Smithers, British Columbia

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Town of Smithers
Town
Main Street Smithers (1989)
Main Street Smithers (1989)
Coat of arms of Town of Smithers
Coat of arms
Town of Smithers is located in British Columbia
Town of Smithers
Town of Smithers
Location of Smithers in British Columbia
Coordinates: 54°46′55″N 127°10′05″W / 54.78194°N 127.16806°W / 54.78194; -127.16806Coordinates: 54°46′55″N 127°10′05″W / 54.78194°N 127.16806°W / 54.78194; -127.16806
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Regional District Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako
Founded 1913
Incorporated (village) 1921
Incorporated (town) 1967
Government
 • Mayor Taylor Bachrach
 • Governing Body Smithers Town Council
 • MP Nathan Cullen (NDP)
 • MLA Doug Donaldson (NDP)
Area
 • Total 15.27 km2 (5.90 sq mi)
Elevation 490 m (1,610 ft)
Population (2011)
 • Total 5,404
 • Density 353.8/km2 (916/sq mi)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone (UTC−8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC−7)
Postal code span V0J
Area code(s) 250, 778
Demonym Smithereen
Website Smithers.ca

Smithers is a town located in northwestern British Columbia, Canada, approximately halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert. Smithers is located in the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako. With a population of 5,404, Smithers is a service area for most of the Bulkley Valley.

History[edit]

Old mining cart in Smithers

The Bulkley Valley in which Smithers is situated was originally inhabited by the Wet'suwet'en, Smithers was founded in 1913 as the regional headquarters for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The new community was named after the railway's chairman of the board of directors, Sir Alfred Smithers. In 1921, Smithers became the first incorporated village in British Columbia.[1] In 1967, Smithers was incorporated as a town. Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from Smithers was created in 1967.

Civic orientation[edit]

The Town was surveyed in 1913 and a street grid pattern was established that is still very much evident today. Historically, intensive development has been oriented towards Main Street as the prime commercial focus with residential development radiating outward from the commercial core. The traditional downtown was punctuated by important civic structures — the (old) Courthouse at the intersection of Main Street with Hwy 16 or by community focal points — the Canadian National Railway station at the western end of Main Street. This pattern has been sustained by the preservation of the old courthouse, as well as the establishment of a major civic park located around the Cenotaph. The on-going restoration of the CN railway station as a community resource centre is a further measure to improve the town.

The Smithers railway station is served by Via Rail's Jasper – Prince Rupert train.

Culture[edit]

Smithers and the Bulkley Valley have often been described by non-residents as being distinct from the rest of Northern British Columbia. According to a 1990s survey, per capita, Smithers has 'the most of' in almost every category. Many factors contribute to the composition of society in Smithers, including the arts, environmental protection, and local industries such as forestry and mining.

Smithers has adopted an alpine theme, which is drawn from the geography of the area. A town bylaw requires businesses in the downtown area centred on Main Street to construct their buildings in an alpine style. A fibreglass statue of a man blowing an alpine horn, commonly referred to as The Alpenman or Alpine Al, is located at the entrance to the main street and has become the town symbol. Similarly, the Smithers chamber of commerce displays an Alpine Al costume at community events and in television advertisements for the town's businesses.

Residents of Smithers are called Smithereens which remains a more popularly accepted title than the sometimes used 'Smitherite'.[citation needed]

Smithereens have a particularly strong environmental ethic. In 2006, over 600 Smithereens took to the streets to voice their opposition to a proposed coalbed methane gas field near Telkwa,[2] which threatened local water quality, landscape integrity and wild salmon populations.

Smithers and the Bulkley Valley are home to many musicians, including Juno-Award-winning Alexis Puentes. The biggest assembly of musical talent happens during the annual Mid-Summer Music Festival in late June. Over the years, the Mid-Summer Music Festival has seen some famous acts like Spirit of the West and the Barenaked Ladies and has drawn audiences and participants from all across North America.

