Lytton, British Columbia

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Village of Lytton
Camchin (Kumsheen)
Village
Village of Lytton is located in British Columbia
Village of Lytton
Village of Lytton
Location of Lytton in British Columbia
Coordinates: 50°13′28″N 121°34′39″W / 50.22444°N 121.57750°W / 50.22444; -121.57750
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Region Fraser Canyon
Regional district Thompson-Nicola Regional District
Incorporated 1945
Government
 • Governing body Lytton Village Council
 • Mayor Jessoa Lightfoot
Area
 • Total 6.54 km2 (2.53 sq mi)
Elevation 195 m (640 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 228
 • Density 34.8/km2 (90/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
Highways 1
12
Waterways Thompson River
Fraser River
Website Village of Lytton

Lytton in British Columbia, Canada, sits at the confluence of the Thompson River and Fraser River on the east side of the Fraser. The location has been inhabited by the Nlaka'pamux people for over 10,000 years,[citation needed] and is one of the earliest locations settled by non-natives in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, having been founded during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858–59, when it was originally known as "The Forks". The community includes both the Village of Lytton and the surrounding Indian Reserves of the Lytton Indian Band, whose name for the community is Camchin, also spelled Kumsheen ("river meeting").

History[edit]

The confluence of the Fraser and Thompson rivers showing the mixing of the two different coloured waters. Botanie Mountain right background, Lillooet Ranges at left.

Lytton was on the route of the Gold Rush in 1858. That same year, Lytton was named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the British Colonial Secretary and a novelist. For many years Lytton was a stop on major transportation routes, namely, the River Trail from 1858, Cariboo Wagon Road in 1862, the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s, the Cariboo Highway in the 1920s, and the Trans Canada Highway in the 1950s. However, it has become much less important since the construction of the Coquihalla Highway in 1987 which uses a more direct route to the BC Interior.

Name origin[edit]

Novelist Bulwer-Lytton was a friend and contemporary of Charles Dickens and was one of the pioneers of the historical novel, exemplified by his most popular work, The Last Days of Pompeii. He is best remembered today for the opening line to the novel Paul Clifford, which begins "It was a dark and stormy night..." and is considered by some to be the worst opening sentence in the English language.[1] However, Bulwer-Lytton is also responsible for well-known sayings such as "The pen is mightier than the sword" from his play Richelieu. Despite being a very popular author for 19th century readers, few people today are even aware of his prodigious body of literature spanning many genres. In the 21st century he is known best as the namesake for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (BLFC), sponsored annually by the English Department at San Jose State University, which challenges entrants "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels".

Lord Lytton literary debate[edit]

On August 30, 2008, the Village of Lytton invited Henry Lytton-Cobbold, the great-great-great grandson of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, to defend the great man's honour by debating Professor Scott Rice, the sponsor of the BLFC, on the literary and political legacies of his great ancestor.[2] The debate received wide media coverage including The Globe and Mail, the New York Times, the Guardian, CBC's "As It Happens" and many local and regional newspapers and radio and TV stations. The debate was moderated by Mike McArdell of Global TV. Lytton-Cobbold provided a spirited and crowd-inspiring defense of his ancestor, and despite a factual and well-researched presentation by Rice, Lytton-Cobbold emerged as the crowd favorite by a wide margin. In the end, Rice begrudgingly admitted to an admiration of Bulwer-Lytton. This event was held as part of the Village of Lytton's 150BC celebrations, as it was the 150th anniversary of the community receiving its name.

Population[edit]

The current village population is about 300 people with another 1,700 in the immediate area living in rural areas and on reserves of the neighbouring six Nlaka'pamux communities.

Climate[edit]

Lytton's climate is a dry summer continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dsb). During summer heat waves Lytton is often the hottest spot in Canada, despite being north of 50° in latitude. Due to the dry summer air and a relatively low elevation of 230 m (750 ft), summer afternoon shade temperatures regularly reach 35 °C (95 °F) and up and sometimes top 40 °C (104 °F). Lytton, along with the nearby community of Lillooet, share the second-highest temperature ever recorded in Canada.[3] On July 16 and 17, 1941, the temperature reached a record 44.4 °C (111.9 °F) on both days in both communities.[4] Lytton also holds the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in the province during the month of August after the temperature reached 41.8 °C (107.2 °F) on the August 14, 2004.[5]

Hot summer temperatures are made more tolerable by low humidity; however, the heat can be intense with usually clear blue skies and blazing sunlight – heat also radiates from the valley's slopes, and forest fires are not uncommon in the region during the summer.

