Northern British Columbia
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NORTHERN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Prince George considers itself the capital of northern British Columbia. As any map will tell you, however, it actually lies in the centre of the province. Its geographic location has enabled it to become a hub not only for the railway, but also for road transport, since it lies at the intersection of Hwy. 16, which runs the width of the province, and Hwy. 97, which runs the length.
The Fraser Fort George Regional Museum (at the end of 20th Ave., 562-1612) stands on the very site where Fort George was erected in 1807. The museum is an excellent place to learn about the history of Prince George, from the arrival of Alexander Mackenzie and the beginning of the fur trade to the introduction and development of the forest industry.
Dawson Creek was named after Dr. George Dawson, a geologist who, in 1879, discovered that the surrounding plains were ideal for agriculture. He might have thought that Dawson Creek would become a farming capital, but he probably never suspected that oil and natural gas would be discovered here. The other major turning-point in Dawson Creek's history took place in 1942, when the town became kilometre/mile 0 of the Alaska Highway. Today, nearly 30,000 tourists from all over the world come to Dawson Creek to start their journey northward.
The Queen Charlotte Islands (Haida Gwaii)
However you choose to get to the islands, once there you'll discover an atmosphere and landscape that are truly beyond compare. Though the 5,000 islanders are very modest about their little piece of paradise, they actually go out of their way to attract and welcome visitors from the world over. The archipelago consists of 150 islands of various sizes. Almost all of the urban areas are located on the largest one, Graham Island, to the north. Moresby Island is the second most populous. Here, you'll find two villages, Sandspit and Alliford Bay, as well as the amazing Gwaii Haanas National Park.
The jagged relief of the Queen Charlotte and San Christoval Mountains has always protected the east coast from westerly storms. Despite the weather, the Haidas, who already inhabited the archipelago, established living areas on the west coast some 10,000 years ago. The Haidas are known to this day for their high-quality handicrafts and beautiful works of art. Ninstints, a former Haida village on the tip of the island of Sgan Gwaii, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, you will find the largest collection of totem poles and Aboriginal-built structures in the Queen Charlotte Islands. There is something unreal and mystical about the location itself.
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