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Home / Northern British Columbia / Yellowhead Highway 16 / Terrace


A Step Back in Time

The junction of the Skeena and the Kitsumkalum Rivers was originally the site of a Tsimshian Indian Village. Fur trading and gold prospecting were the principal activities along the Pacific Shore, including the Skeena area from 1770 to 1900. In the early 1890's, a steamboat route was established up the Skeena as far as Hazelton, and Tom Thornhill settled permanently near what is now known as "Little Canyon" on the south side of the Skeena.

In 1905, George Little staked his pre-emption across the Skeena River, and purchased land in what is now known as Terrace. He gave land to the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, resulting in the creation of a railway station in Terrace, rather than at Kitsumkalum.

Up to World War II, the town existed as a sawmill community, having incorporated in 1927. In the early 1950's, Terrace began to serve as a distribution centre for the new town of Kitimat and became an important wood processing centre with the establishment of the Canadian Cellulose Company.

Terrace was once known as the cedar pole capital of the world. Over 50,000 poles were manufactured annually to supply many parts of North America with telephone and electric power poles. The world's tallest pole (50 metres) was cut in Terrace and is currently standing in New York City.

The city's mascot is the Kermodei bear, a rarely seen cream-coloured subspecies of black bear. Unique to BC's north coast, the "spirit bear" is increasingly imperilled by habitat loss. 


Terrace, the regional business centre for the area, is located approximately 885 km (550 mi) by air northwest of Vancouver. The City is located on a series of natural flat benches, or terraces (hence the name) within the broad Skeena River Valley. The relatively close proximity to the ocean (60 km or 37 mi), the low altitude (60 metres - 196 feet above sea level), and its location within the shelter of the Coast Mountains has created a natural greenhouse effect. Rainfall is less than half of that found on the coast and temperatures are moderate - warm enough to permit the growing of fruit orchards and specialty crops.

Terrace is located 210  km (130 mi) west of Smithers and 140 km (87 mi) east of Prince Rupert on Yellowhead Highway 16.

Things to See and Do
  • Lakelse Lake Provincial Park

Lakelse Lake Provincial Park is a favorite summertime hangout for locals and visitors alike. Located just a 20 minute drive south of Terrace on Hwy 37, the water is irresistible on a hot summer's day. Furlong Bay - the Lakelse Lake picnic site - or Gruchy's Beach offer excellent picnic areas.

  • Heritage Park Museum

Heritage Park Museum is nestled in the heart of Terrace and boasts some of the most impressive original historic log structures in B.C. On almost two acres of beautiful parkland, with wonderful views of the surrounding mountains, this museum is a must-see for any traveler staying or passing through Terrace. Exhibiting the "Pioneer" past of the Terrace region, the visitor will learn about forestry, farming, mining and traditional trapping while touring through exhibits housed in the eight historical log buildings dating as far back as 1910. The museum tells of the settlement of the Terrace region by ambitious and brave people looking for new and exciting opportunities. The main museum building, the Kalum Lake Hotel, was originally set along the shores of Kalum Lake during the 1930's and hosted people from all over North America wanting to experience what Northern BC had to offer.

  • Kleanza Creek Provincial Park

Kleanza Creek Provincial Park is located amongst the forests and rock canyons in the Coast Mountains. Occupying frontage on the Skeena River and on both sides of Kleanza Creek, the park is of historical significance. Kleanza means gold in the Gitxsan language and it was the gold that influenced the early history of the park site. Placer first mined for gold in the creek in the late 1890's.

  • The George Little House

Explore the restored George Little House, home to the founding father. The House incorporates the Via Rail station, artists' wares and a First Nations' carving studio.  

  • Fishing

Freshwater angling adventures are only minutes away from Terrace, offering unparalleled opportunities for salmon, steelhead and trout. Saltwater fishing for halibut, ocean salmon, crabs, etc., are only a short drive away - to either Kitimat and the Douglas Channel or Prince Rupert and the Pacific Ocean. The world record for catching (and releasing) a 99-pound Chinook Salmon is held by a visiting German tourist who had her first fishing experience in the Skeena River in 2001. Previously, the world-record was a 92 pound Chinook salmon.

There are many fishing guides and charter operators available to suit your fishing adventure. Information on seasonal spawning runs and catch restrictions is vital. During the main months of the fishing season, the guides are usually booked, so plan early and call ahead to make sure your trip is all that you want it to be. Terrace - Fishing on the Skeena River - Mark Margerison

Although some lakes are home to only one species of fish, others may contain a dozen or more, such as rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout, Dolly Varden, mountain whitefish, lake whitefish and burbot. The fall months herald the arrival of sea-run steelhead, sockeye, Chinook and coho salmon on their spawning runs.

  • Hiking

From the steep, rocky Terrace Mountain Trail located in the heart of the city, to the paved Grand Trunk Pathway, there are numerous trails in Terrace for any ability and interest. The challenging Terrace Mountain Trail is a stunning hiking trail located in the heart of Terrace. It offers a steady hike to the top of the mountain, which opens up to incredible views of the city below.

  • Winter Activities

Many people are attracted to Terrace as a base for some of the best skiing the province has to offer. Winter in the Skeena Valley means snow and lots of it. The Onion Lakes Ski trails are a network of 25 km (15 mi) of groomed cross-country ski trails including 5 km (3 mi) of lit trails allowing for both day and night skiing. Snowmobile on trails at Mount Maroon, Copper and Sterling Mountains. 

  • View the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Terrace is one of the cities far enough north to view the amazing Northern Lights. The night sky is illuminated with splashes of colour to create one of the most beautiful displays to be found in nature.

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Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia

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