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Telkwa is a small community that lies in the Bulkley Valley along the Yellowhead Highway 16 in Northern British Columbia. The town is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape, and has a rich history and culture. There are many provincial parks in the area where you can enjoy numerous outdoor activities including fishing and hiking. Also, be sure to check out Narnia Farms, a certified organic herb farm with plantings of common herbs for harvesting plus gorgeous herb display gardens, a dye garden, culinary herb garden and a tea garden.
The Bulkley Valley and north to the Yukon border support an abundant and diverse population of wildlife. Certified guides offer world class wilderness adventures from hunting, trail rides, and angling excursions, to horseback expeditions, wildlife viewing and photo safaris. Moose inhabit willow-rich river valleys, and sub boreal timber areas. Grizzly and black bear are numerous throughout this area. In fall, the bears are found feeding in salmon streams. Stone sheep are also common in the northern region in the mountainous terrain of the Stikine and Cassiar Mountains. Additionally, mountain caribou can be found in the high alpine tundra and plateau country from Tweedsmuir Park to north of the 56th parallel.
For those with an interest in history, the Telkwa Museum, which is housed in the original 1920 school building, is an excellent place to learn about the town’s heritage. Visitors can also take a walking tour of 26 restored heritage buildings including the 1910 St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, Hong Chong’s Laundry and Bath House and the Interior Creamery.
There has been some debate over the years as to the Origin of the name Telkwa; however it is commonly accepted that Telkwa is a native term meaning the “meeting of the waters”. It describes the picturesque joining of the Bulkley and Telkwa Rivers in the heart of the town. The history of Telkwa has also ebbed and flowed with the dramatic changes of the community with the Telegraph Trail, the rush of settlers at the turn of the Century, and the arrival of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.
In 1914 Telkwa suffered a major fire and many of the downtown buildings were destroyed. Although the efforts to rebuild started immediately, many businesses were expanding and moved to the new Grand Trunk Pacific town site of Smithers.
Today a number of buildings remain as a tribute to Telkwa’s heritage and tell the stories of pioneering in the Bulkley Valley. Located on Highway 16 in downtown Telkwa stands the first pioneer church, St. Stephen’s Anglican Church, which was built in 1910 and serviced by the “traveling parson”. The first main school house, built in 1920, also remains and today houses the town’s Museum. Many other residential and commercial buildings also remain as testaments of Telkwa’s past and can be toured with a self-guided walking tour of the downtown core.
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