Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior


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New Condition: New Soft cover. Save for Later. About this Item Liz Bryan explores and celebrates the amazing landscapes of British Columbia and traces the early history of this, Canada's western-most province. Driving instructions and maps complement the text, and Bryan's colour photographs demonstrate the spectacular beauty of British Columbia. Bookseller Inventory Ask Seller a Question.

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Country Roads of British Columbia is an invitation to celebrate the province's scenic heartland and to learn a little of the history of this westernmost province. Driving instructions and maps complement the text, and Bryan's colour photographs show just how beautiful British Columbia is. Our opening hours are from 11a. Monday to Saturday. Click on the Fireside Bookshop name above for more contact information. The west-facing mountains of Vancouver Island receive more than 2, mm of annual precipitation, whereas the east-coast lowland records only about to 1, mm.

The western slopes of the Coast Mountains accumulate 1, to 3, mm annually, of which a high percentage is snowfall. However, the Okanagan Valley receives a mere mm of annual precipitation. The well-publicized mild, wet winters and cool, dry summers associated with British Columbia are characteristic only of the southwest; the rest of the province experiences temperature conditions similar to those on the plains of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

About 60 per cent of British Columbia is forested, accounting for approximately The geology of most mountainous areas is favourable to mineralization, and BC is no exception. A wide range of metals has been discovered throughout the mountainous part of the province, including lead , zinc , gold , silver , molybdenum , copper and iron. The Peace River Lowland , northeast of the Rocky Mountains, has a different geological base consisting of younger, sedimentary rocks which have been the sources of petroleum , natural gas and coal. BC has the largest provincial potential for electric power generation, as the heavy precipitation, steep mountain slopes and large, interior drainage basins are ideal physical conditions for the production of hydroelectric power.

However, some of the large interior rivers have not been harnessed because it would damage the habitat of the Pacific salmon which spawn in the headwaters of coastal and interior rivers flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The balance between economic development and environmental protection is particularly troublesome in British Columbia, which relies heavily on renewable resources. The salmon fishery has been threatened by overfishing and the destruction of marine and river habitats in some places, and some of British Columbia's scarce agricultural land has been lost to roads, housing and industry.

Early provincial governments were primarily concerned with rapid development to promote local employment. However, especially since the Second World War , much legislation has been enacted to preserve the environment and natural resources. The success of reforestation programs has been questioned, but forestry is being managed by the principle of "sustained yield.

Fishing is confined to certain places and times, and a freeze was placed on changing the use of agricultural land in The British Columbia Ecological Reserves Act set aside numerous reserves of representative ecosystems. Metropolitan Vancouver is the largest city in the province. There are three additional metropolitan areas: Abbotsford-Mission , Kelowna and Victoria , the capital. John , Terrace and Williams Lake.

In , the sectors employing the most British Columbians were retail, health care and social assistance, and accommodation and food services. The unemployment rate was 6. Similar to other provinces, the top ethnic origins reported in the Census reflected European roots the top three were English, Canadian and Scottish. There is also a relatively significant Indigenous population 5.

In the midth century Chinese people began working in the mines of the Cariboo, and in the early s many more Chinese were brought to BC as labourers for the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway CPR. Afterwards many of them settled in Vancouver, and a smaller "Chinatown" also arose in Victoria. Japanese Canadians also settled in southwestern BC between and As in other parts of Canada, the percentage of people of British origin has declined rapidly since Stirred up by politicians of all parties, fears were rampant that British Columbia's future as a "white province" was threatened.

The population of Japanese and Chinese was less than 40, in , but their concentration in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island, combined with the restricted forms of employment available to them, made them conspicuous. Because they were hard-working and forced to take lower wages the Japanese and Chinese population was considered unfair competition by the unions and the agricultural community.

Political discrimination against non-whites in BC finally ended after the Second World War when the Chinese and Hindu populations were enfranchised in , and the Japanese in Since the near majority of people in BC have some British background and are English-speaking, as in other parts of Canada, they are predominantly Christian about 45 per cent according to the National Household Survey.

