subdivisions of Spruceland, Lakewood, Perry and Highglen were built. Then, in 1975, Prince George amalgamated and extended its borders to include the Hart area to the north, Pineview to the south and the old town of South Fort George to the east. In 1981, Prince George was the second largest city in British Columbia with a population of 67,559, narrowly edging Victoria out of the honour, whose population was then 64,379.[17]

Low-lying areas adjacent to the confluence of the rivers, which can freeze, mean that those areas suffer recurring flooding.[18] In late 2007 an ice jam formed on the Nechako River and soon grew to a length of more than 6 km (3.7 mi), causing widespread flooding in the city. Faster runoff due to devastation of nearby lodgepole pine forests by the mountain pine beetle was identified as a contributing factor. A state of emergency was declared on December 11. On January 14, 2008, with the ice jam still present, the Provincial Emergency Program approved an unprecedented plan to melt the ice by piping water from a pulp mill steam plant 2.7 km (1.7 mi) to the jam area where it would be mixed with well water and poured into the river at a temperature of 15 °C (59 °F). In the interim an amphibious excavator was used for 10 days to move some of the ice. Costing C$400,000 to build and C$3,000 per day to run, the "Warm Water System" was completed on January 29, by which time the ice jam had grown to 25 km (16 mi) long.[19][20][21][22][23][24][25] As a result of long-term lobbying from local groups (championed by local advocate Sheldon Clare, and members of 396 Air Cadet Squadron, 2618 Army Cadet Corps, 158 Sea Cadet Corps, 142 Navy League Corps, Branch 43 Royal Canadian Legion, and the Peacekeepers Association) in February 2011, Canadian Forces 39 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters announced that a detachment of the Rocky Mountain Rangers Army Reserve unit was to be formed in Prince George. In 2014, the Rocky Mountain Rangers increased recruiting efforts in the community to reach platoon and then company size.[26] Prince George hosted the 2015 Canada Winter Games.[27]


These cut banks on the Nechako River are Prince George's signature natural landmark.

Prince George is located in the Fraser-Fort George Regional District near the transition between the northern and southern portions of the Rocky Mountain Trench. Prince George proper contains several areas: South Fort George, the Hart, the residential and light industrial neighbourhoods north of the Nechako River; College Heights, the southern part of the city which contains a mix of residential and commercial areas, and the Bowl, the valley that includes most of the city and the downtown. There are also a number of outlying localities that are also part of Prince George, such as Carlson. The cutbanks of the Nechako River are one of Prince George's many interesting geological features.

Local wild edible fruit include bunchberries, rose hips, blueberries, huckleberries, cranberries, chokecherries, strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, currants, gooseberries, and soapberries (from which "Indian ice cream" is made). Morel mushrooms are also native to this area.


The area had a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfc) as recently as the 1961-1990 normals period, with only three months averaging above 10 °C (50.0 °F). Due to recent warming the area has switched to a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb), as both May and September mean temperatures have crept above the 10 °C (50.0 °F) threshold for the 1981-2010 normals period at Prince George Airport. Winters are milder than the latitude and elevation might suggest: the January average is −9.6 °C (14.7 °F), and there are an average of 38 days from December to February where the high reaches or surpasses freezing. Winter months in which Pacific air masses dominate may thaw on a majority of days, as in January 2006 when the mean daily maximum temperature was 1.5 °C (35 °F). On the other hand, Arctic air masses can settle over the city for weeks at a time; in rare cases, such as January 1950, the temperature stays well below freezing over a whole calendar month. Summer days are warm, with a July high of 23.1 °C (74 °F), but lows are often cool, with monthly lows averaging below 10 °C (50 °F). The transition between winter and summer, however, is short. There is some precipitation year-round, but February to April is the driest period. Snow averages 216 centimetres (85.0 in) each year and is heaviest in December and January, usually, but not always, falling between October and May.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Prince George was 38.9 °C (102 °F) on 17 July 1941.[28] The lowest temperature ever recorded was −50.0 °C (−58 °F) on 2 January 1950 at Prince George Airport.[29]

