Williams Lake, British Columbia

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City of Williams Lake
City
Williams Lake's welcome sign
Williams Lake's welcome sign
Nickname(s): BC's Stampede Capital
City of Williams Lake is located in British Columbia
City of Williams Lake
City of Williams Lake
Location in British Columbia
Coordinates: 52°07′46″N 122°08′18″W / 52.12944°N 122.13833°W / 52.12944; -122.13833Coordinates: 52°07′46″N 122°08′18″W / 52.12944°N 122.13833°W / 52.12944; -122.13833
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Region Cariboo
Regional district Cariboo Regional District
Incorporated 1929
Government
 • Governing body Williams Lake City Council
 • Mayor Kerry Cook
 • City Manager CAO Darrell Garceau
Area[1]
 • Land 33.13 km2 (12.79 sq mi)
 • Census agglomeration 2,656.73 km2 (1,025.77 sq mi)
 • Population centre 40.36 km2 (15.58 sq mi)
Elevation[2] 586 m (1,923 ft)
Population (2011)[1][3][4]
 • Total 10,832
 • Density 327.0/km2 (847/sq mi)
 • Census agglomeration 18,490
 • Census agglomeration density 7.0/km2 (18/sq mi)
 • Population centre 12,408
 • Population centre density 307.4/km2 (796/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC−08:00)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC−07:00)
Postal code V2G
Area code(s) 250
Highways 20
97
Website Official website

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 10,832 in city limits.[1]

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 as well as Tsilhqot'in (Chilcotin) filmmaker and extreme sport athlete Trevor Mack.

History[edit]

Williams Lake is named in honour of Secwepemc chief William, whose counsel prevented the Shuswap from joining the Tsilhqot'in in their uprising against the settler population.[5]

The story of Williams Lake began in 1860 during the Cariboo Gold Rush when Gold Commissioner Philip Henry Nind and William Pinchbeck, a constable with the British Columbia Provincial Police, 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 centre 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.[6]

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 centre. However, the roadbuilder Gustavus Blin Wright rerouted the original trail so that it bypassed Williams Lake and went through 150 Mile House instead.[7]

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.[8]

Demographics[edit]

Below is the ethnic origin of people from Williams Lake. Note that percentages total more than 100% due to multiple responses e.g. German-East Indian, Norwegian-Irish-Polish.[9]

Canada 2011 Census Population  % of Total Population
Visible minority group
Source:[12]
South Asian 395 3.7%
Chinese 270 2.5%
Black 0 0%
Filipino 65 0.6%
Latin American 0 0%
Arab 0 0%
Southeast Asian 0 0%
West Asian 0 0%
Korean 15 0.1%
Japanese 70 0.7%
Other visible minority 0 0%
Mixed visible minority 0 0%
Total visible minority population 830 7.8%
Aboriginal group
Source:[13]
First Nations 1,610 15.2%
Métis 415 3.9%
Inuit 0 0%
Total Aboriginal population 2,120 20%
White 7,655 72.2%
Total population 10,605 100%

Economy[edit]

The primary industries in Williams Lake are forestry, logging, milling, mining and ranching.

Climate[edit]

Williams Lake 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 about 2,000 hours of bright sunshine per year, which is more than most of the province.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in Williams Lake, 41.1 °C (106.0 °F),[14] occurred in July 1941 during the province's most extreme heat wave on record.[citation needed] Williams Lake - along with Billings,[15] and nearby McLeese Lake[16] - holds the record for the highest maximum temperature ever recorded in the province during the month of September. This occurred on September 4, 1988.

The Williams Lake Airport weather station is at an elevation of 939.7 m (3,083 ft) while the Williams Lake River weather station is at 585.2 m (1,920 ft), a difference of 354.5 m (1,163 ft). Thus the average temperature is significantly warmer in the city proper than the table below displays.