Those claiming no religious affiliation numbered just over 44 per cent. The coasts and interior valleys of British Columbia were first occupied sometime after the last Ice Age. Occupation of some sites in BC has been confirmed by carbon dating at about 6,—8, years ago. The people of the Northwest Coast lived in autonomous villages of to 1, people and had access to a particularly bountiful environment that provided abundant shellfish, salmon and even whales. Groups living along the coast used a variety of fishing tools and techniques, and used forest resources to build large and sophisticated plank houses.

The coastal people concentrated along the lower reaches of the major salmon rivers.

The interior inhabitants, such as the Carrier , Interior Salish and Kootenay were generally nomadic and depended on hunting. Those groups living in the Subarctic region of the interior generally fished and hunted moose and caribou, while those living in the southern interior had a milder climate. The availability of salmon made it possible for the groups living in the southern interior to winter in small villages.

Due to its distance from the eastern coast of Canada and the barrier to east-west movement created by the mountains, the Pacific Northwest was very difficult for early Europeans to reach and was the last part of North America they explored. The first permanent European settlement came with the development of the fur trade in the early 19th century. A flurry of activity followed the discovery of gold on the lower and middle Fraser River see Fraser River Gold Rush , resulting in an inland system of supply and transportation along the Fraser River to the Cariboo Mountains. By the s more permanent mining towns began to dot the valleys of the southeast — each supported by local forestry, small farms and complex rail, road and water transport.

In contrast, on the southwest coast settlement was more urban and commercial. From to Victoria, the capital, was the main administrative and commercial settlement, and the supply centre for interior and coastal resource development. Vancouver, on Burrard Inlet north of the mouth of the Fraser River, was selected as the site for the western terminal of the CPR in Vancouver soon replaced Victoria as the commercial centre and became the main port for both coastal and interior products to move to world markets. Overall, British Columbia developed contrasting coastal and interior settlement patterns which remained the same throughout the 20th century, although densities increased.

The population has always been primarily urban, living in the southwest region. The remaining population is dispersed across the southern half of the province, mainly occupying the north-south valleys or resource-based settlements along the main transportation lines. The only major farming populations live in the Okanagan Valley and dispersed along the highway between Kamloops and Prince George.

These linear population clusters are separated from each other by unoccupied mountain ranges. With the exception of an urban and agricultural cluster in the Peace River area of the northeast, few people live north of Prince George and Prince Rupert. Europeans arrived at the northwest coast much later than they did other areas of the continent.

Within a few years British traders came by sea and developed a flourishing fur trade with coastal Aboriginal peoples.


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This Nootka Sound Controversy was settled by the Nootka Conventions of —94, which did not determine ownership, but gave equal trading rights to both countries. British claims were strengthened after when ships under George Vancouver carried out a careful three-year mapping of the coast from Oregon to Alaska. Vancouver named many of the bays, inlets and coastal landform features. In this period of worldwide European colonialism, there was no concern among European governments and businessmen that this area was already occupied by Aboriginal peoples. He entered the region from the east via the Peace and Upper Fraser rivers, and explored westward across the Chilcotin Plateau and through the Coast Mountains to the long inlet at Bella Coola.

Two other members of the North West Company, Simon Fraser and David Thompson , explored other parts of the interior early in the 19th century. In Fraser reached the mouth of the river which now bears his name, and in Thompson found the mouth of the Columbia River after exploring the river routes of southeastern BC. For about 50 years, while eastern North America was being occupied and settled by European agricultural people and dotted with commercial cities, the mountainous western part of the continent remained little-known territory on the fringes of fur-trade empires controlled from eastern cities.

In the s American settlers began to move into the southern part of this region, and refused to recognize the authority of the British company. Conflicting territorial claims were settled in the Oregon Treaty , which established the southern boundary of BC along the 49th parallel, with the exception of Vancouver Island. In anticipation of this result the HBC had moved its headquarters to newly-established Fort Victoria in In the British government granted Vancouver Island to the HBC for colonization, and in James Douglas , an official of the company, became governor of the new colony.

