Dawson Creek History & Culture
Dawson Creek History
The city of Dawson Creek was named after Dr. George Mercer Dawson. He was a Geologist and Naturalist that led a surveying team through the area in 1879.
The town became an agricultural and farming community by European-Canadian settlers moving west. In 1912, the migration increased because the Canadian Government started issuing homestead grants to settlers.
By 1919, stores and hotels began opening. Dawson Creek became a business centre for the Northern BC area.
The population really began to spike in 1931, after the Northern Alberta Railways were built and a passenger train created a stop in the small town. A general store and hotel was moved two miles from it’s original location to make room for the train station.
In 1936, Dawson Creek became incorporated as a village. This ensured government attention and funding for services required due to the communities growth. By 1941, the town was home to over 500 people.
In 1942, the US built a transportation corridor connecting them to Alaska. This brought thousands of people from the US army during WWII. The highway was built from Dawson Creek to Delta Junction in Alaska. It was completed for security reasons to enable overland transportation. It also supplied the airstrips that made up the Northwest Staging Route. Construction began at the end of rail at Dawson Creek (Mile 0). The highway was named the “Alcan Highway ” (Alaska-Canadian) but was later renamed to Alaska Highway.
The following year, a fire caused serious damage to the city centre. 5 people were reported dead and 150 injured.
Dawson Creek continued to grow and had over 3,500 residents by 1951.
The John Hart Highway was built in 1952, through the Rocky Mountains. It connects Dawson Creek to other developments in BC. After that came the Tupper Highway, connecting Dawson Creek to Alberta.
Between 1951-1961 the population tripled. This was because western Canada’s largest propane gas plant was built. Therefore helping the economy grow. In addition, the extension of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, to the Peace from Prince George, completed.
Since the 1960’s the Dawson Creek population has slowly reached a plateau. However, it has always been slowly increasing.
In the 1970’s, the city built the Northern Lights College and the Dawson Creek Mall. Towns nearby, like Fort Saint John, developed into industrial and commercial areas.
Since 1992, Dawson Creek has experienced boundary expansions, industrial development, and extended sewer and water lines.
Today Dawson Creek has a population of over 12,000 people!
Dawson Creek history is still forming today, with continuous development and migration. The tourism industry is also booming, with more visitors travelling to the city each year.
Check out this link to learn more about Dawson Creek History and what the city is like today.
Dawson Creek Culture
Everything in Dawson Creek history leads to the rich culture that is alive in the city today.
Since it’s a small town, it is a tight-knit and family oriented community. There are lots of local community events and activities. These range from sporting events, to parades, to arts performances.
Most residents enjoy natural, outdoor festivities year-round. They appreciate the natural elements, that living in Northern BC provides. Therefore camping, fishing, and hiking are some of the most popular daily activities.
There are amazing views of the forests, mountains, and rivers. The peaceful environment makes Dawson Creek a great home for anyone looking to enjoy freedom and serenity.
In addition, there are historic and heritage sites for locals and guests to visit. There are also popular camping and RV spots available to residents or travellers.
The Dawson Creek culture is very laid back and fun. There are lots of other entertainment venues as well, like the Dawson Creek Movie Theatre Centre Cinema.
Check out our blog for more information on daily life in Dawson Creek!