||Learn about the highlights of Prince George's boom years.
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Events from 1966
The Mark V Building was officially opened on February 28. The three-storey commercial and professional building was the largest downtown complex. It featured heated underground parking for 42 cars.
In March, Finning Tractor & Equipment Company moved into a 47,000 square foot building in the industrial site. The expanded $1.25 million facility provided heavy equipment sales and service for forest and mining industries. Increasingly complex machinery demanded attention by specially trained technicians with fast turnaround to reduce down time. The Prince George shop was the largest equipment service facility in the province outside of Vancouver. Finning technicians were capable of re-manufacturing equipment to factory standards.
Granny Seymour, "Matriarch of the North," died in March at an age estimated to be 114 years. She spoke Carrier, French and English and was relied upon as a midwife and healer. Her specialized wisdom about herbs and roots was widely respected. Because she had believed her knowledge of healing medicine was God-given, she shared the cures freely. "Medicine is grown and put on the earth for us to use; to make use of it, not to sell," said Granny. Her reputation reached beyond Prince George and brought famous visitors to her home. Prime Minister Diefenbaker and his wife paid their respects during a 1962 visit. In 1963, Billy Graham’s associate, Dr. Leighton Ford, came to meet and pray with Granny. More than 250 people attended her funeral mass at Sacred Heart Cathedral on March 9, 1966—a confirmation of the affection and respect she had earned.
Ben Ginter Construction Company began excavation in April for Prince George’s third pulp mill, Intercontinental Pulp Ltd. Northwood and Prince George Pulp and Paper Ltd. had already been built. The third mill, located close to PG P&P, was a joint venture of that company and a German firm, Feldmuhle.
Premier W. A. C. Bennett attended celebrations marking the opening of the Inn of the North hotel in June. The building represented a $4.5 million investment by the Delta Hotel chain and a great expression of confidence in the city’s future. Prince George fit within Delta’s policy of investing in growing industrial communities. The nine-storey structure accommodated 160 guest rooms, banquet and beverage facilities and retail space.
In June, Northwood Pulp & Paper began production of kraft pulp made from Western White Spruce and Lodgepole Pine. The product attracted worldwide attention because of its exceptional quality.
Bu the time school opened in September, the school population was expected to have expanded by a remarkable 2,100 students. The School District announced that the primary grades would be organized in a double shift system. The morning shift attended from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the afternoon shift attended from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Construction of the new City Hall, begun in September 1965 and delayed several weeks by a construction strike, was completed in October. Built as a two-storey structure, the building was designed to accommodate another three floors if required.
The B.C. Telephone Company opened an administrative centre for its Northern Division. A $750,000 building along the Vanderhoof Highway (Highway 16) housed 15,000 square feet of office space and 11,000 square feet of warehouse space. As a significant contribution to the region’s growth, the company invested $12 million in 1966 to expand and improve communications facilities for northern residents. B.C. Telephone’s annual payroll was $3 million for its 600 northern employees.
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Milltown to Downtown: Prince George 1947-1972
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