Climate data for Prince George (Sewage Treatment Plant), 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1912–present[a]
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.5
Average high °C (°F) −2.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.7
Average low °C (°F) −10.5
Record low °C (°F) −49.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 54.4
Average rainfall mm (inches) 11.6
Average snowfall cm (inches) 42.7
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 14.5 10.4 10.7 10.9 12.9 15.3 13.9 12.1 13.2 15.5 14.2 12.5 156.0
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 3.9 4.2 7.2 10.2 12.8 15.3 13.9 12.1 13.2 14.7 7.7 3.4 118.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 11.8 6.9 5.0 1.5 0.31 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.08 1.7 8.2 10.1 45.4
Source: Environment Canada[30][31][32]
Climate data for Prince George Airport, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1942–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high humidex 12.8 12.2 18.5 29.2 35.3 36.4 37.3 36.1 32.7 25.1 16.6 10.9 37.3
Record high °C (°F) 12.8
Average high °C (°F) −4.0
Daily mean °C (°F) −7.9
Average low °C (°F) −11.7
Record low °C (°F) −50.0
Record low wind chill −51.5 −50.7 −46.0 −32.9 −12.5 −4.6 0.0 −3.5 −11.5 −31.8 −48.2 −49.4 −51.5
Average precipitation mm (inches) 52.9
Average rainfall mm (inches) 8.1
Average snowfall cm (inches) 54.6
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 15.2 11.7 11.3 10.3 13.5 15.2 14.3 13.1 12.6 15.8 15.6 14.3 162.9
Average rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 3.2 3.6 5.7 8.6 13.1 15.2 14.3 13.1 12.6 14.6 7.0 2.6 113.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 14.0 9.9 7.9 3.3 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 2.6 11.3 13.3 63.3
Average relative humidity (%) 77.4 66.2 52.1 42.4 41.2 45.7 46.8 46.5 51.5 61.5 76.8 78.9 57.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 49.0 84.0 153.5 204.6 247.5 251.0 286.2 261.8 177.7 108.0 51.2 43.6 1,918.1
Percent possible sunshine 19.7 30.5 41.8 48.7 50.1 49.2 55.8 56.9 46.5 32.9 19.8 18.7 39.2
Source: Environment Canada[29][33]

Sewer and water utilities

Prince George's drinking water is taken from the Nechako and Fraser Rivers via ten wells. The raw water is disinfected with sodium hypochlorite.[34] The local government treats sewage in a treatment facility in the Lansdowne area, on the west side of the Fraser River, or one of three other smaller treatment facilities on the east side. In the 2014 municipal election, the people of Prince George voted in favour of removing fluoride from their drinking water in a non-binding referendum. Prince George's new Mayor and City Council, at their first meeting, decided to follow the wishes of its voters. Fluoridation of the city's water supply ended in December 2014.[35]

Air pollution

The Prince George Airshed has many local sources of various air pollutants including several major industrial sources (pulp mills, sawmills and an oil refinery), vehicle emissions, locomotives, uncovered coal cars, unpaved and paved road surfaces, vegetative burning and residential and commercial heating.[36] Because a large part of the city and its local sources of air pollution are contained within a valley, there are often meteorological conditions that trap pollutants and result in episodes of poor air quality and unhealthy levels of air pollution exposure in some areas.

More people die in Prince George every year due to diseases associated with air pollutants than any other community in the province, according to data gathered by two BC physicians.[37] Although, "Copes said it was difficult to definitively say certain deaths are caused by pollution because it's not a factor that is easily recognizable." [38]


Population trend, 1976–2006.[39][40][41]
Canada 2001 Census[42]
Prince George British Columbia
Median age 33.9 years 38.4 years
Under 15 years old 21% 18%
Over 65 years old 7.6% 14%
Visible minority 6% 21%
Protestant 31% 31%
Catholic 21% 17%
Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1996 75,150 —    
2001 72,406 −3.7%
2006 70,981 −2.0%
2011 71,974 +1.4%
2016 74,003 +2.8%

According to the 2001 Canadian census,[42] there were 72,406 people living in 27,605 households within the city. Of these households, 23% were one-person households, below the 27% average provincewide, and 31% married couples with children, above the 26% average. Prince George had a smaller proportion of married couples than the province, 47% compared to 51%, but very similar persons per households. With 90% of Prince George residents being Canadian-born, and 87% with an English-only mother tongue, the city has few visible minorities. However, 10% identified themselves as Aboriginal, much higher than the 4% provincewide. Only 14% of residents between 20 and 64 years of age completed university, almost half the provincial average, and 22% did not complete high school, similar to the 19% provincial average.

Canada 2016 Census Population % of Total Population
Visible minority group
Source:[43][dead link]
South Asian 2,525 3.5%
Chinese 945 1.3%
Black 710 1%
Filipino 1,035 1.4%
Latin American 265 0.4%
Arab 155 0.2%
Southeast Asian 235 0.3%
West Asian 80 0.1%
Korean 165 0.2%
Japanese 215 0.3%
Other visible minority 85 0.1%
Mixed visible minority 130 0.2%
Total visible minority population 6,495 9%
Aboriginal group
First Nations 6,465 8.9%
Métis 4,365 6%
Inuit 25 0%
Total Aboriginal population 11,160 15.4%
White 54,895 75.7%
Total population 72,550 100%


For three consecutive years, from 2010 to 2012, Maclean's named Prince George the most dangerous city in Canada, with its crime rate being 114% above the national average. In 2011, the magazine cited gangs, drug-related crimes, and nine homicides as the reason for its high crime rate, although the magazine did state that the city's crime rate is declining each year.[45][46] In 2016, Prince George was named #4 on the list of the most dangerous cities for violent crime in Canada.[47][47]


The economy of Prince George in the first decade of the 21st century has come to be dominated by service industries. The Northern Health Authority, centred in Prince George, has a $450 million annual budget and invested more than $100 million in infrastructure. Part of these investments was the 2012 opening of the BC Cancer Agency's Centre for the North, which includes for radiation therapy facilities and associated buildings for modern cancer care.

Education is another key dominant part of this city. With the University of Northern British Columbia, the College of New Caledonia and School District #57, education adds more than $780 million into the local economy annually.

Forestry dominated the local economy throughout the 20th century, including plywood manufacture, numerous sawmills and three pulp mills as major employers and customers. The Mountain pine beetle epidemic of the late 1980s and 1990s resulted in a short term boom in the forest industry as companies rushed to cut dead standing trees before the trees lost value.[48] Sawmill closures and the creation of 'supermills' is already being seen in the area and more closures are expected.[49] Mining exploration and development may become the future of Prince George. Initiatives Prince George estimates that the Nechako Basin contains over 5,000,000 barrels (790,000 m3) of oil.[50]

Other industry includes two chemical plants, an oil refinery, brewery, dairy, machine shops, aluminum boat building, log home construction, value added forestry product and specialty equipment manufacturing. Prince George is also a staging centre for mining and prospecting, and a major regional transportation, trade and government hub. Several major retailers are expanding into the Prince George market, a trend expected to persist. In recent years, several market research call centres have opened in Prince George.

Heritage, College Heights, Hart Highlands and St. Lawrence Heights are prime residential areas, both commercial and residential development are growing at an accelerated rate and more subdivisions are planned for St. Lawrence Heights, West Cranbrook Hill and East Austin Road.


Prince George's education system encompasses 40 anglophone elementary schools, eight secondary schools,[51] and eight private schools. The anglophone public schools are all part of School District 57 Prince George.[52] It is also home to a public francophone elementary and secondary school, both of which are part of School District 93 Conseil scolaire francophone,[53] a province-wide francophone school district. Post-secondary education choices include the regional College of New Caledonia (CNC),[54] which offers two-year university-transfer courses, plus vocational and professional programs. Several BC universities, British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) and the Open Learning Agency have integrated their local programs with CNC. Prince George is also home to Guardian Aerospace Flight School.[55]

The University of Northern British Columbia[56] (UNBC), established in 1990, is the second-newest university in Canada. A total of 55 undergraduate programs, 15 masters programs and two PhD programs are now offered at UNBC, as well as the new Northern Medical Program, a joint program with the University of British Columbia intended to alleviate the shortage of physicians in the north. A degree-granting institution with regional teaching centres in nine BC communities and a sponsor for several research institutes, UNBC has recently completed the construction of the I.K. Barber Enhanced Forestry Lab. UNBC's hilltop campus overlooks the City of Prince George and has views of the Rocky Mountains to the east. In 2015[57] and 2016[58] UNBC earned the top small university in Canada ranking by Maclean's Magazine. UNBC has consistently been positioned in the top three for the last eight years. The University was first entered into the McLean's rankings in 2005 as the best small university in Western Canada.[59]

The College of New Caledonia[54] (CNC) is a post-secondary educational institution that serves the residents of central British Columbia. It was established in Prince George in 1969, and has since expanded across northern British Columbia, with campuses in Quesnel, Mackenzie, Burns Lake, Valemount, Fort St. James, Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof. CNC enrolls about 5,000 students each year in approximately 90 distinct programs in business and management, community and continuing education, health sciences, adult basic education / upgrading, trades and industry, social services, and technologies. About 75 of these programs are available at CNC Prince George. As well, CNC offers university classes leading to degrees and professional programs in more than 50 subjects, with excellent transferability to universities in BC, Alberta, and elsewhere. All university classes are available at CNC Prince George, and many are available at other campuses.

