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Transportation Development and Impact in Northern BC

This guide highlights Northern BC Archives collections on railways, highways, and other methods of transportation across Northern BC.


John Hart Highway Photograph Collection

John Hart Highway Photograph Collection - 2005.3.32 - Fred Youngstrom Operating a Haulback Rig2005.3

This 405 km long stretch of Highway 97, named for former British Columbia Premier John Hart, begins at Prince George, traveling for 152 km north through the small hamlet of Summit Lake, which is situated at the Continental Divide, as well as, through Crooked River Provincial Park, Bear Lake and McLeod Lake, to its intersection with Highway 39. It then journeys northeast another 150 km through the Continental Divide at which point the time zone changes from Pacific Time to Mountain Time. After emerging from the Pine Pass, the highway intersects with Highway 29 at the town of Chetwynd, B.C. After a trek of another 97 km east, the Hart Highway terminates at Dawson Creek, B.C. This collection consists of 73 photographs. Date range of materials: 1945 – 1946.

Image: 2005.3.32 - Fred Youngstrom Operating a Haulback Rig

Archives Speaker Series: Dr. Ben Bradley

"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.