The Della Herman Theatre, named after a longtime resident and former school board official, is the primary venue for shows and performances, though several pubs and even open fields serve as secondary performance venues. Numerous organizations including the Bulkley Valley Community Arts Council operate to keep music and other artistic activities vibrant.

Demographics[edit]

Canada 2001 Census[3]
Smithers British Columbia
Median age 33.3 years 38.4 years
Under 15 years old 24% 18%
Between 25 and 44 years old 31% 30%
Over 65 years old 10% 14%
Visible minority 4% 21%
Protestant 35% 31%
Catholic 20% 17%

The latest census, taken in 2001, recorded 5,415 residents living in 2,195 households and 1,460 families. Of those over 15 years of age in 2001, 48% were married, slightly lower than the 51% provincial average. With 87% of Smithers residents being Canadian-born, and 88% with an English-only mother tongue, the town has few visible minorities. Though not included as visible minorities, 10% identified themselves as Aboriginal, a higher proportion than the 4% provincial average.

Notable residents[edit]

Hockey players[edit]

Despite its small population, Smithers has produced several notable professional ice hockey players:

Others[edit]

Geography[edit]

West of Smithers are Moricetown, New Hazelton, Kitwanga, Terrace, Kitimat, Port Edward and Prince Rupert. East of Smithers are Telkwa, Houston, Topley, Burns Lake, Fraser Lake, Fort Fraser, Vanderhoof and Prince George.

Climate[edit]

Smithers has a borderline humid continental/subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb/Dfc).[4] Winters are cold and cloudy but highly variable with a January average of −8.9 °C (16.0 °F). Snow is the main type of precipitation during winter. Warm spells can push temperatures above freezing during the winter months, while cold weather systems can reduce the temperature to less than −30.0 °C (−22.0 °F). [5] The average annual snowfall is 204 centimetres (80.3 in) with maximum accumulations of snow tending to happen in February when the snow depth is around 36 centimetres (14.2 in) and there are many months when the snow depth reaches or surpasses 20 centimetres (7.9 in).[5] Summers are warm with a normal highs of just below 30 °C (86.0 °F) and an extreme high of 38.5 °C (101.3 °F). Nighttime temperatures are often cool with normal nighttime lows under 10 °C (50.0 °F). Depending on the year there may be very little or a lot of precipitation.[5] Spring and fall are short transition seasons. Smithers receives an average of 513 millimetres (20 in) of precipitation a year with February through April being the driest months. Smithers receives 1651 hours of bright sunshine a year, ranging from a minimum of 13% of possible sunshine in December to a maximum of 48% of possible sunshine in August.[5]

