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History of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism in Northern BC

This guide highlights archival resources related to the history of outdoor recreation and tourism across Northern and Central BC.

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Northern BC Archives & Special Collections

Hours of Service:
Monday to Friday: 8:30 AM-4:30 PM
Closed Weekends & Statutory Holidays

Location: UNBC Prince George
Geoffrey R. Weller Library
4th Floor (Room 5-423)

Centennials & Anniversaries

Centennials, anniversaries, grand openings, birthdays... all were historically popular reasons to hold public events. Organizers and attendees of these events generally placed great historical importance on these events and they are often well represented in the archival record with textual, graphic, and audiovisual materials.

Some important dates for major celebrations in Northern BC:

  • 1958 - Centennial of the colony of British Columbia
  • 1967 - Centennial of Canadian Confederation
  • 1971 - Centennial of the date BC joined Confederation

"The three centennial celebrations sponsored by the W.A.C. Bennett Social Credit government in 1958, 1966/67 and 1971 were part of a process of self-definition and province building... Further, the centennials established many tourist attractions such as the reconstructed communities of Barkerville and Fort Steele, and stop-of-interest signs along highways." -- in “BC at its Most Sparkling, Colourful Best”: Post-war Province Building through Centennial Celebrations" thesis by Mia Reimers

Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

All Northern BC Archives database results relating to centennials

All Northern BC Archives database results relating to anniversaries

2000.13 - Ray Williston fonds

2000.13.1.19 - Board of Governors BC Centennial Committee

2001.1.016 - The British Columbia Centennial '71 Caravan pamphlet

2002.02 Daphne Baldwin fonds (unprocessed material includes records relating to Prince George public events)

Highlights from UNBC Special Collections:

FC3817.4.B8624 1959 The report of the British Columbia Centennial Committee

FC3811 .B87 1957  British Columbia official centennial record : 1858-1958, a century of progress

FC3849.V36 I87 1976  It's Vanderhoof's 50th birthday

FC3814.F69 F69 1956  Fort St. James, B.C. : 150th anniversary 1956

Festivals & Parades

Settler communities across Northern and Central BC have celebrated with festivals and parades for many different types of events, such as Dominion Day (Canada Day).

Archival records of festivals, parades, ceremonies, shows, demonstrations, carnivals, and other entertainment events include:

  • Travelogues
  • Diaries
  • Correspondence & postcards
  • Oral histories
  • Photographs
  • Film
  • Pamphlets
  • Souvenir programs & booklets
  • Ephemera (tickets, etc)

Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

All Northern BC Archives database results for festive events

All Northern BC Archives database results for parades

All Northern BC Archives database results for Dominion Day/Canada Day

Highlights from UNBC Special Collections:

FC3849.P7 G54 2014 Remembering... : a celebration of Prince George's storied past as told in articles published in the Prince George Citizen from 1998-2009 / by Valerie M.E. Giles.

HQ1219 .M38 2012  "She's the queen of everyone's heart" : community, gender, morality and sexuality in the "Queen Val-Vedette" and "Queen Aurora of the Evergreens" beauty pageants, 1948-1970 / by Alison Matte.

Agricultural and Industrial Exhibitions & Fairs

There are a number of exhibitions and fairs in Northern and Central BC that have a long history:

  • 1912-present: British Columbia Northern Exhibition (Prince George)
  • 1912-1969, 1983-present: Quesnel Fall Fair
  • 1919-present: Bulkley Valley Exhibition (Smithers)
  • 1922-present: Dawson Creek Exhibition & Stampede
  • 1943-present: Lakes District Fall Fair (Burns Lake)
  • 1947-present: North Peace Fall Fair (Fort St. John)
  • 1965-present: Nechako Valley Exhibition (Vanderhoof)
  • 1970-present: Skeena Valley Fall Fair (Terrace)
  • 1977-present: Williams Lake Harvest Fair

Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

All Northern BC Archives database results relating to fairs & exhibitions

2010.13.13 - 4th Annual Fall Fair, Prince George, BC [photo]

2002.7.2.88 - History of the Prince George Fall Fair [document]

2009.5.4.59 - Prize list of the twenty-eighth annual fall fair & horticultural show [booklet]

Highlights from UNBC Special Collections:

S557.C32 P75 1991 See you at the Ex : the first 75 years of the Prince George Exhibition, 1912-1987 / by Lois Rush.

T953.B1 M5 1953  Early history of the Vancouver Exhibition Association / by Alderman J.J. Miller.