Williams Lake, British Columbia
||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (February 2009)|
|City of Williams Lake|
|— City —|
|Nickname(s): BC's Stampede Capital|
|Regional district||Cariboo Regional District|
|• Governing body||Williams Lake City Council|
|• Mayor||Kerry Cook|
|• City Manager||A/CAO Geoff Goodall|
|• City||33.13 km2 (12.79 sq mi)|
|• Metro||2,656.73 km2 (1,025.77 sq mi)|
|Elevation||585 m (1,919 ft)|
|• Density||327.0/km2 (847/sq mi)|
|• Metro density||7.0/km2 (18/sq mi)|
|Time zone||PST (UTC-8)|
Williams Lake, is a city in the Central Interior of British Columbia, Canada. Located in the central part of a region known as the Cariboo, it is the largest urban centre between Kamloops and Prince George, with a population of 11,150 in city limits.
Williams Lake hosts the annual Williams Lake Stampede, which takes place over the Canada Day long weekend. It is the home town of Rick Hansen, the Canadian paraplegic athlete and activist for people with spinal cord injuries, who became famous during his fundraising Man in Motion world tour. It is also the home town of the Montreal Canadiens starting goalie Carey Price.
The story of Williams Lake began in 1860 during the Cariboo Gold Rush when Gold Commissioner Philip Henry Nind and Constable William Pinchbeck arrived from Victoria to organize a local government and maintain law and order.
At the time, two pack trails led to the goldfields, one from the Douglas Road and another trail through the Fraser Canyon. Both met at Williams Lake, which made it a good choice for settlers and merchants. By 1861, Commissioner Nind had built a government house and had requested the funds to build a jail. With the center of local government being at Williams Lake, the miners and businessmen all had to travel there to conduct their business and soon the town had a post office, a courthouse, a roadhouse and the jail that Nind had requested. Meanwhile, William Pinchbeck had not been idle and had built his own roadhouse, saloon and store. Eventually he would own most of the valley.
In 1863, the town was excited by the news of the construction of Cariboo Road, believing it would pass through their already established and important trading center. However, the roadbuilder Gustavus Blin Wright rerouted the original trail so that it bypassed Williams Lake and went through 150 Mile House instead.
The Williams Lake by-pass doomed the city and accusations flew that Gustavus Blin Wright had changed the route for his own personal benefit as he owned a roadhouse at Deep Creek along the new route. Regardless of Wright's motives, Williams Lake was forgotten and wouldn't be reborn until nearly half a century later with the construction of the Pacific Great Eastern Railway, later BC Rail and now CN Rail.
|Ethnic Origin||Population||Percent of 18,760*||Comments|
|misc. British Isles, n.i.e.**||255||1.36%|
|North American Indian||2,735||14.58%||incl. First Nations, Native Americans and Alaska Natives|
|Dutch (Netherlands)||1,120||5.97%||% not incl. Frisians or Flemish|
|misc. Scandinavian, n.i.e.**||85||0.45%||may include Sami and Kven|
|misc. European, n.i.e.**||35||0.19%|
|misc. African, n.i.e.**||10||0.05%|
|misc. Arab, n.i.e.||10||0.05%|
|misc. South Asian, n.i.e.**||25||0.13%|
|*Percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses e.g. German-East Indian, Norwegian-Irish-Polish.|
|**Not included elsewhere.|
|***Not otherwise specified.|
|Canada 2006 Census||Population||% of Total Population|
|Visible minority group
|Other visible minority||0||0%|
|Mixed visible minority||25||0.2%|
|Total visible minority population||925||8.7%|
|Total Aboriginal population||1,435||13.5%|
Williams Lake, British Columbia has a humid continental climate with warm summers. Spring is the driest time of year, and summer and winter are the wettest seasons respectively. Williams Lake receives more than 2000 hours of bright sunshine per year, which is more than most of the province.
