Monday, 4 August 2008

British Columbia is 150 years old today!

The history of our area goes back ~ 10,000 years when the aboriginal people came from the north east over the ice bridge from Asia. It is now believed that some boats may have also come from South East Asia to South America and up the coast. The First Nations people spread down the center of the continent and out from there. Some may also have followed the seacoast from the north. They settled along the inlets and followed the rivers to their source.
Game and fish were plentiful and individual groups developed their own language, customs and art forms. Items were traded. Raids gathered slaves and started conflicts. The art form developed along abstract lines and has been called the most highly developed indigenous art form in the world. Tourism:

Europeans arrived on the coast in the mid 1700's, looking for a route to the Orient. They claimed to have discovered this area. The native people's verbal history tells stories of strange people with white faces that came in ships. They were often lost, their ships battered by storms and close to starving. For the most part, the white men were met by friendly natives. Unfortunately, the European also brought diseases which decimated many of the native villages - destroying their traditional cultural leadership.

In the 1850's, BC was a destination for people from all over the world. The GOLD RUSH had begun! Victoria was the center for trading and supplies. We have a living museum in the town of Barkerville where actors walk the streets and explain what it was like to live in those times.

From the turn of the century, the best known and loved artist and writer is Emily Carr. She was a rebel at heart, studying in Paris with the impressionalists. However, she preferred the rugged BC forests and travelled in a horse drawn wooden caravan with her menagerie of dogs, cats and a monkey. Her native name was 'Klee Wick' - the laughing one. She painted the first growth majestic trees and the native villages of the coast.

BC has little land that can be cultivated for food. The Okanagan became a center for fruits and vegetables - more recently, known for their excellent wines. The Fraser Valley is rich farm land that is being encroached by housing. Most of BC is 'raw product' with some processing. The forests and mines have fuelled the economy for years, leading to the development of roads and dams in the 1950's. My dad's company was very active. He travelled the province putting in and maintaining powerhouses in: mines, sawmills, hospitals, dams and the Kitimat/Kemano aluminum smelter.

Our politics have always been known as 'lively' with the people switching party alliance and an election never predictable.

Today, many immigrants have brought their ethnic skills. Universities have produced talented people who have contributed to the growth of technology. One of our best known companies is McDonald Deitwiller who has been leaders in weather monitoring systems and space technology.

BC is hosting the Winter Olympics for 2010. Vancouver is busy building sites and Whistler is preparing their ski areas for the events. The world is invited!

1 comment:

~ Phyllis ~ said...

I love visiting your blog. You have so many interesting stories and pictures.