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Known as BC's northern capital, Prince George is a bustling city located on the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh with a population of approximately 76,000 situated at the crossroads of Highway 97 (north-south) and Highway 16 (east-west), and at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers. As a major city of the Pacific Rim, Prince George is firmly tied to the global market.
The City of Prince George is a vibrant, active and diverse community that provides a strong focal point and identity to the north, with a thriving economy that offers full opportunities for housing, employment, education, recreation and the cultural life of residents.
Prince George is a community that is known for opening its doors and showing our visitors the beauty and magic of the north. As the official host City for the 2015 Canada Winter Games, we are ecstatic to not only be welcoming the nation to Prince George and the region in 2015, but to have the opportunity to promote and showcase our beautiful city leading up to this national event.
- Shadows on Snow at City Hall -
The area offers a lifestyle that is definitely worth boasting about. Residents enjoy affordable housing, incomes above provincial averages, and an extensive range of quality services, cultural and sports events. Recreation opportunities are second to none and range from golfing, skiing, fishing and hunting to any team sport you can think of. Local educational facilities include the University of Northern British Columbia and the College of New Caledonia.
- Population – Prince George is home to over 88,000 people (2012 census agglomeration) and 326,000 people in the trading area (as of 2012).
- Housing – Average cost of purchasing a home in Prince George as of 2014: $275,353. Average cost of renting a two-bedroom apartment as of 2014: $707.
- Climate – Prince George enjoys a dry climate with four complete seasons – lots of sun between May and September and lots of snow between November and March. Average January temperature is -10°C and average July temperature is 22°C, though most years bring temperature extremes above 30°C and below -20°C on occasion.
- Earnings - Average Prince George household income as of 2010: $73,063.
- Employment - Employment rate in Prince George as of 2013: 67.1%
- Commute – Maximum commute to downtown Prince George from most residential areas is 15 minutes.
- Culture – A variety of active ethnic and cultural groups exist in Prince George to provide programming and assistance to all residents in social, cultural and economic capacities.
- Education – Prince George educational institutions include the internationally recognized University of Northern British Columbia, the main campus of full-service College of New Caledonia, two additional community colleges, numerous trades and technical education facilities, close to 50 regional public schools and an assortment of private schools and specialty programs.
- Newcomers – The Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society, the Multicultural Heritage Society of Prince George, Le Cercle des Canadiens Français de Prince George, the Prince George Native Friendship Centre, the Welcome Wagon, and numerous employment service providers assist newcomers in getting settled in Prince George.
- Shopping – From a seasonal Farmers' Market to malls and big box establishments, Prince George offers a complete variety of shopping experiences.
- Recreation – Eighteen outdoor and six indoor soccer fields, seven ice rinks, two aquatic facilities (one deemed world class), numerous gyms / self defense / dance clubs, 120 parks in city limits, 1600 lakes and streams within one hour, downhill and cross country ski facilities and much more…Prince George is known to be sports crazy!
- Transportation – Home to an international airport (YXS), VIA Rail daylight passenger train service, Greyhound and other charter bus services and an ever improving highway infrastructure, there are many ways to travel into and out of Prince George.
The above information was taken from theNatural Resources Canada, Atlas of Canada, and Statistics Canada websites as well as the Environment Canada website, which has more historical weather information than you could ever need!
Prince George also has an entry on wikipedia.
A Brief History
The origins of Prince George can be traced to the fur trading post of Fort George, established in 1807 by Simon Fraser. The post was centered in the centuries-old homeland of the Lheidli T'Enneh First Nation. Agricultural settlement around Fort George began about 1906 when it was realized that the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway (later CN Rail) would pass near the fur post. The railway arrived in 1914 and construction of the railway townsite commenced. The City of Prince George was incorporated on March 6, 1915.
What's In A Name?
There is a long-standing controversy over the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway's choice of the name Prince George for the community at the junction of the Fraser and Nechako rivers.
The company gave two reasons for its choice. In 1914 vice-president Morley Donaldson said it had been named after the ruling King George V. But, before he was crowned, King George was actually Prince Edward, so the explanation seems unlikely.
In an internal company note written in December 1911, Grand Trunk Pacific president Charles Hays put forth another reason for the choice of the name. He said the name Prince George had been chosen because it would ensure that the company's new townsite was "permanently distinguished from the numerous towns now called Fort George, South Fort George, etc., which are in the vicinity" and also make it clear none of the other towns carried the company's endorsement.
When E.J. Chamberlin, who had succeeded Hays as president of the company, announced in 1913 that Prince George would be the official name of the new townsite, businessmen in Hammond's Fort George townsite launched an attack through the provincial government to have the new name set aside. They felt it threatened the future of their fledgling community by creating confusion about the true location of the townsite.
The businessmen forwarded a petition which read in part: "If there is one thing B.C. has stood for in the past it is that the works of those who have rough graded the paths of progress...shall not ruthlessly and unreasonably be torn from under them."
But it was all to no avail and the Prince George townsite was officially registered in Victoria.
In recent years a third explanation has arisen for the choice of Prince George as the name of the city. It holds that the city was named after Prince George, the youngest brother of King George VI and the uncle of Queen Elizabeth II.
Prince George, who later became the Duke of Kent, was the fourth of King George V's five children. He married the elegant Greek princess Marina in 1934. The couple had three children: Edward, Alexandra, and Michael.
Prince George was killed in an air crash in Scotland in August 1942 while serving as a wing commander in the Royal Air Force. His flight from Invergordon to Iceland aboard a Sunderland flying boat had run into a storm in northwestern Scotland, and the plane crashed into the side of a mountain.
Bev Christensen. Railways, Rivers, and Timbers
Canada: Windsor Publications, Ltd. History Books Division, 1989.
Are you interested in finding out more about the history of Prince George? The Prince George Public Library has a wonderful collection of links to local history sites and sources of information. We also have a mayors history page, a street history page as well as a short history of our City Hall.
Prince George Facts and Figures such as population and demographics are available from Initiatives Prince George.
- Gazebo at Cottonwood Island Park -
Today's Prince George
Known as BC's northern capital, Prince George is a bustling city of over 76,000 people situated at the crossroads of Highway 97 (north-south) and Highway 16 (east-west), also the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers.
Wood drives the local economy, with forestry, plywood manufacture, 12 sawmills and three pulp mills as major employers and customers. 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.
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 37 elementary, 8 secondary, 2 junior secondary, 1 middle school and 8 private schools. Post-secondary education choices include the regional College of New Caledonia (CNC), which offers two-year university 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.
The University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) is the first new university to be built in Canada in over 25 years. 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 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 offers spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains to the east.
Prince George Airport provides access to the world through Air Canada and WestJet while Central Mountain Air, Northern Thunderbird fly to regional and smaller centres. Both CNR freight and BC Rail freight lines operate out of Prince George as well as VIA rail passenger service. Some major trucking lines accommodate the region. Greyhound Bus Lines provides daily bus service, and PG Transit buses serve the city.
- Bridge at Paddlewheel Park -
Recreation facilities include 116 playgrounds and parks, plus tennis courts
, ice rinks
, two swimming pools
and an 11 kilometre riverfront trail system
. Four provincial parks in the region provide downhill, cross-country and heli-skiing. Prince George has a WHL
hockey team, the
and a 7,000 seat multipurpose arena, the CN Centre
, as well as a BCJHL
team, the Prince George Spruce Kings
. An art gallery
, craft guild, theatre workshop, symphony
, Civic/Convention Centre