Sports and recreation

Club Sport League Venue
Prince George Cougars Ice hockey Western Hockey League (WHL) CN Centre
Prince George Spruce Kings Ice hockey British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) Rolling Mix Concrete Arena
Northern BC Centre for Skating Ice Skating SkateCanada (BC/YT) Elksentre arena
UNBC Timberwolves Soccer Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) CN Centre

Prince George's teams include the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League (WHL), the Prince George Spruce Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL), Youth Bowling Club (YBC) bowling teams (Nechako Bowling, 5th Avenue, and also a ten pin team), and Prince George Curling (Prince George Golf and Curling Club). Recently, the Duchess Park Secondary School Senior boys basketball team won the provincial AA title for the first time in 26 years.

The February 1978 Northern B.C. Winter Games hosted by Prince George and organized by John Furlong (sports administrator) were highly attended by 5,600 participants from age 8 to 90 in 38 events.[60] [61]

The Spruce Kings hosted the RBC Royal Bank Cup May 5–13, 2007.

Prince George has been home to several National Hockey League players, including Murray Baron, Blair Betts, Tyler Bouck, Chris Mason, Ronald Petrovický, Justin Pogge, Dan Hamhuis, Sheldon Souray, Derek Boogard, Dustin Byfuglien, Devin Setoguchi, Turner Stevenson and Darcy Rota. Eric Brewer and Zdeno Chára were also teammates on the Cougars in 1995 and 1996.

Prince George Citizen Field opened in the spring of 2006. The baseball facility has established itself as one of the most unusual diamonds in British Columbia.[clarification needed][citation needed]

Recreation facilities include 116 playgrounds and parks, baseball, soccer and lacrosse fields, eight golf courses, plus tennis courts, ice rinks and roller rinks, a new modern Aquatic Centre as well as an older swimming pool and the CN Centre, which is a 5,995-seat multi-purpose arena. For hikers there is an 11 kilometer riverfront system of urban hiking trails called the Heritage Trails.[62] Four provincial parks in the region provide downhill, cross-country and heli-skiing.

Parks include:

Park Comments
Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park formerly Fort George Park
Paddlewheel Park
Rainbow Park
Connaught Hill
Foot Park
L.C. Gunn Park
Ginter's Property
Eskers Park
Forests for the World
Cottonwood Island Park

North of Prince George is the Huble Homestead and Giscome Portage. The Otway Nordic Centre, operated by the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club, is home to one of the largest Nordic ski clubs in the province, and boasts more than 40 km (25 mi) of groomed trails - of which 5 km (3.1 mi) are lit trails for evening skiing, a biathlon range, and a 1,400 sq ft (130 m2) day lodge.

The Caledonia Ramblers Hiking Club offers weekly hikes in the city and surrounding countryside from May to October, as well as snowshoeing in the winter months; while the Prince George Section of the Alpine Club of Canada offers year-round hiking, scrambling, climbing, skiing and ice-climbing trips in the nearby Cariboo and Rocky Mountains and local crags. The Prince George Backcountry Recreation Society is an umbrella organization representing these and several other Prince George outdoor clubs.

For race fans, the Prince George Auto Racing Association (PGARA) offers a variety of racing events at the PGARA Speedway including the locally famous hit-to-pass races.

Prince George offers a Pride Centre for all LGBTQ and ally members in Prince George and the greater north. Located at the University of Northern British Columbia, the PC, an organization under the Northern Pride Centre Society, offers a safe space, resources, and support.

Prince George offers several nightclubs, sports bars, pubs and fine dining facilities.

The Treasure Cove Hotel and Casino is located at the junction of Highways 16 and 97.

Moviegoers can choose between the Famous Players six-plex or the Park Drive-in Theatre, which also offers mini-golf facilities and a go-kart track. As well, 'Cinema CNC' hosts two arts cinema series each year in the fall and winter, as well as a moving pictures film festival of Canadian films each February.

As part of its 100th anniversary, the City of Prince George hosted the 2015 Canada Games.[27]

Arts and culture

The off-road motorcycle community is a very large and old segment to the sports in Prince George, with multiple motocross tracks like the Blackwater motocross park and the BCR site and many networks of motorcycle trails, it is one of the largest recreational features for the city of Prince George.

