Terrace, Skeena River

Terrace, Skeena River

by | Mar 24, 2019

Terrace is a community on the Skeena River, about 89 miles (144 km) from Prince Rupert, and 89 miles (144 km) along the Yellowhead Highway from Hazelton. Terrace is the regional hub for the northwestern interior of British Columbia. The Kitselas and Kitsumkalum people, tribes of the Tsimshian Nation, have lived in the Terrace area for thousands of years. These are also the names of First Nation villages with Kitselas to the east and Kitsumkalum to the west of Terrace. Archaeological evidence indicates the occupation of these lands for over 5,000 years.

In 1862, Captain William Moore was the first to navigate up the river in the steamer Flying Dutchman as an exploratory side trip to the Cariboo Gold Rush. In 1866, the Collins Overland Telegraph Company steamer Mumford ventured up the river as far as Kitsumkalum with supplies. In 1891, the Hudson’s Bay Company sternwheeler Caledonia successfully negotiated the Kitselas Canyon and reached Hazelton. Several other steamers were built around the turn of the century, in part due to the growing fishing industry and the Klondike Gold Rush. It took an average of three days to travel from Port Essington to Hazelton. The riverboats operated on the Skeena for only 22 years. The Inlander made the last riverboat trip in September 1912, and then the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway took over its function of hauling passengers, freight, and timber.

For most of the 20th century Terrace was a sawmill town, once known as the cedar pole capital of the world when over 50,000 poles were manufactured annually for telephone and electric power poles. The Terrace economy was forced to diversify when most of the wood mills closed. Many people in Terrace commute to Kitimat to work at the aluminum smelter. Read more here and here. Explore more of Terrace here:

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