Lytton's climate is also characterized by relatively short and mild winters (December and January average temperatures are just below freezing), with Pacific maritime influence during the winter ensuring thick cloud cover much of the time. Cold snaps originating from arctic outflow do occur from time to time, but tend to be short-lived, and mountains to the north block extreme cold from penetrating the Fraser Canyon.

Lytton receives 430.6 mm (16.95 in)[6] of annual precipitation on average, which is much drier than communities to the south, but wetter than some of the driest spots in the BC interior such as Spences Bridge, Kamloops, and Osoyoos. However, Lytton has the driest summers in the province, and indeed, one the driest in Canada. Given the village's close proximity to the coastal mountains, it does pick up significantly more precipitation in the late fall and early winter than do dry places further inland.

Climate data for Lytton
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high Humidex 14.4 15.8 22.9 32.5 39.9 41.1 46.3 41.6 38.7 29.4 20.4 17.8 46.3
Record high °C (°F) 15.0
(59)
16.4
(61.5)
23.7
(74.7)
33.1
(91.6)
40.4
(104.7)
39.1
(102.4)
44.4
(111.9)
41.8
(107.2)
38.7
(101.7)
29.9
(85.8)
20.0
(68)
17.8
(64)
44.4
(111.9)
Average high °C (°F) 2.3
(36.1)
5.5
(41.9)
11.5
(52.7)
16.2
(61.2)
20.3
(68.5)
24.3
(75.7)
27.8
(82)
28.4
(83.1)
22.6
(72.7)
14.6
(58.3)
5.8
(42.4)
0.3
(32.5)
15.0
(59)
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.7
(30.7)
1.7
(35.1)
6.3
(43.3)
10.3
(50.5)
14.4
(57.9)
18.4
(65.1)
21.2
(70.2)
21.6
(70.9)
16.2
(61.2)
9.8
(49.6)
2.9
(37.2)
−2.5
(27.5)
10.0
(50)
Average low °C (°F) −3.7
(25.3)
−2.1
(28.2)
1.0
(33.8)
4.3
(39.7)
8.5
(47.3)
12.4
(54.3)
14.5
(58.1)
14.7
(58.5)
9.7
(49.5)
5.1
(41.2)
−0.1
(31.8)
−5.4
(22.3)
4.9
(40.8)
Record low °C (°F) −23.7
(−10.7)
−22.5
(−8.5)
−20.0
(−4)
−4.4
(24.1)
0.8
(33.4)
4.4
(39.9)
6.1
(43)
7.4
(45.3)
−2.2
(28)
−18.1
(−0.6)
−27.7
(−17.9)
−27.1
(−16.8)
−27.7
(−17.9)
Wind chill −35.6 −32.9 −26.1 −4.9 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 −3.6 −25.0 −41.4 −36.6 −41.4
Precipitation mm (inches) 58.7
(2.311)
43.2
(1.701)
31.2
(1.228)
20.8
(0.819)
20.6
(0.811)
17.8
(0.701)
18.7
(0.736)
25.4
(1)
29.0
(1.142)
41.2
(1.622)
60.3
(2.374)
63.9
(2.516)
430.6
(16.953)
Rainfall mm (inches) 42.2
(1.661)
34.7
(1.366)
24.6
(0.969)
20.8
(0.819)
20.6
(0.811)
17.8
(0.701)
18.7
(0.736)
25.4
(1)
29.0
(1.142)
40.0
(1.575)
48.0
(1.89)
41.6
(1.638)
363.3
(14.303)
Snowfall cm (inches) 19.4
(7.64)
11.0
(4.33)
6.2
(2.44)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
1.4
(0.55)
12.8
(5.04)
25.9
(10.2)
76.6
(30.16)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 11.5 10.5 8.8 7.2 8.6 7.2 6.4 6.4 7.6 10.5 13.0 12.1 109.6
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 7.8 7.9 8.2 7.2 8.6 7.2 6.4 6.4 7.6 10.3 11.0 5.8 94.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 5.5 3.6 1.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.4 3.5 8.1 22.7
 % humidity 72.4 62.0 47.7 38.3 37.0 34.5 33.7 31.9 40.2 55.7 71.5 76.3 50.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 56.0 81.6 143.0 186.7 224.2 243.8 265.2 244.2 182.0 121.8 55.7 48.1 1,852.2
Percent possible sunshine 21.1 28.8 38.9 45.2 46.9 49.8 53.7 54.4 47.9 36.4 20.5 19.1 38.6
Source: [7]

Vegetation[edit]

Open coniferous forests of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine dominate the slopes around Lytton. Some black cottonwood is scattered among the conifers. Bunchgrass dominates the forest floor. Non-native trees cultivated in Lytton include black locust and Manitoba Maple.