Art galleries and studios

  • The Two Rivers Gallery, which opened in June 2000, has two exhibition galleries named the North and South Canfor Galleries, a gift shop and a galleria. It offers guided tours and art classes for both adults and children.
  • The Groop Gallery, which opened in May 2010, features modern and contemporary art created by local and regional artists. The Groop Gallery is the newest commercial gallery in Prince George.
  • Studio 2880 houses the Artists' Workshop, the Quilters', Potters', Weavers' and Spinners' Guilds. Its sister building, Studio 2820, is a Ticketmaster outlet and houses the Artisan Gift Shoppe.

Live theatre and symphony

  • Theatre Northwest is a professional theatre company producing stage productions throughout the year.[63]
  • The Prince George Theatre Workshop Society is a stage production company founded in the 1960s which puts on amateur theatre events throughout the year.
  • The Prince George Playhouse (originally built by the Prince George Theatre Workshop Society, now owned by the City of Prince George) has many different uses such as amateur and professional theatre, musical events and major plays put on by local small businesses.
  • The Prince George Symphony Orchestra (PGSO) is a mixed professional and semi-professional orchestra. The orchestra plays a number of concerts each year at venues around the city and occasionally tours other communities in northern British Columbia. A majority of its concerts are held at the Vanier Hall,[citation needed] which is attached to the Prince George Secondary School.
  • The Street Spirits Theatre Company is a Prince George youth-oriented social-action theatre group founded by its Artistic Director Andrew Burton with support from The Youth Around Prince Resource Centre. The group creates and presents audience interactive performances using improv theatre techniques inspired by Theatre of the Oppressed (Augusto Boal) and Theatre for Living (David Diamond) along with many other influences.[64] The group has been running since 1999 and has been given several grants from organizations such as the Vancouver Foundation and awards such as the Otto Rene Castillo Award for Political Theatre and the Canada Peace Medal, among others.[65] The group writes and performs interactive plays about issues affecting communities, such as drug addiction, teen pregnancy and racism and has put out several movies including a feature-length film dealing with northern sex-trade recruitment entitled "Streetwise".

A 2005 cultural project that involved Prince George had 'Spirit Bears' placed throughout various locations around the city. The 'Spirit Bear' is a fiberglass statue of a bear that has various sceneries painted on it.

Museums and libraries

Downtown branch of the Prince George Public Library
  • The Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre is located in Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park and offers a wide variety of galleries and exhibits, including a paleontology exhibit, First Nations exhibit, children's gallery, the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame, and the 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge[66] Fort George Railway complete with a working steam locomotive.
  • The Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum opened in July 1986, coinciding with Expo'86 and 150 years of rail travel in Canada. The museum has one of the largest vintage rail collections in the province, including vintage rail cars, locomotives and historical buildings. Most of the museum pieces are located outdoors on the lot. Some historical buildings include a building showing the advancement of the telephone and a building that was once a train stop. There is also old firetrucks and forestry equipment. As well, there is a mini-train that goes around the museum lot for the kids.
  • The Prince George Public Library has two branches in the city, the Bob Harkins branch in the downtown area, which is considered the "main" library of the city and the smaller Nechako branch in the Hart.

Monuments and art installations

Mr. PG

Mr. P.G.

The official mascot of Prince George is Mr. P. G., an anthropomorphic assortment of logs who greets newcomers to the city at the intersection of Highways 97 and 16. Mr. P.G. was one of five roadside attractions featured on the first series of the Canadian Roadside Attractions Series issued by Canada Post stamps on July 6, 2009.[67]

In 1960, the first Mr. PG was constructed as a symbol of the importance of the forest industry to Prince George. It was originally 40’ tall and made of spruce wood. The mascot was built to ride on a float in the Pacific National Exhibition parade in Vancouver, and was the prizewinner for best float. On the parade float, Mr. PG was hinged so it could bend down when the float encountered high wires. It could also speak. In between appearances, Mr. PG was kept on display at The Chamber of Commerce building and was later moved to the Tourist Information Centre.

In 1983, Mr. PG began to deteriorate and rot, and in the summer of 1983, a reconstructed Mr. PG was erected. The new Mr. PG had a yellow hardhat and a time capsule filled with memorabilia representing the Prince George of 1983 in its chest.

Mr. PG is 8.138 m (26 ft 8.4 in) high, his head is 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in diameter. The statue is constructed of fibreglass and sheet metal painted to look like wood.

Notable people


Located at the intersection of Highways 97 and 16, Prince George is the hub for northern British Columbia. Considerable truck traffic passes through Prince George, which also has extensive facilities for maintenance of trucks and heavy equipment. Greyhound Bus Lines provides daily bus service south to Vancouver, west to Prince Rupert, east to Edmonton, Alberta and north to Fort St. John.

The streets in the "Bowl" area of Prince George are laid out in a grid, with streets travelling north-south, and avenues travelling east-west. The streets are named after prominent citizens, and they are placed in alphabetical order, starting with "A" (Alward Street) near downtown, and continuing westward to "R" (Ruggles Street) in the western part of the city. Some avenues in the city are numbered. 1st Avenue is located the northern part of the Bowl, and the numbering increases southward until 22nd Avenue (the highest-numbered avenue in the city).

The grid in the downtown area is rotated so that avenues run from northwest to southeast, and streets run northeast to southwest. All avenues in downtown are numbered, while most of the streets are named after various cities and provinces of Canada.

Many streets in College Heights are named after various colleges and universities. However, College Heights streets are not laid out in a grid like the Bowl. Instead, many roads in College Heights are curved and/or winding, and most are called avenues or crescents.

There is an inland port to Prince Rupert in Prince George which is served by CN Rail.[70]

Prince George Airport,[71] located 7 km (4.3 mi) from the city centre, is an airport with customs facilities. In 2016, 462,007[72] passengers used YXS. The primary air connection to the rest of the world is provided by multiple daily flights to Vancouver on Air Canada and Westjet. Westjet's service also includes a weekly direct flight to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico during the winter months. Pacific Coastal Airlines offers a daily flight to and from Victoria. Central Mountain Air and Northern Thunderbird fly to regional and smaller centres. Horizon Air provided daily service to Seattle for a few months in 2008, but the service no longer exists as of 2009. Charter services provide flights to outlying areas primarily by float plane though helicopter service is also available. An expansion study to allow the airport to handle Boeing 747 cargo flights is currently underway .[50] The airport has since been expanded and is listed as having the third longest runway in Canada but since it was constructed five years ago has not seen expanded use by any new airlines or 747s other than the test use by one cargo flight.

CNR freight lines operate out of Prince George as well as Via Rail passenger service; the Jasper – Prince Rupert train overnights at the Prince George railway station.

Local public transportation consists of the PG Transit bus service.


West of Prince George is Vanderhoof (96 km/60 miles), Fraser Lake (155 km/96 miles), Burns Lake (224 km/139 miles), Houston (300 km/186 miles), Smithers (375 km/235 miles), Terrace (571 km/355 miles), and Prince Rupert, British Columbia (715 km/444 miles).

East of Prince George is Giscome (44 km/27 miles), McBride (211 km/131 miles), Jasper (377 km/234 miles), and Edmonton (739 km/459 miles).

North of Prince George is Mackenzie (185 km/115 miles) and Fort St. John, British Columbia (437 km/272 miles).

South of Prince George is Quesnel (119 km/74 miles), and Williams Lake (238 km/148 miles).

Annual events

  • The British Columbia Northern Exhibition, also known as the BCNE, started in 1912 and is the city's largest summer event. The four-day show was known as the Prince George Exhibition or PGX until 2012 when the name was changed as part of 100th anniversary celebrations. The BCNE is held each August and attractions include a large midway, food fair, trade show, art and horticulture exhibitions, 4-H exhibitions, firefighter competitions and many other events.
  • The Forestry and Resources Expo began in 1985 to educate the public about the importance of forests to the city and region, while displaying the latest in forestry technology, supplies and services. The Expo was revamped in 2013 and renamed the Canada North Resources Expo to reflect a focus on the wide range of sectors that impact the economy in Prince George and Northern British Columbia including forestry, oil & gas, mining, independent power producers, the biomass industry and transportation.
  • Downtown Summerfest was revived by the Downtown Business Improvement Association in 2012 and is held every August. The street party takes place in downtown Prince George and features entertainment, vendors, activities for children and a Taste Pavilion featuring food from local restaurants.
  • The Prince George Coldsnap Festival (formerly known as the Prince George Folk Festival) is a national folk music festival held annually in the winter at various venues throughout Prince George. Past artists have included John Denver, Bruce Cockburn, Sarah Harmer, Janis Ian, Alpha Ya Ya Diallo. 2006 saw Matthew Good, Fred Eaglesmith, The Paperboys, and many others.[73] Local musicians include: The Goat Island Extrapolation,[74] and Shae Morin.[75]
  • The Snow Daze Winter Festival is held each February. Some of the featured events include the Mr. PG pageant, curling, bed races, OTL (over the line) baseball, Texas hold'em poker tournament and snow golf.[76]
  • Prince George celebrates BC River's Day on the last Sunday in September at Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park with a live free music festival. Performers in 2006 included Marcel Gagnon and Fear Zero among many others.[77]
  • The Father's Day Show and Shine is held in Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park and features vendors, live performers and both vintage and modern cars. 2007's event saw an estimated 25,000 visitors and 365 cars were on display.[78]
  • The Prince George Iceman Multi-sport race takes place, usually the 2nd week of February. This event starts with an 8 km ski, then a 10 km run, a 5 km iceskate, a 5 km run and then wraps up with an 800m swim(indoors). This event has been happening since 1988. Participants can compete as individuals, or on teams of 2-5. Junior teams can compete in a slightly modified course, a shorter ski and swim and the 15 km run is broken into 3 segments instead of 2.[79]