The hottest temperature ever recorded in Williams Lake occurred in July 1941 during the province's most extreme heat wave on record. Williams Lake - along with Billings, Cowichan Lake Village, Yale, and nearby McLeese Lake - holds the record for the highest maximum temperature ever recorded in the province during the month of September. This occurred on September 4th, 1988.
The airport is over 1000 ft. (305 m) above the city, so the average temperature is significantly warmer in the city proper than the table below displays. The extreme values are gathered from all current and past Williams Lake weather stations.
|Climate data for Williams Lake Airport|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.8
|Average high °C (°F)||−4.2
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−8.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−12.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−42.2
|Precipitation mm (inches)||37.0
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||64.6||98.8||156.2||202.0||250.8||251.4||297.9||275.2||192.7||128.2||63.7||49.2||2,030.6|
|Source: Environment Canada|
Weather Facts (all weather stations):
- Driest Year (1970) = 219 mm (9 in); 234 mm (9 in) at the Airport
- Wettest Year (1982) = 633 mm (25 in)*
- Warmest Year (1987) = 8.1 °C (47 °F); 6.3 °C (43 °F) at the Airport
- Coldest Year (1996) = 2.1 °C (36 °F)*; 4.2 °C (40 °F) in the valley
- Highest Extreme Temperature (July 1941) = 41.1 °C (106 °F)
- Lowest Extreme Temperature (December 1968) = −42.8 °C (−45 °F)*
* Denotes Airport
Williams Lake is served by Cariboo-Chilcotin School District 27. It has eight public elementary schools teaching up to grade 7 and three StrongStart BC centres. Two secondary schools, Columneetza Secondary School and Williams Lake Secondary School, teach grade 8 to 12 students. Alternative education provision is met by the Graduation Routes Other Ways centre and the Skyline Alternate School program. Anne Stevenson Secondary School was closed in 2003 due to falling numbers of students.
Colleges and universities 
Thompson Rivers University has a campus in Williams Lake and offers a wide variety of programs and courses including university transfers, certificate and diploma programs, health and safety certification, trades and technology, and university and career preparation. The Elder College is another local division of Thompson Rivers University, and offers programs and opportunities for people who are 50+ and are interested in participating in the programs, courses and special events.
Sports and recreation 
- The Williams Lake Stampeders are the local Ice hockey team, playing in the Central Interior Hockey League; their arena is the Cariboo Memorial Complex
- The Williams Lake Timberwolves resumed play in September, 2009 in the BCHL. Due to financial obligations, the BCHL has suspended the Williams Lake franchise for the 2010/11 season.
- Williams Lake has facilities for curling, golf, tennis, swimming, soccer, rugby and baseball.
- There's skiing and snowboarding available at the Mount Timothy Ski Area located near 150 Mile House.
- The Thunder Mountain Speedway holds stock car races, and the Crash-to-Pass also holds races in the summer months.
- Mountain biking, and hiking is a popular activity on trails.
Arts and culture 
- The Station House Studio and Gallery Society, a non-profit organization, was formed in 1981 to preserve and restore the BC Rail Station at #1 Mackenzie Avenue North, and to provide studio and gallery space. Each month, the Gallery exhibits a variety of contemporary works in many mediums by local, regional, and touring artists. The Society also operates a gift shop that features the work of local artisans and crafts people.* The Museum of the Cariboo-Chicotin offers a glimpse into the Central Cariboo's history and is home to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame.
- Williams Lake Studio Theater Society has now operated for more than fifty years.
- The Williams Lake Community Band meets on Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm in the band room at WLSS under the directorship of Michael Butterfield. This band performs at local community events such as the Remembrance Day Ceremony, the Stampede Parade, and at anniversary or opening ceremonies such as the Tourism Centre.
- The Williams Lake Pipe Band was founded in 2006 and practices at the Royal Canadian Legion in Williams Lake on Tuesdays.
