The town of Mackenzie was named after the great Scottish explorer, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, who traveled through this area in 1793 on his voyage to discover the Northwest Passage. He was the earliest known explorer and surveyor of Canada west of the Rocky Mountains.
The community reflects the spirit of adventure and discovery of its namesake. Fur traders, trappers, prospectors, squatters, missionaries and Hudson's Bay Company personnel traveled the region.
The District of Mackenzie was virtually carved out of the wilderness in the mid 1960s to service large pulp and lumber manufacturing facilities. A new "instant" town was created. In 1966, the District of Mackenzie was formally incorporated as a municipality.
Today, the township is a small, modern community of approximately 3,700 people nestled in the heart of the forest. Mackenzie is a recreational hub with trail systems, picturesque lakes and is gateway to Williston Lake, known as the "Biggest Dammed Lake in North America," created by the WAC Bennett Dam on the Peace River. This site celebrates the historical significance of Sir Alexander Mackenzie's journey through the area and includes a monument to Mackenzie's namesake.
Mackenzie is located on Hwy 39, 29 km (18 mi) from Hwy 97 North, situated at the base of the beautiful Omineca Mountain Range and positioned within the Rocky Mountain Trench at an elevation of 701 meters. Mackenzie is 185 km (115 mi) north of Prince George, 963 km (598 mi) from Vancouver, 710 km (441 mi) from Kamloops.
Mackenzie is home to the World's Largest Tree Crusher. During the 1960's, the tree crusher was used to remove non-merchantable timber from the Rocky Mountain Trench during the construction of the WAC Bennett Dam. This massive 175-ton machine can be seen today standing at the entrance of Mackenzie to remind people of the town's logging roots.
Located on Centennial Drive, the Mackenzie Museum is an excellent place to learn more about the history of Mackenzie, including the creation of Williston Lake, operation of the World's Largest Tree Crusher and retracing Alexander Mackenzie's 1793 cross Canada trek. The Mackenzie Arts Centre and Chamber of Commerce are situated in the same building. Visit the Arts Centre for a selection of local handcrafted gifts and souvenirs and the Chamber of Commerce provides visitors with a range of detailed information about places of interest and things to do in and around the Mackenzie area.
Nearby Williston Lake is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with an excellent beach for swimming, water adventure, camping areas, picnic tables and fishing opportunities. There is a boat launch and a natural amphitheatre as well as a monument of Sir Alexander Mackenzie.
Situated only five minutes east of Mackenzie is scenic Morfee Lake. Morfee Lake is popular for swimming, boating, waterskiing and fishing. The lake is divided into two sections by a large sandbar known as First Beach. During the winter month's ice fishing is popular here.
Morfee Mountain, accessible from a gravel road, offers awe-inspiring views of Williston Lake and beyond to the Rocky Mountains in the north. This is a popular place during the summer months for local mountain bikers, and during the winter months the abundance of powder snow provides excellent conditions for snowmobiling.
The John Dahl Regional Park offers over 4 km (2.5 mi) of trails ideal for cycling, hiking, jogging and cross-country skiing. This park is situated behind the Mackenzie Recreation Centre; enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the picnic tables overlooking the scenic and breathtaking mountain vistas and Morfee Lake.
Mackenzie boasts many lakes, rivers, streams and creeks for anyone looking to cast a line. Morfee Lake has Rainbow Trout, Grayling, Dolly Varden, Lake Trout and both Mountain and Lake Whitefish. At Williston Lake you will find Lake Trout, Rainbow, Whitefish, Kokanee, Grayling and Dolly Varden (Bull Trout). The many lakes in the area offer a wide variety of fish for all levels of angler.
During the winter months there are many activities for visitors to enjoy such as ice fishing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, and nearly 100 km (60 mi) of groomed snowmobile trails that run from the valley bottoms to mountain ridges. Sledding starts in December and goes until mid-May in the higher mountains. Trails vary from those for the less experienced to the challenging bowl climbing and wilderness sledding for the skilled rider. Cross-country ski trails are all available within Mackenzie's town limits, boasting 32 km (20 mi) of groomed trails and 2.5 km (1.5 mi) of lit trails. Powder King Resort is only a 45-minute drive from Mackenzie and offers phenominal downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Mackenzie Chamber of Commerce
88 Centennial Drive
Mackenzie, BC VOJ 2CD
Toll Free: 1-877-622-5360
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia