There is an infectious, energetic rhythm in Fort St. John, a friendly city that has the second youngest population in British Columbia. Optimism, wealth, and good, clean fun are in the hearts of every resident. Proclaimed as the Music Capital of Northern BC in 2009, Fort St. John is alive with the sound of music all year round.
Outside the city limits, a mosaic of croplands grow under the warm summer skies, creating a patchwork that reaches out to the area's deep, clean lakes and lush forests. Here adventurers, recreational enthusiasts, and wildlife share thousands of acres of pristine wilderness playground.
While our long hot summer days are filled with water-skiing, hiking, camping and horseback riding, our bright, wooly winters create the perfect playing fields for the avid sledders, ice fishermen, cross-country skiers and hunters.
The "Aurora borealis" otherwise known as the Northern Lights is one of nature's amazing attributes and can best be seen on a clear, winter night right around Fort St. John.
Fort St. John is the place for adventure, no matter the season. A place where weather extremes are embraced for the challenge they offer and the satisfaction they reward.
Historically, Fort St. John traces its roots back to the end of the 18th century, when Alexander Mackenzie opened a series of forts along the Peace River to service the fur traders.
At the end of World War I, many veterans moved westward to the fertile agricultural lands on both sides of the Peace River, and formed the population base for the tiny hamlet of Fort St. John. In 1942, the Alaska Highway was completed which sparked a population boom and the discovery of high-grade oil in 1951 that set the city's course as British Columbia's Oil & Gas Capital.
Fort St. John is now home to more than 19,000 people and is the largest regional centre in northeastern British Columbia serving 60,000 people in the area.
Fort St. John is located on a plateau above the Peace River Valley 73 km (45.5 mi) northwest of Dawson Creek and 387 km (240 mi) southeast of Fort Nelson. Fort St. John is also accessible year-round by air with daily flights to/from major Western Canadian locations. Car rentals are available from the airport. A daily bus service serves Fort St. John from all major cities.
The Fort St. John North Peace Museum tells the story of the region from First Nations' settlements to the oil and gas industries of today. Explore a tepee, trapper's cabin, blacksmith's shop, 1930's dentist's office, hospital room and much more.
The North Peace Cultural Centre is home to a 400+ seat live theatre showcasing musical, theatrical and other performances year-round.
Approximately 100 km (60 mi) west of Fort St. John is the Peace Canyon Dam. A self-guided tour will take you back to the pioneer days of the area, the construction of the dam, and to the discovery of dinosaur tracks in the canyon. A short distance away is the WAC Bennett Dam where your experience begins with interactive displays in the Visitor Centre; you then get to enjoy a movie on the building of the dam. Then don a hard hat, jump onthe bus, and head down the hill for your underground tour of one of the largest powerhouses in the world.
Fish Creek Community Forest features more than 4 km (2.5 mi) of interconnecting trails for people of all abilities. The trails range from flat terrain to challenging hills.
Mountain bikers can enjoy hundreds of kilometres of trails including cross-country trails in Beatton Provincial Park and the demanding Beatton River trails. Beginners can try out the paved trails running parallel to the City's south-east, north-east, and the connection to the west bypass roads.
There is an abundance of fish in the many lakes in and around Fort St. John. Northern Pike, Bull Trout, Rainbow Trout, Burbot, Whitefish are just some of the species found in the area. Local Visitor Centres can provide a Fishing Guide and Regulations.
Fort St. John is home to two golf courses. Fort St. John Link's Golf Course is a par 36, 9-hole course that boast #6 as their signature hole with a scenic 116 yard tee shot over a shallow ravine. Lakepoint Golf & Country Club just outside of town is a championship 18-hole course with driving range, restaurant, lessons and a pro shop.
Learn about the hard-working pioneers who built Fort St. John into what it is today. Start off at the Visitor Centre and wind your way through the downtown core to view the historic panels and discover the many interesting characters that helped shape the town starting back in the 1930s.
Come celebrate the arrival of the new year at British Columbia's largest winter ice festival. Held in mid-January the annual High On Ice Festival includes an ice carving competition, ice fishing, children's entertainment and more.
Background Photo Credit: Tourism British Columbia