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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)

"Making Northern British Columbia a Roadside Attraction"

"Making Northern British Columbia a Roadside Attraction: Automobility, Modernity, and Landscape Experience" public lecture by Dr. Ben Bradley

Like much of the province, northern BC and the Cariboo were transformed by automobility during the years 1925-1975, both concretely and in terms of how they were perceived by visitors and residents. A new geography of competition emerged along highway verges, as businesses offered food, gas, lodging, and more to the motoring public. Roadsides came to be festooned with scenic pullouts, viewpoints, and a constellation of natural and historical attractions. Even seemingly anti-modern sites (and sights) such as pastoral rural scenes, wilderness parks, and heritage sites were intertwined with a complex network of fixed infrastructure and flexible consumer technology. This presentation examines motoring’s crucial role in shaping common experiences of the region’s landscapes and communities. It shows that the motoring public’s travel patterns, viewing habits, and popular tastes inexorably affected the places they passed through. It also emphasizes that the costs and benefits of this transformation were unevenly distributed: some places in BC accelerated ahead in the fast lane, while others were bypassed or left stranded off the road.

Stops of Interest, Attractions & Monuments

Archival records relating to roadside attractions, stops-of-interest, monuments and plaques include:

  • Photographic records
  • Pamphlets, brochures & booklets
  • Guidebooks
  • Road maps
  • Interpretive materials & signage
  • Records relating to the site development
  • Travelogues and travel diaries
  • Correspondence & postcards
  • Souvenirs
  • Ephemera (tickets, etc.)

Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

All Northern BC Archives database results related to monuments

All Northern BC Archives holdings related to Mr. PG

2013. - British Columbia stop-of-interest plaques guides

2012.13 Kent Sedgwick fonds (unprocessed textual records)

Highlights from Special Collections:

FC3849.P7 Z54 2009  Monumental transformation : the story of Prince George's national historic monument / J. Kent Sedgwick.

Signs & Billboards

Archival records relating to signage and billboards include:

  • Photographic records
  • Extant examples of signage objects
  • Records relating to signage development
  • Postcards

Highlights from Northern BC Archives:

All Northern BC Archives database results relating to signage

2012.13 Kent Sedgwick fonds (unprocessed textual records)

Highlights from Special Collections:

S934.B7 M33 2001  Assessing visitor interpretation preferences within the Muskwa-Kechika management area / Jennifer L. McConnachie and John D. Shultis.


Travel souvenirs are multi-faceted mementos of remembrance within an archival setting. A souvenir can:

  • be a record of an individual visitor's activities
  • be a historical record of a place, time, or event
  • be a cultural or heritage item, like folk art
  • be an object of no intrinsic value, its only value being the memories the former owner associated with it (i.e. sand from a beach)

Context can be particularly important for souvenirs within an archives, as often the souvenir  can be meaningless without it.

Northern BC Archives

All Northern BC Archives database results relating to souvenirs

2009.6.13.44 - Memorabilia

2014.6.1.01 - Spruce dollars

2002.02 Daphne Baldwin fonds - Spruce dollars files (unprocessed)

2015.10 Kiwanis Club of Prince George - Spruce dollars material (unprocessed)

Special Collections

FC4022.3 .G57 1901  Souvenir of the Klondyke / H.J. Goetzman

HD6515.L922 N67 1965  Silver anniversary souvenir program 1965 / Northern Interior Lumbermen's Association

D810.T8 U5 1945  Prince Rupert Sub-Port of Embarkation, Prince Rupert, British Columbia / United States. Army Service Forces

TX715 .Q5 1957 A memento of your visit to Barkerville / [by the Reverend C.L.G. Rowland

Kent Sedgwick Fonds

2012.13 - Kent Sedgwick fonds

J. Kent Sedgwick was a historical geographer active in promoting Prince George history. He first came to Prince George in August 1970 to accept the position of geography professor at the College of New Caledonia. He spent a great deal of time conducting research on the history of Prince George and the Central Interior, and was a founding member of the Local History Society. Sedgwick worked on heritage issues as a planner for the City of Prince George. He was awarded the Jeanne Clarke Memorial Local History Award 17 February 1991.

Only the photographs from this fonds have been processed and made available. The extensive textual research material in the fonds is unprocessed but still accessible to researchers. Contact an archivist at to learn more.

Content: The Kent Sedgwick fonds consists of 5.8 linear meters of textual records relating to his research interests of the history of the Central Interior of British Columbia. The subject files contain original research notes, research notes from interviews, news clippings, research copies of photos/maps – primarily related to the history and historical geography of the Central Interior of BC, especially Prince George, Giscome and East Line communities covering the period c.1900-c.2010. Research also includes extensive notes on geographic features, landscapes, interpretative trails, architectural history, industrial history and First Nations history of region.

Topics related to Tourism & Outdoor Recreation:

  • Motels & lodging, particularly in Prince George
  • Signage in Prince George and the Central Interior
  • Attractions and monuments, including Mr. PG
  • Public events, particularly in Prince George
  • Sports and sporting events in the Prince George area
  • Park development in the Prince George area
  • Trail development and interpretive signage
  • Development of Huble Homestead Historic Site