Government and politics

Lyn Hall is the Mayor of Prince George and serves with 8 Councillors. Prince George holds four of the fourteen seats at the Regional District of Fraser – Fort George.

Tony Cable is the Chair of the Board of School District 57, which includes not only the city of Prince George but a large, sparsely populated area to the East and North, and serves with 6 other elected school trustees.

Provincially, Prince George is divided into two electoral districts: Prince George-Valemount represented by Shirley Bond, and Prince George-Mackenzie represented by Mike Morris. Both are BC Liberals.

Federally, Prince George is divided between Cariboo—Prince George represented by Todd Doherty and Prince George—Peace River with Bob Zimmer. Both are federal Conservatives.

See also


  1. ^ a b Statistics Canada 2016 Census [1]
  2. ^ City of Prince George – Our City!
  3. ^ Runnalls (1946:23)
  4. ^ Downs (1971:47–59)
  5. ^ Ramsey, Bruce (1963). Ghost Towns of British Columbia. Mitchell Press. p. 212.
  6. ^ West (1985:34)
  7. ^ Christensen (1989:36)
  8. ^ a b "What's In A Name - About Our City". City of Prince George. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
  9. ^ [2] Archived July 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ Christensen (1989:77–79)
  11. ^ "Old Army Base In Prince George By Mel McConaghy" Archived October 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Abandoned Canadian Military Bases" Retrieved: 06 December 2014.
  13. ^ Christensen (1989:88)
  14. ^ "Lightning over PG." Retrieved: 06 December 2014.
  15. ^ "Prince George Newspaper Digitization" Retrieved: 06 December 2014.
  16. ^ Christensen (1989:114)
  17. ^ Christensen (1989:116)
  18. ^ Davison, George (January 9, 2008). "It's all happened before". Prince George Citizen. p. Letter to the Editor. Archived from the original on December 11, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2008.
  19. ^ "Prince George considers melting ice jam with hot water". CBC News. January 8, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2008.
  20. ^ Atkinson, Cathryn (January 15, 2008). "Prince George to send warm water into river to ease ice jam". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  21. ^ "Amphibex on its way, city hall says". Prince George Citizen. January 15, 2008. Archived from the original on January 16, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  22. ^ "Nechako Levels Continue to Drop". 250 News. January 17, 2008. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  23. ^ Atkinson, Cathryn (January 17, 2008). "Fire won't snuff out plans to clear ice jam". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved January 17, 2008.
  24. ^ "Prince George removes floating digger as ice jam stretches 25 km". CBC News. January 29, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  25. ^ Cyr-Whiting, Michelle (January 30, 2008). "Part Two In Flood Efforts: The Warm Water System". 250 News. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  26. ^ "The army is coming, the army is coming" Retrieved December 06, 2014
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^ "July 1941". Environment Canada. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  29. ^ a b "Calculation Information for 1981 to 2010 Canadian Normals Data". Environment Canada. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved July 9, 2013.
  30. ^ "Prince George STP". Environment Canada. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  31. ^ "Prince George". Environment Canada. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  32. ^ "Daily Data Report for November 2016". Environment Canada. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  33. ^ "Prince George Airport Auto". Environment Canada. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  34. ^ "City of Prince George Annual Water System Report 2011" (PDF). City of Prince George. 2012. Retrieved December 29, 2012.
  35. ^ Fluoride Injection Systems Removal from Water Pumpstations
  36. ^ Prince George Airshed Technical Management Committee(1996)
  37. ^ Dr. Catherine Elliott and Dr. Ray Copes(2007)
  38. ^ "Pollution proves deadly in Prince George: study". Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  39. ^ BC Stats, British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1976–1986 Archived July 23, 2012, at, November 27, 2005.
  40. ^ BC Stats, British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1986–1996 Archived July 30, 2012, at, November 27, 2005.
  41. ^ BC Stats, British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1996–2006 Archived May 29, 2012, at, January 9, 2007.
  42. ^ a b Statistics Canada, Community Highlights for Prince George, 2001 Community Profiles, June 23, 2007.