Climate data for Williams Lake Airport
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high Humidex 12.2 19.6 18.2 28.0 33.9 32.2 36.2 36.4 35.6 26.8 16.1 10.6 36.4
Record high °C (°F) 12.8
(55)
12.8
(55)
18.9
(66)
28.8
(83.8)
34.5
(94.1)
33.5
(92.3)
34.4
(93.9)
33.3
(91.9)
35.8
(96.4)
27.1
(80.8)
16.7
(62.1)
12.2
(54)
35.8
(96.4)
Average high °C (°F) −2.7
(27.1)
0.8
(33.4)
5.8
(42.4)
11.0
(51.8)
16.0
(60.8)
19.5
(67.1)
22.5
(72.5)
22.2
(72)
17.2
(63)
9.7
(49.5)
1.4
(34.5)
−3.5
(25.7)
10.0
(50)
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.7
(19.9)
−4.1
(24.6)
0.3
(32.5)
4.9
(40.8)
9.6
(49.3)
13.3
(55.9)
16.0
(60.8)
15.3
(59.5)
10.6
(51.1)
4.6
(40.3)
−2.3
(27.9)
−7.3
(18.9)
4.5
(40.1)
Average low °C (°F) −10.7
(12.7)
−8.9
(16)
−5.2
(22.6)
−1.3
(29.7)
3.2
(37.8)
7.0
(44.6)
9.3
(48.7)
8.3
(46.9)
4.0
(39.2)
−0.6
(30.9)
−5.9
(21.4)
−11.0
(12.2)
−1.0
(30.2)
Record low °C (°F) −42.2
(−44)
−34.6
(−30.3)
−31.7
(−25.1)
−16.7
(1.9)
−5.8
(21.6)
−4.0
(24.8)
0.0
(32)
−1.7
(28.9)
−8.9
(16)
−28.6
(−19.5)
−41.6
(−42.9)
−42.8
(−45)
−42.8
(−45)
Wind chill −46.8 −45.3 −39.9 −21.8 −12.0 −4.1 0.0 −2.8 −11.0 −35.2 −49.6 −52.2 −52.2
Precipitation mm (inches) 33.1
(1.303)
18.6
(0.732)
17.9
(0.705)
22.2
(0.874)
39.1
(1.539)
58.6
(2.307)
52.7
(2.075)
46.1
(1.815)
41.8
(1.646)
41.0
(1.614)
42.2
(1.661)
37.6
(1.48)
450.7
(17.744)
Rainfall mm (inches) 4.6
(0.181)
2.0
(0.079)
3.9
(0.154)
13.2
(0.52)
36.0
(1.417)
58.3
(2.295)
52.7
(2.075)
46.1
(1.815)
41.2
(1.622)
32.6
(1.283)
14.2
(0.559)
2.9
(0.114)
307.6
(12.11)
Snowfall cm (inches) 36.9
(14.53)
21.1
(8.31)
17.5
(6.89)
10.2
(4.02)
3.3
(1.3)
0.3
(0.12)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.6
(0.24)
9.4
(3.7)
33.0
(12.99)
44.5
(17.52)
176.8
(69.61)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 12.0 8.7 8.7 9.1 12.6 14.8 13.1 10.8 10.5 11.9 12.5 12.8 137.4
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 1.8 1.4 2.7 6.2 12.0 14.8 13.0 10.8 10.5 10.2 4.6 1.5 89.4
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 11.1 8.0 6.8 4.4 1.8 0.1 0.1 0.0 0.0 3.4 9.7 12.3 58.0
 % humidity 75.1 62.1 47.2 41.0 40.8 44.0 41.6 41.1 45.6 56.7 72.8 77.4 53.8