In Douglas established a legislative assembly for Vancouver Island. At mid-century the only non-Aboriginal settlements within the boundaries of present-day British Columbia were fur trade posts on the coast, such as Victoria, Nanaimo and Fort Langley , and in the interior, such as Kamloops, Fort later Prince George and Fort St. This relatively quiet period of history ended in when gold was discovered in the sand bars along the Lower Fraser River. The ensuing gold rushes brought thousands of fortune hunters from many parts of the world, but mainly from the California goldfields. Many fortune hunters came by boat from San Francisco, crowding into inadequate facilities in Victoria to buy supplies and receive permits.

Prospecting took place upstream along the banks and bars of the Fraser River during The town of Yale was established as a trans-shipping centre at the south end of Fraser Canyon, and as the eastern end of water transport from the Fraser River mouth. Gold seekers walked the tributaries of the Fraser River and major gold finds were made east of Quesnel. The boomtown of Barkerville arose at the western edge of the Cariboo Mountains as the chief service town for the Cariboo goldfields. At its peak in the early s Barkerville likely held a fluctuating population of about 10,, making it the largest settlement in western Canada at that time.

In order to establish government and maintain law and order around the goldfields, the British established a separate mainland colony of British Columbia in under the authority of James Douglas, who also remained the governor of Vancouver Island. The new settlement of New Westminster , located slightly inland on the north bank of the Fraser River delta, was proclaimed capital of the new colony in and controlled river traffic entering the Fraser River en route to the interior. In the early s the amazing feat of building the Cariboo Road along the walls of the Fraser Canyon was accomplished in order to move supplies to interior settlements.

In , with gold production declining and people leaving, the British government united the two colonies to reduce administrative costs.

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New Westminster was the capital of the combined colony for two years before protests from the older capital, Victoria, resulted in the seat of government being moved there in The resulting physical separation of the capital from the majority of the people and economic activity on the mainland later led to communication problems for the region, and many government services and offices had to be duplicated on the mainland. After the British colony on the West Coast debated whether it should join the new Confederation of eastern provinces known as Canada.


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In the 12, non-Aboriginal residents of BC agreed to enter the Dominion of Canada on the condition that the federal government build a transcontinental railway to link it with the eastern provinces. The federal government agreed, but the new province waited, rather impatiently at times, for 15 years before the Canadian Pacific Railway reached the southwest coast. See also British Columbia and Confederation.

The union with Canada was an unhappy one at first. The new province ran heavily into debt; the cost of governing a large mountainous area with few people was very high, and revenues from resource users were low. More than one-third of the province's white residents lived in or near Victoria. Even by the white population of 24, was less than the estimated 25, Aboriginal peoples.

The hoped-for expansion of trade with East Asia did not develop immediately with the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in However, the railway did bring people to the port of Vancouver and by that city had surpassed Victoria in population. Vancouver's population of almost 27, in had been reached within 15 years, whereas after 58 years of occupation Victoria had only 23, people.

Around the turn of the 20th century entrepreneurs came to British Columbia to exploit the province's vast resources. A salmon-cannery industry was established along the coast. There were sawmills all around the shores of Georgia Strait and particularly along eastern Vancouver Island, and the first pulp and paper mill was completed at Powell River in The major expansion of the forest industry came, however, after the First World War when the Panama Canal opened and gave access to markets around the north Atlantic region.

Since access to capital and natural resources for export was more important than ownership of farmland, BC attracted a different type of settler from those who settled on the land on the Prairies and across eastern Canada. In interior BC in the s the major resource development and settlement centred on the mining activity in the Kootenay region of the southeast.

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Prospectors, mainly from mining camps in western Montana and Idaho, moved northward along the valleys and discovered gold and base metals in the area west of Kootenay Lake. Nelson became the main service, supply and administrative centre, with a population of about 4, in Railways extended northward into the interior from the US, and the CPR built a line westward through the Crowsnest Pass in to bring coal from Fernie to smelters in the mining centres.