Transportation[edit]

Lytton lies on the Trans Canada Highway as well as both the Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railways. The Canadian National Railway Crosses both the Fraser and Thompson Rivers on two large steel bridges at Lytton. Via the Trans-Canada, Lytton is approximately 265 km from the city of Vancouver, 111 km north of Hope, and 84 km south of Cache Creek and Ashcroft.

Highway 12 runs north from Lytton 62 km to Lillooet, connecting there to Highway 99, which leads southwest to Pemberton and Whistler and beyond to Vancouver, and northeast to its terminus at Lower Hat Creek (Carquile) at a junction with Highway 97 just north of Cache Creek.

The Lytton Ferry, a free reaction ferry, crosses the Fraser River at Lytton. On the West side of the river are Indian reserve communities of the Lytton First Nation and the Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park via trails from the confluence of the Stein River with the Fraser. From the ferry, a route known as t the West Side Road leads through the Nesikep and Texas Creek areas to Lillooet and BC Highway 99; the route south from the ferry is much more difficult but ultimately leads to North Bend-Boston Bar. When the ferry is out of service due to ice or low water levels on the Fraser River, pedestrian access is available via a walkway located on the Canadian National Railway bridge crossing the river.

Via Rail's Canadian and the Rocky Mountaineer pass through Lytton, but do not make any stops. Via Rail's closest stops are Ashcroft, 80 km to the north, and North Bend/Boston Bar, 44 km to the south.

Politics[edit]

Municipal[edit]

The mayor of Lytton is Jessoa Lightfoot, who was elected for the first time to Mayor during the 2008 Municipal Election.

Lytton is a corporate entity created under the Community Charter Act. The elections for the Village Council are held every three years with the next election due in November 2014. The current Council includes:

  • Mayor Jessoa Lightfoot
  • Cnclr Jim Steer
  • Cnclr Rob Austen
  • Cnclr Denise MacIntyre
  • Cnclr Andrew Fandrich

Provincial[edit]

Originally part of the Lillooet provincial riding, then part of Yale-Lillooet Lytton is now in the provincial riding of Fraser-Nicola, represented by Jackie Tegart of the BC Liberals, who first won in the 2013 election.

Federal[edit]

Federally, the town is in the riding of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon and is currently represented by Mark Strahl of the Conservatives.

Economy[edit]

The single main employer in the Village was part of the forestry industry and was forced to close following the market uncertainties of 2007.

Tourism is of ever increasing importance as Lytton is the self-proclaimed "River Rafting Capital of Canada". Biggest of the companies operating from Lytton is Kumsheen Rafting Resort. Hyak is very close behind and Fraser River and Reo Rafting are the smaller rafting companies. A provincial campsite, Skihist Provincial Park, is adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway six kilometres north of the Village, with space for tenting as well as RVs and enjoys one of the few views available of Skihist Mountain, the highest summit of the Lillooet Ranges, across the Fraser to the west of Lytton. The privately run Jade Springs Restaurant, also east of the Village on the Trans-Canada, offers a full service camp ground.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Petit, Zachary (January 18, 2013). "Famous First Lines Reveal How to Start a Novel". Literary Digest. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  2. ^ Alison Flood (19 August 2008). "'Literary tragedy' of Bulwer-Lytton's dark and stormy night under debate". Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2013. ]
  3. ^ "Hottest Places in Canada". Current Results Nexus. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Daily Data Report for July 1941". Environment Canada. Retrieved March 25, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Daily Data Report for August 2004". Environment Canada. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Lytton" (CSV (8222 KB)). Canadian Climate Normals 1981–2010. Environment Canada. Climate ID: 1114741. Retrieved 2014-01-15. 
  7. ^ "Calculation Information for 1981 to 2010 Canadian Normals Data". Environment Canada. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°13′30″N 121°34′36″W / 50.22500°N 121.57667°W / 50.22500; -121.57667