Mean monthly sunshine hours 58.6 97.4 154.6 198.0 248.8 242.4 283.5 273.4 199.2 123.8 60.3 45.8 1,985.8
Percent possible sunshine 22.8 34.9 42.1 47.5 51.2 48.5 56.3 60.1 52.3 37.4 22.8 18.9 41.2
Source: [17]
Climate data for Williams Lake River
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 16.0
(60.8)
16.0
(60.8)
22.5
(72.5)
29.0
(84.2)
38.0
(100.4)
36.5
(97.7)
38.5
(101.3)
37.5
(99.5)
39.0
(102.2)
30.0
(86)
18.0
(64.4)
13.0
(55.4)
39
(102)
Average high °C (°F) −1.9
(28.6)
2.6
(36.7)
9.2
(48.6)
14.7
(58.5)
19.7
(67.5)
23.0
(73.4)
25.8
(78.4)
25.9
(78.6)
21.0
(69.8)
12.6
(54.7)
3.5
(38.3)
−2.2
(28)
12.8
(55)
Daily mean °C (°F) −5.9
(21.4)
−2.5
(27.5)
2.6
(36.7)
7.3
(45.1)
12.1
(53.8)
15.6
(60.1)
17.9
(64.2)
17.5
(63.5)
13.1
(55.6)
6.7
(44.1)
−0.2
(31.6)
−6.0
(21.2)
6.5
(43.7)
Average low °C (°F) −9.9
(14.2)
−7.5
(18.5)
−4.0
(24.8)
−0.2
(31.6)
4.3
(39.7)
8.1
(46.6)
10.0
(50)
9.2
(48.6)
5.2
(41.4)
0.8
(33.4)
−3.9
(25)
−9.7
(14.5)
0.2
(32.4)
Record low °C (°F) −38.5
(−37.3)
−33.0
(−27.4)
−26.0
(−14.8)
−11.0
(12.2)
−4.5
(23.9)
−1.5
(29.3)
2.0
(35.6)
−1.5
(29.3)
−7.0
(19.4)
−25.0
(−13)
−37.0
(−34.6)
−41.0
(−41.8)
−41.0
(−41.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 31.7
(1.248)
12.9
(0.508)
15.3
(0.602)
20.7
(0.815)
35.6
(1.402)
57.6
(2.268)
60.5
(2.382)
46.6
(1.835)
37.5
(1.476)
36.6
(1.441)
36.7
(1.445)
34.3
(1.35)
425.9
(16.768)
Rainfall mm (inches) 7.9
(0.311)
3.7
(0.146)
9.6
(0.378)
18.5
(0.728)
35.5
(1.398)
57.6
(2.268)
60.5
(2.382)
46.6
(1.835)
37.4
(1.472)
34.9
(1.374)
19.2
(0.756)
3.9
(0.154)
335.3
(13.201)
Snowfall cm (inches) 23.8
(9.37)
9.2
(3.62)
5.7
(2.24)
2.2
(0.87)
0.1
(0.04)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.1
(0.04)
1.7
(0.67)
17.5
(6.89)
30.4
(11.97)
90.6
(35.67)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.2 mm) 8.4 5.6 6.6 8.4 12.1 15.0 13.6 11.8 9.9 12.5 10.2 9.4 123.4
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.2 mm) 2.2 2.2 4.8 7.9 12.1 15.0 13.6 11.8 9.9 12.2 6.6 1.9 100.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.2 cm) 7.2 3.7 2.2 1.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.7 4.9 8.1 27.9
Source: [18]

Education[edit]

Williams Lake is served by Cariboo-Chilcotin School District 27. It has six public elementary schools teaching up to grade 6 and three StrongStart BC centres. These are Cataline Elementary (Cataline Strong Start Centre), Chilcotin Road Elementary, Marie Sharpe Elementary (Marie Sharpe StrongStart Centre), Mountview Elementary (Mountview StrongStart Centre), Nesika Elementary and Wildwood Elementary. There is also SD 27 OR#1 Wildwood, a StrongStart Outreach Centre. One secondary school, Lake City Secondary School, which was formed by an merger of Columneetza Secondary School and Williams Lake Secondary School in 2013, teaches grade 7 to 12 students. Alternative education provision is met by the Graduation Routes Other Ways centre and the Skyline Alternate School program. The GROW Continuing Education Centre offers grades 10-12 for adults.[19][20] Anne Stevenson Secondary School was closed in 2003 due to falling numbers of students.[20]

There are four independent schools in Williams Lake, West Coast Adventist DL School (K-12), Sacred Heart Catholic School (K-7), Maranatha Christian School (K-12) and Cariboo Adventist Academy (K-12).[19]

Colleges and universities[edit]

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[edit]

Arts and culture[edit]

  • The Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society[21] was formed in 2010 as a BC registered non-profit society, with a mandate not only to administer this function, but also to serve the many existing independent cultural organizations and events and to facilitate the development of arts and culture in the central part of the region.
  • The Station House Studio and Gallery Society,[22] 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-Chilcotin[23] offers a glimpse into the Central Cariboo's history and is home to the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame.
  • Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society[24] 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: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo Country) about his experiences with The Williams Lake Tribune, which won the 2009 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.
  • Williams Lake is referenced in the Swedish movie Skills[25] during the scene in which various characters from around the world are seen betting on online underground parkour-skateboard-breakdance-martial arts battles.

Transportation[edit]

Williams Lake is located on the junction of Highway 97 and Highway 20. Greyhound 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 HandyDART bus service.

The Williams Lake Airport is located 4.2 nautical miles (7.8 km; 4.8 mi)[26] northeast 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. There was a small seaplane base at Williams Lake Water Aerodrome but it is no longer in operation.

Local attractions[edit]

The Williams Lake Stampede[edit]

Held annually, on the Canada Day long weekend, the Williams Lake Stampede features Canadian Professional Rodeo Association[27] 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 4-H 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[edit]

Scout Island, which is 9.69 ha (23.9 acres) in size, is both a park and a nature area. It consists of a beach, picnic area, boat launch and several trails through mainly natural environment. Scout Island is actually two island that are connected to the west end of Williams Lake by a causeway.

Located on the island is the Nature House which provides a view of the marsh next to the island. It is run by the Williams Lake Field Naturalists and provides information, displays and programs dealing with the local environment.

The island is leased to Williams Lake by the owners, the Nature Trust of British Columbia.[28]

Media[edit]

Television[edit]

Radio[edit]

Other radio services[edit]

There was a Loran-C station at Wiliams Lake.

Publications[edit]

Surrounding communities[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Williams Lake, CY British Columbia (Census subdivision)
  2. ^ Facts & Figures
  3. ^ Williams Lake (CA) British Columbia (Census agglomeration)
  4. ^ Williams Lake British Columbia (Population centre)
  5. ^ Stangoe, Irene (1994). Cariboo Chilcotin Pioneer People and Places. Heritage House. p. 32. ISBN 1-895811-12-0. 
  6. ^ Stangoe, Irene (1994). Cariboo Chilcotin Pioneer People and Places. Heritage House. pp. 10–14. ISBN 1-895811-12-0. 
  7. ^ "The Colonial Period 1858 - 1871". Royal BC Museum. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  8. ^ A Chronology of Williams Lake
  9. ^ Profile of Ethnic Origin and Visible Minorities for Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2006 Census
  10. ^ Not including Frisians or Flemish
  11. ^ May include Sami and Kven
  12. ^ "Community Profiles from the 2011 Census, Statistics Canada - Census Subdivision". 2.statcan.gc.ca. 2010-12-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13. [dead link]
  13. ^ "Aboriginal Peoples - Data table". 2.statcan.ca. 2010-10-06. Retrieved 2013-04-13. [dead link]
  14. ^ Daily Data Report for July 1941
  15. ^ Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data - Billings
  16. ^ Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data - McLeese Lake
  17. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data - Williams Lake Airport". Environment Canada. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  18. ^ "Canadian Climate Normals 1981-2010 Station Data - Williams Lake River". Environment Canada. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  19. ^ a b School information - District 027 - Cariboo-Chilcotin, British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2011-09-30. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  20. ^ a b School district profile, British Columbia Ministry of Education. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
  21. ^ Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Society
  22. ^ Station House Studio and Gallery Society
  23. ^ Museum of the Cariboo-Chilcotin
  24. ^ Williams Lake Studio Theatre Society
  25. ^ Skills
  26. ^ Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 29 May 2014 to 0901Z 24 July 2014
  27. ^ Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
  28. ^ Scout Island
  29. ^ Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2011-273
  30. ^ Williams Lake Tribune
  31. ^ Cariboo Advisor
  32. ^ "Welcome to Williams Lake"

External links[edit]