By about , however, many of the mines had closed and some towns were abandoned, although other mines opened in later years. Agriculture brought settlers to the south-central interior. At the time of the early s Cariboo Gold Rush ranching was established in the grassland valleys and rolling basins across the southern interior plateau. Irrigation was developed west of Kamloops and in the northern Okanagan Valley early in the 20th century. The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway west from Edmonton through the Upper Fraser, Bulkley and Skeena valleys was built in —14 and was intended to give Canada a second gateway through the mountains to the Pacific coast.

After the railway was built Prince George became a minor sawmill centre, with rail access eastward to the growing housing market in the Prairie provinces. However, the port and rail terminal at Prince Rupert never developed the anticipated volume of traffic, partly because there was little need for incoming freight.

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Despite its hopes, the small town remained mainly a fisheries centre. After about , however, the improved transportation system did much to integrate the interior resource economies and settlements with coastal collection, processing and management centres. Appropriately, the theme of Expo 86 , held in Vancouver, was transportation and communications. Thousands of Canadians migrated to BC, attracted by the mild climate and perceived economic opportunities, joining thousands of other immigrants from Asia.

These people not only provided labour and management for the growing commercial and service occupations, they were also consumers of goods, services and entertainment. In the 21st century, BC is one of Canada's most prosperous and fastest-growing provinces. Resource-based activities have been the basis of BC's economy throughout its modern history. Aboriginal people depended on the resources of land and sea for their food, clothing and exchange.


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The first items of trade desired by Europeans were sea otter pelts from the coast and animal furs from the interior. Europeans were primarily attracted by mineral resources, notably gold in the central interior and southeast, and also by coal on Vancouver Island, near Nanaimo and Cumberland. By the s the tall, straight coniferous trees of the coast forest were being cut for lumber to supply other Pacific Rim settlements, and salmon were being canned at numerous river-mouth canneries to be shipped throughout the world.

Local manufacturing consisted primarily of some first-stage processing of these resources. As population increased in the 20th century and concentrated in or near the ports of the southwest, consumer-goods manufacturing began in the southwestern cities. This was aided by the high cost of transporting manufactured goods from eastern Canada and the US, and by an ample supply of hydroelectric power. Agricultural settlement expanded across the lowland and delta of the Lower Fraser River.

The management and financial activities related to resource development remained in the coastal cities, mainly Vancouver. Important crops include grapes, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, pears and apricots. Farming in BC had its origins in supplying the midth century trading posts. The growing cities of Vancouver and Victoria stimulated agricultural expansion in the Fraser Valley and on Vancouver Island.

In the s fruit and vegetable growing were established in the Okanagan and beef ranching in the Cariboo region. The small farms of the Lower Fraser River have the longest frost-free season in Canada and produce dairy and livestock products, vegetables, small fruits, and specialty crops such as blueberries, cranberries and flower bulbs.

In the dry southern interior, agriculture flourishes only where irrigation systems have been established. The narrow benches and terraces above Lake Okanagan are one of Canada's three main fruit-growing regions and an important grape-growing area. The small, intensive farms produce apples, pears, peaches, cherries, plums, grapes and apricots. There are cattle ranches across small areas of grassland on the southern Interior Plateau, but not enough meat is produced to supply even the Vancouver market. Despite the scarcity of high-quality agricultural land in BC, in the period from —71 urban sprawl was consuming over 6, hectare of prime agricultural land per year.

About 20 per cent of the prime agricultural land of the Lower Fraser and 30 per cent of the Okanagan had already been converted when in the Land Commission Act froze the disposition of agricultural land for non-agricultural use, despite the great demand of it for housing, industry, hobby farms and country estates. Forestry was the main component of BC's economy throughout the 20th century and continues to play an important role in the 21st century. Employment in this sector has declined over the past several years due to a variety factors, including the collapse of the US housing market after the financial crisis and the negative impact of the mountain pine beetle on interior forests.

