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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)

Tourism and Historical Sites

"John Jakle and Charles Hosmer, Jr. point to the importance of history as a tourist draw in the twentieth century. Hosmer has argued that by the 1940s all the ingredients necessary for historic site visitation on a grand scale were present: 'good roads, millions of motor cars, a working class that had won two-week vacations, a better educated citizenry, a national preoccupation with historical origins, and a growing number of historical exhibition areas offering a variety of experiences to put 20th-century families in direct touch with their past.' Although, as Jakle suggests, a 'tourist's sense of history was often inaccurate,' historical sites, shrines, monuments, markers, and museums provided travelers with a sense of their own past, the opportunity to experience a way of life' no longer contemporary, and a 'sudden inner vision of [the] meaning of America.'" -- "HARNESSING THE ROMANCE OF THE PAST: PRESERVATION, TOURISM, AND HISTORY" by Patricia Mooney-Melvin quotes Charles B. Hosmer, Jr.'s "HISTORICAL PRESERVATION, TOURISM AND LEISURE" and John A. Jakle "THE TOURIST: TRAVEL IN TWENTIETH-CENTURY NORTH AMERICA"

Many historical sites in British Columbia maintain their own museum and archival holdings. If a particular historical site is the focus of your research, contact them to determine if they hold any research material that matches your research topic.


Barkerville was the main town of the Cariboo Gold Rush in British Columbia and is now preserved as a historic town. Barkerville Historic Town & Park is a Province of BC owned Heritage Property & Park, and a Government of Canada National Historic Site that was established in 1959. (Source)

Related Archival Holdings at Other Institutions

Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

Northern BC Archives database results relating to Barkerville

Highlights from UNBC Special Collections:

37+ holdings related to Barkerville

Fort St. James National Historic Site

Founded by the North West Company explorer and fur trader Simon Fraser in 1806, it came under the management of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821 with the forced merger of the two battling fur companies. Also known historically as Stuart Lake Post, it is one of British Columbia's oldest permanent European settlements and was the administrative centre for the Hudson's Bay Company's New Caledonia fur district. The fort, rebuilt four times, continued as an important trading post well into the twentieth century. Now the fort is a National Historic Site of Canada with some buildings dating to the 1880s. (Wikipedia)

Related Archival Holdings at Other Institutions


Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

All Northern BC Archives database results relating to Fort St. James

2004.6.09 - Old Hudson Bay Company Storehouse at Fort St. James

2020.05.11 - Gordon Wyness and Jack Lee at Fort St. James sign

Highlights from UNBC Special Collections:

G155.C3 S65 2010 Tourism strategies for Fort St. James / by Christy Smith

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

North Pacific Cannery National Historic Site

North Pacific Canning Company was formed in 1888 and the following year the Port Edwards cannery site was built. It had almost 90 years of continuous salmon production and fish processing until the late 1970s. Today the North Pacific Cannery is a living museum that illustrates the multicultural, isolated, industrial lifestyle of the West Coast fishery. (Source)

Related Archival Holdings at Other Institutions

Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

All Northern BC Archives database results related to the North Pacific Cannery

2009.10.2.044 - North Pacific Cannery, Port Edward, BC

1994. - Prince Rupert scenery and North Pacific Cannery

2013. - CNR Phelan

Highlights from UNBC Special Collections:

HD9469.S23 B749 1995  Everlasting memory : a guide to North Pacific Cannery Village Museum / by Kenneth Campbell