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Spacer Image Prince George's boom was a thrilling time, and many photographs have survived to document this unique era. This selection of 2,000 images captures the great optimism and energy of that time.
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Telling Our Story
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Officially incorporated as a city in 1915, Prince George, British Columbia saw its population grow from 4,000 to 13,000 people between 1947 and 1960. The city’s population grew by another 20,000 in just ten years to 33,000 in 1970. Although the boom peaked in 1972, the population had risen to 60,000 by 1976, earning it the title of B.C.’s “Northern Capital” and “Gateway to the North”. Adapting to and guiding this explosive growth gave the people who lived here a different character and new perspectives.

Several major factors caused Prince George’s population boom
between 1947 and 1972:

•   Changes in technology. Sawmill owners changed their operations from small bush mills to technological showpieces that employed hundreds and produced annually more than 100 million board feet of lumber each.

•   The arrival of the Pacific and Great Eastern railroad (now B.C. Rail) and the construction of new all-weather roads meant easier access to markets for lumber and other industries.

•   The construction of three large pulp mills demonstrated a faith in the north and offered year-round, steady employment.

•   The British Columbia government made Prince George—located near the centre of the province—the administrative headquarters for an area of about 400,000 square kilometres.

A wealth of stories and images
Newspapers are mainly interested in documenting what’s newsworthy, so events like community happenings, church and school activities, and daily jobs are less often recorded. Because people often take their own photos—or hire professionals to take pictures—of occasions that are important to them, we have been able to preserve records of everyday life that otherwise would have been lost.

Over the years, The Exploration Place has collected a wealth of stories and photographs that tell both sides of our city’s history: the bigger, public events, and the more personal events people thought were important enough to record at the time. We invite you to explore this rich collection and discover Prince George’s unique heritage.

Also, visit the Timeline of Significant Events for more details on each year covered by the exhibit.

Milltown to Downtown: Prince George 1947-1972   |  Project Credits   |   Contact
©2002 The Exploration Place at the Fraser Fort-George Regional Museum