- Author Mark Leiren-Young wrote a comic memoir (Never Shoot a Stampede Queen) about his experiences with The Williams Lake Tribune, which won the 2009 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
- Williams Lake is referenced in the Swedish movie "Skills"www.skillsthemovie.com/ during the scene in which various characters from around the world are seen betting on online underground parkour-skateboard-breakdance-martial arts battles.
Williams Lake is located on the junction of Highway 97 and Highway 20. Greyhound Bus Lines provides bus service south to Vancouver and Kamloops, north to Prince George. CN Rail offers freight service north and south of Williams Lake. Local public transportation consists of the BC Transit and Handy Dart bus service.
The Williams Lake Airport is located 14 kilometers north of the city and was opened in 1956 by Transport Canada and on January 1, 1997 the ownership of the airport was transferred to the City of Williams Lake. The airport is served by both Pacific Coastal Airlines, and Central Mountain Air with daily flights to Vancouver
Local attractions 
The Williams Lake Stampede 
Held annually, on the Canada Day long weekend, the Williams Lake Stampede features Canadian Professional Rodeo Association action including bull riding, barrel racing, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, team roping and chuckwagon races. The Williams Lake Stampede plays host to many top cowboys and international rodeo competitors from Canada and the United States most of which continue on the circuit to the Calgary Stampede, the following weekend.
The Stampede festivities also include a parade of floats from local organizations, such as 4H groups, native bands, community service groups, the stampede royalty and local merchants. There is also a carnival with rides and games located near the stampede grounds.
Scout Island 
Scout Island, located on the west end of Williams Lake off South Mackenzie Avenue, is a nature sanctuary and park area comprising two islands connected to the mainland by a vehicle causeway. In addition to a beach area, picnic ground and boat launch, Scout Island contains a series of nature trails that take visitors through a relatively undisturbed natural environment, rich in bird and small wildlife habitat.
A key feature of Scout Island is the Nature House which strategically overlooks the extensive marsh adjacent to the island. The Nature Centre is operated by the Williams Lake Field Naturalists which is led by Jenny Noble and offers displays, programs and information interpreting the diverse and sensitive environment of Scout Island. They have recently created a Facebook page that outlines their activities.
The Nature Trust of British Columbia is the owner of this 9.69 hectares which was purchased in 1973 - 1988 and is leased to the City of Williams Lake.
- Shaw TV - local Community Access Channel (only available on Shaw Cable)
- AM 570 - CKWL, Country, "The Wolf"
- AM 860 - CBRL, CBC Radio One
- FM 96.1 - VF2235, First Nations community radio, "Canadian First Nations Radio or CFNR"
- FM 97.5 - CFFM-FM, Rock, "The Rush", formerly "The Max".
- FM 100.7 - CJLJ-FM, (Planned Radio Station, this station's launch date has yet to be announced.) Community Radio
Other radio services 
There was a LORAN-C Station at Wiliams Lake.
- Williams Lake Tribune (owned by Black Press)
- Cariboo Advisor (owned by Black Press)
- "Welcome to Williams Lake" local news site
Surrounding communities 
|Riske Creek||Dog Creek||150 Mile House|
- Cariboo-Chilcotin Pioneer People and Places Irene Stangoe ISBN 1-895811-12-0
- Stats Canada
- Stangoe, Irene (1994). Cariboo Chilcotin Pioneer People and Places. Heritage House. p. 32. ISBN 1-895811-12-0.
- Stangoe, Irene (1994). Cariboo Chilcotin Pioneer People and Places. Heritage House. pp. 10–14. ISBN 1-895811-12-0.
- Living Landscapes
- A Chronology of Williams Lake
- Profile of Ethnic Origin and Visible Minorities for Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census
- "Community Profiles from the 2006 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 2.statcan.gc.ca. 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
- "Aboriginal Peoples - Data table". 2.statcan.ca. 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13.
- Environment Canada—Canadian Climate Normals 1971–2000, accessed 24 July 2012
- School information - District 027 - Cariboo-Chilcotin, British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- School district profile, British Columbia Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2012-05-07.