  43. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2011 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  44. ^ "Aboriginal Peoples - Data table". 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^ a b
  48. ^ Province, Canfor Join Fight Against City'S Pine Beetle Archived March 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  49. ^ Prince George Citizen – MLA Bell mum about Canfor meeting Archived October 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  50. ^ a b [3] Archived July 3, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  51. ^ "Organization Chart 2011–2012" (PDF). School District #57 Prince George. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 13, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  52. ^ School District No. 57 (Prince George)
  53. ^ School District No. 93 (Conseil Scolaire Francophone)
  54. ^ a b College of New Caledonia homepage
  55. ^ "Flight School". Guardian Aerospace. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
  56. ^ University of Northern British Columbia homepage
  57. ^ "Introducing the 2016 Maclean's University Rankings". 2015-10-29. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  58. ^ "University rankings Canada 2017: Primarily Undergraduate". 2016-10-26. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  59. ^ "University Rankings 2016: Primarily Undergraduate -". 2015-11-04. Retrieved 2016-05-20.
  60. ^ Mackin, Bob (July 30, 2013). "PG News Archive Says Furlong Left Canada Amidst Death Threats". The Tyee. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  61. ^ "Only the Olympics were bigger". The Prince George Citizen. Prince George, British Columbia. January 27, 1978. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  62. ^ City of Prince George – Parks, Recreation & Culture – Heritage River Trails Archived March 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  63. ^ Theatre North West
  64. ^ Street Spirits Theatre Company
  65. ^ Arts Health Network Canada "Arts Health Network Canada: Canadian Initiatives: British Columbia 2011 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on April 12, 2011. Retrieved March 23, 2011.
  66. ^ - Grand Trunk Pacific Railway No. 1
  67. ^ Canada Post Stamp Details, July to September 2009, Volume XVIII, No. 3, p. 10
  68. ^ Britten, Liam; Kurjata, Andrew (April 27, 2016). "Birdman, 5th richest man in hip hop, has secret Canadian connection". CBC News. Retrieved April 27, 2016.
  69. ^ Frank Peebles, "Rising Star", Prince George Citizen, December 30, 2015
  70. ^ Rail.
  71. ^ The Prince George Airport Authority
  72. ^ "2016 Passenger Numbers Exceed Expectations – YXS - Prince George Airport Authority". YXS - Prince George Airport Authority. 2017-01-18. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  73. ^ The Prince George Folkfest – July 27 & 28, 2007 – Welcome
  74. ^ – the goat island extrapolation – Prince George, CA – Indie / Christian / Expérimentale –
  75. ^ Shae Morin
  76. ^ "Prince George's Mardi Gras of Winter Society – Snow Daze Winter Festival, British Columbia, Canada". Archived from the original on September 5, 2007. Retrieved June 23, 2007.
  77. ^ BC Rivers Day Music Festival – Prince George, British Columbia, Canada Archived January 5, 2016, at the Wayback Machine.
  78. ^ [4] Archived November 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  79. ^


  1. ^ Extreme high and low temperatures are from the Prince George climate station (August 1912 to June 1945), and Prince George STP (November 1975 to present).


  • Christensen, Bev (1989). Prince George: Rivers, Railways and Timber. Burlington: Windsor. ISBN 0-89781-266-2.
  • Downs, Art (1971). Paddlewheels on the Frontier. one. ISBN 0-88826-033-4.
  • Leonard, Frank. A Thousand Blunders: The History of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in Northern British Columbia. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. ISBN 0-7748-0552-8.
  • Nash, Mike (2007). Exploring Prince George - A Guide To North Central B.C. Outdoors. ISBN 978-1-894765-49-7.
  • Poser, William (1999). Lheidli T'enneh Hubughunek (Lheidli T'enneh Carrier Dictionary). Prince George: Lheidli T'enneh.
  • Runnalls, Reverend Francis Edwin (1946). A History of Prince George. Prince George: the author.
  • University Women's Club of Prince George (2005). Street Names of Prince George. Prince George: College of New Caledonia Press. ISBN 0-9735092-0-1.
  • Walker, Russell. Bacon, Beans and Brave Hearts.
  • West, Willis J. (1985). Stagecoach and Sternwheeler Days in the Cariboo and Central BC. ISBN 0-919214-68-1.

External links

  • City of Prince George
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