Climate data for Smithers Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high Humidex 15 11 18.5 25.5 35.2 35.2 38.1 37.3 32.9 23.7 14 12.9 38.1
Record high °C (°F) 15.6
(60.1)
11.9
(53.4)
18.9
(66)
25.8
(78.4)
35.8
(96.4)
34.2
(93.6)
36
(97)
35.2
(95.4)
31.1
(88)
24.4
(75.9)
15.6
(60.1)
13.6
(56.5)
36
(97)
Average high °C (°F) −3.5
(25.7)
0.2
(32.4)
5.2
(41.4)
10.9
(51.6)
15.9
(60.6)
19.4
(66.9)
21.6
(70.9)
21.3
(70.3)
15.8
(60.4)
8.8
(47.8)
1
(34)
−3.6
(25.5)
9.4
(48.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) −7.2
(19)
−4.4
(24.1)
0.1
(32.2)
4.8
(40.6)
9.4
(48.9)
13
(55)
15.2
(59.4)
14.6
(58.3)
9.9
(49.8)
4.4
(39.9)
−2.1
(28.2)
−7.1
(19.2)
4.2
(39.6)
Average low °C (°F) −11
(12)
−8.8
(16.2)
−4.9
(23.2)
−1.3
(29.7)
2.9
(37.2)
6.5
(43.7)
8.6
(47.5)
7.9
(46.2)
4
(39)
−0.1
(31.8)
−5.2
(22.6)
−10.7
(12.7)
−1
(30)
Record low °C (°F) −43.9
(−47)
−35.6
(−32.1)
−33.3
(−27.9)
−18.3
(−0.9)
−7.2
(19)
−4.1
(24.6)
−1.1
(30)
−2.2
(28)
−6.7
(19.9)
−22
(−8)
−32.4
(−26.3)
−39
(−38)
−43.9
(−47)
Wind chill −47.2 −43.8 −40.4 −22.3 −7.4 −3 0 −2 −8 −30.4 −45.5 −50.1 −50.1
Precipitation mm (inches) 42.7
(1.681)
23.4
(0.921)
20.6
(0.811)
23.8
(0.937)
38.1
(1.5)
55.2
(2.173)
45.6
(1.795)
43.8
(1.724)
53.8
(2.118)
64.8
(2.551)
55
(2.17)
41.9
(1.65)
508.5
(20.02)
Rainfall mm (inches) 10.1
(0.398)
5.5
(0.217)
6.7
(0.264)
18.7
(0.736)
37.4
(1.472)
55.2
(2.173)
45.6
(1.795)
43.8
(1.724)
53.8
(2.118)
56.9
(2.24)
25.6
(1.008)
8
(0.31)
367.2
(14.457)
Snowfall cm (inches) 44.5
(17.52)
23.5
(9.25)
16.7
(6.57)
5.6
(2.2)
0.7
(0.28)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
8.6
(3.39)
37.4
(14.72)
45.6
(17.95)
182.7
(71.93)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 16.1 11.2 10.1 9.6 11.9 13.5 12.4 12.3 13.8 17.3 16.2 15.4 159.6
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 3.6 3.2 4.3 7.6 11.8 13.5 12.4 12.3 13.8 15.7 7.3 3 108.4
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 14.9 9.7 7.3 3 0.5 0 0 0 0 2.8 12.1 14.6 65
 % humidity 78.3 66.7 52.8 43.6 42.8 48.3 50.8 50.4 57.1 66.7 79.1 82.3 59.9
Mean monthly sunshine hours 42.5 75.8 128 177 217.8 216.6 239.6 217.2 152.7 87.5 39.7 26.4 1,620.7
Percent possible sunshine 17.4 27.8 34.9 41.9 43.7 41.9 46.2 46.9 39.8 26.8 15.6 11.6 32.9
Source: [6]

Transportation[edit]

Smithers Airport underwent a runway extension completed in the summer of 2008 that allows the landing of smaller jet aircraft.[7] Central Mountain Air is based in Smithers.

Movies and Television[edit]

Media[edit]

  • TV Stations CFTK-TV (CBC affiliate) ch 5, CTV ch 13, Global ch 10 & Knowledge Network ch 20
  • Radio Stations CBC1 97.5 FM, CBC2 88.1 FM, CFBV (The Peak - Adult Contemporary) 870 AM/106.5 FM, CICK (community) 93.9 FM, CJFW (country) 92.1 FM, CFNR-FM (classic rock) 95.1 FM

Recreation[edit]

Twin Falls near Smithers

Smithers is known for its world class skiing and fishing (in particular for steelhead). Other popular activities include soccer, hockey, baseball, downhill mountain biking, cross-country skiing, hiking, quadding and snowmobiling. Smithers offers a variety of extreme sports, for example quadding in the back country, snowmobiling in the surrounding mountains, paragliding, or mountain biking down Hudson Bay Mountain. Smithers is known for its variety of recreation.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Smithers at www.canadianencyclopedia.ca
  2. ^ Concernedaboutcbm.org
  3. ^ Statistics Canada, Community Highlights for Smithers, 2001 Community Profiles, October 23, 2007.
  4. ^ "Climatic Regions [Köppen]". Atlas of Canada. Natural Resources Canada. June 2003. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000". Environment Canada. Retrieved December 24, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Calculation Information for 1981 to 2010 Canadian Normals Data". Environment Canada. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  7. ^ Smithers Regional Airport

External links[edit]