Exports of newsprint have been particularly affected by the growing popularity of online news sources and have declined by 80 per cent in the last two decades. After the middle of the 19th century lumber mills were established in the southwest to supply the building needs of growing settlements and to export to nearby Pacific settlements. Temporary sawmills also operated near all of the scattered mining communities in the interior; some of these mills, located on the two main railway lines, were able to export lumber eastward to the growing Prairie towns in the early 20th century.

Most lumber companies extended their logging camps northward along the coast and transported the logs by water to large sawmills around the Georgia Strait region. With minor exceptions, such as near Prince Rupert, this pattern of north coast primary cutting and south coast processing and export has been maintained. Pulp and paper mills were established at a few places around the Strait of Georgia early in the 20th century, but these mills did not have large markets for newsprint and paper similar to the markets in the eastern US available to eastern Canadian mills.

Unlike eastern mills, the pulp and paper mills of BC became integrated into existing sawmill operations and received much of their wood fibre raw material from product residue, such as sawdust and chips from adjoining lumber mills. The pulp and paper industry remained coastal until the mids, when mills were opened in several places across the interior.

Throughout the s the interior produced about half of the value of provincial forest products. Early in the 20th century small sawmills disappeared along the coast, and after interior small sawmills also disappeared. These were replaced by large centrally located sawmills, sometimes with adjoining pulp and paper or paper mills. Although water transport, often in self-dumping log barges, is still the chief means of transporting logs to the mills along the coast, water transport is rarely used in the interior — unlike the river-based log transport system which evolved in eastern Canada.

Interior logs and finished forest products are all moved by road or rail and therefore all forestry-based settlements are located on the main railways or highways. In —87 the BC legislature passed three new acts dealing with the responsibilities of the Ministry of Forests in managing, protecting and conserving forest resources. Pressures on the industry increase as demands grow for preservation of the forests for recreation, wildlife, aesthetics, and as a resource for future generations. In the mids the industry, after dramatically increasing its penetration of the US market, was under pressure from US producers for alleged unfair competition see Softwood Lumber Dispute.

This dispute led to years of bitter negotiations and significant reductions in lumber exports to the US see also Forest and; Forest Economics. In the late s the forestry sector came under increasing criticism for its forestry practices and the harvesting of old growth forests. Preservationists won some victories Carmanah Valley and Clayoquot Sound after initiating national and international campaigns. Through the Forest Reserve Act the provincial government is trying to prevent similar future confrontations by securing a commercial forest land base. Coal, copper and molybdenum make up the bulk of the materials mined.

Gold, silver, lead and zinc are also of significance. Between and the Kootenay region of southeastern BC became one of the most important mining areas of Canada. Immense coal deposits in the Fernie-Crowsnest Pass area were used by the Trail smelter and by the railways until both converted to diesel fuel. Both metallurgical and thermal coal is exported from southeastern BC to Japan and elsewhere.

The younger sedimentary rocks of northeastern BC, like those of the interior plains of Alberta, are sources of coal, petroleum and natural gas.

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The latter two products are transported by pipelines to urban markets in southwestern BC and the adjoining northwestern states of the US. Throughout the 20th century metal mines have opened and closed across the southern interior from Grand Forks to Princeton. In the early s mining in the area was highlighted by large, open-pit copper mines southwest of Kamloops. Other metal mines across the Interior Plateau from near Williams Lake to Babine Lake in the northwest have produced intermittently. Mines have also operated intermittently along the coast of BC for more than a century.

Base-metal mines opened and closed near Stewart , northeast of Prince Rupert, and at several places on Vancouver Island. Iron ore and copper, to name just two examples, have been exported to Japan from coastal mines. British Columbia produces a surplus of energy in the form of electrical power, coal, petroleum and natural gas. BC Hydro , a Crown corporation , is one of largest electric utilities in Canada. In addition to these Crown corporations the province also has several private utilities companies, such as FortisBC, which owns transmission and distribution lines that connect with BC Hydro.

Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior
Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior
Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior
Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior
Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior
Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior
Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior Country Roads of British Columbia: Exploring the Interior

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