The area around British Columbia's Peace River Country remained largely unsettled by pioneers until 1912, when the Canadian government opened the land for homesteading. As settlers from North America and Europe arrived over the next decade, Dawson Creek became the area's main business centre. It remained a small community with a population numbering in the hundreds until 1941, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. Mindful of the need to protect North American sovereignty, the American and Canadian governments agreed to build a road linking northern Canada and Alaska. Dawson Creek was designated as "Mile Zero" for the Alaska Highway, and thousands of military and civilian workers poured into the village, turning it into a boomtown. During the 50s, after work on the Alaska Highway had been completed, the village experienced more growth. A railway and two more highways were built, linking Dawson Creek to other parts of BC. City status was achieved in 1958. Today, Dawson Creek is a city of 12,000 with an economy based on agriculture, forestry, oil & gas and tourism.
Dawson Creek is centrally located in the Peace River Country in the northeast corner of British Columbia. It is at the junction of four major highways (Hwys 97N, 97S, 2, and 49) and 73 km (45 mi) south of Fort St. John, 460 km (285 mi) northeast of Prince George.
A modern airport makes Dawson Creek well connected to the rest of the world. Central Mountain Air has 52 flights a week including non-stop service into Vancouver.
There is daily bus service to and from Edmonton, Prince George, Fort St. John and Fort Nelson and limited service to/from Whitehorse in the Yukon.
A Downtown Historic Walking Tour brochure will guide you through Dawson Creek and show you the city's historical, vibrant and quirky past including original photos and murals on the walls of the city's buildings.
Tour the Railway Station Museum located in the Northern Alberta Railways Park. View the video documentary on the history of the Alaska Highway, a northern wildlife display, the original 1931 living quarters of the station master and the railroad depot office.
The Dawson Creek Art Gallery is housed in a renovated 1930's-era grain elevator annex and features art, handicrafts and displays of historic photos.
The Alaska Highway House was opened in 2007 to showcase various exhibits and interactive displays about the Alaska Highway story. Included are fascinating WW 11 propaganda, video footage, war artifacts, a Willy jeep and regular screenings of the PBS documentary "Building the Alaska Highway".
The Walter Wright Pioneer Village is located in Mile O Park. Stroll the boardwalks with the complimentary village historic walking tour brochure. View heritage buildings, memorabilia and artifacts, antique vehicles and farm machinery. Savour the eleven colourful, themed gardens of Gardens North, picnic, swim and relax with the locals at Rotary Lake.
Dawson Creek provides a wealth of unique birding opportunities. The city is situated at the union between the Boreal Forests and the Taiga Plains. This creates an exceptional landscape allowing for a variety of habitats. In Dawson Creek the rolling golden plains give way to lush woodlands, steep valleys, cliffs, and a variety of rivers where an assortment of birds and animals can be found. The waterfowl refuge at McQueens Slough is a gold mine for nature enthusiasts. A network of boardwalks enable visitors to walk into the marsh without compromising the integrity of the natural habitat. Bear Mountain offers several trails and hikes to allow for viewing nature in a relaxed setting. Local woodland birds are prevalent at Kiskatinaw Park including the American redstart, Boreal owl, and the Canada warbler. Pouce Coupe Regional Park, located east of Dawson Creek on the banks of the Pouce Coupe River and Bissette Creek offer leisurely birding opportunities.
Success in the region's numerous golf courses lies inthe area's natural assets: rolling hills, meandering rivers, and virgin forests. Dawson Creek and the surrounding area have some amazing opportunities for the golfing enthusiast.
For a shorter course, the Dawson Creek Golf and Country Club has many demanding tee shots and is a risk-for-reward golf course with at least three drivable par-4's. Great golfers love it. Some say it has the toughest par-3 in the Peace Region. 2003 saw this local 18-hole golf course host the BC Golf Association Provincial Junior Championships.
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia