Sightseeing in Alberta/British Columbia

The moose was at the processor and we could not pick him up for two days.  With nothing else to do and everyone in the camp having got their moose, we decided to go touring for a day.  Alberta is rich in history and great places to visit, but we were up north and west so they suggested we visit Dawson Creek, British Columbia, just a couple of hour drive north of the lodge.

On our drive up to and from Dawson Creek the highway was peppered with these signs warning of moose crossings.  We did not see any signs warning of deer crossings.

This was a really nice drive with lots of scenery.  To the west we could see the mountains in British Columbia with the snow covered peaks.  It was a beautiful drive.

 Dawson Creek derives its name from the creek of the same name that runs through the community. The creek was named after George Mercer Dawson by a member of his land survey team when they passed through the area in August 1879. Once a small farming community, Dawson Creek became a regional center after the western terminus of the Northern Alberta Railways was extended there in 1932. The community grew rapidly in 1942 as the US Army used the rail terminus as a transshipment point during construction of the Alaska Highway. In the 1950s, the city was connected to the interior of British Columbia via a highway and railway through the Rocky Mountains. Since the 1960s, growth has slowed.

Dawson Creek is located in the dry and windy prairie land of the Peace River Country. As the seat of the Peace River Regional District and a service center for the rural areas south of the Peace River, the city has been called the “Capital of the Peace”. It is also known as the “Mile 0 City”, referring to its location at the southern end of the Alaska Highway. It also has a heritage interpretation village, an art gallery, and a museum. Annual events include a fall fair and rodeo. 

Entering the city. 

The community that was formed by the creek was one of many farming communities established by European-Canadian settlers moving west through the Peace River Country. When the Canadian government began issuing homestead grants to settlers in 1912, the pace of migration increased. With the opening of a few stores and hotels in 1919 and the incorporation of the Dawson Creek Co-operative Union on May 28, 1921, Dawson Creek became a dominant business center in the area. After much speculation by land owners and investors, the Northern Alberta Railways built its western terminus 3 km (2 mi) from Dawson Creek.The golden spike was driven on December 29, 1930, and the first passenger train arrived on January 15, 1931. The arrival of the railway and the construction of grain elevators attracted more settlers and business to the settlement. The need to provide services for the rapidly growing community led Dawson Creek to incorporate as a village in May 1936. A small wave of refugees from the Sudetenland settled in the area in 1939 as World War II was beginning.The community exceeded 500 people in 1941.

 

Upon entering the war, the United States decided to build a transportation corridor to connect the US mainland to Alaska. In 1942, thousands of US Army personnel, engineers, and contractors poured into the city – the terminal of rail transport – to construct the Alaska Highway. The highway was completed in less than a year; even after the workers involved in its construction departed, population and economic growth continued. In February 1943, a major fire and explosion in a livery barn, packed with road-building supplies including dynamite, caused serious damage to the center of town; five people were killed and 150 injured. Dawson Creek became a  station during WWII in September 1944. The station disbanded in March 1946.

 

By 1951, Dawson Creek had more than 3,500 residents. In 1952, the John Hart Highway linked the town to the rest of the British Columbia Interior and Lower Mainland through the Rocky Mountains; a new southbound route, known locally as Tupper Highway, made the town a crossroads with neighboring Alberta. The next year, western Canada’s largest propane gas plant was built and federal government offices were established in town. In 1958, the extension of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway to the Peace from Prince George was completed, and the village was re-incorporated as a city. Between 1951 and 1961, the population of Dawson Creek more than tripled. The RCAF center reemerged on October 1, 1956 and was declared functional in 1958. It was disbanded a final time in March 1964.

 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 

The statue is a tribute to George Mercer Dawson who in 1879 lead a survey through the area and for whom the town is named.  Right in the center of town is a monument to the beginning of mile “0” of the Alaska Highway.  The Alaska Highway house is a fixture in the community.  We enjoyed our stay and walked around all the historic sites in the city.  A community of 12,500 residents, it was bustling and after a great lunch, we headed back to the lodge.

At the lodge we had another great meal as if we needed it, said our goodbyes and drove back to Spirit River for our last night in the 49 Motel.  Next morning it was off to the village of Hines Creek, Alberta.  With a population of 396 most of the people are employed in the forestry or oil business.  The Hines Creek General store is a jewel on the prairie.  Besides processing game for the hunters, cattle and hogs for the area, groceries for the surrounding area, the company ships beef sticks and jerky all over western Canada and specialty products on demand. 

The 585 pounds of meat was packed into 4 coolers to the top.  It was packed as tight as we could get it.  the lids were then sealed tight with duct tape all around the seams.  The meat had been sharp frozen to -40 degrees.  We were told not to worry about dry ice and with the sealing of the coolers and the temp to which the meat was frozen we would have no trouble.  

We didn’t and after a three day trip home the meat was as hard as when we put it in the coolers. 

Read the next blog as it will tell you all about going through the border into the U.S. and driving in Canada.  

 

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Good hunting, good fishing, and good luck.  Hank

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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