Terrace is an inland city in the North Coast of British Columbia. The largest city in the region, it has a population of about 12,500 people (2015), a significant portion of which are the Kitselas people, who have lived in the area for thousands of years.
The community is the regional retail and service hub for the northwestern portion of British Columbia.
Terrace was once the cedar pole capital of the world. Over 50,000 poles were manufactured annually to supply many parts of North America with telephone and electric power poles. The world's tallest pole, 50 metres (160 ft) long, was cut in Terrace and stands in New York City. For many years, logging was the region's major industry, but Terrace's economy has been forced to diversify since nearly all wood mills not operated by First Nations groups have closed down. Terrace's largest employers are in the public sector, but there are still some large private employers. Many people in Terrace commute to Kitimat to work at Alcan. The city has continually tried to reinvent itself as a service hub for northwestern British Columbia.
In 2001, the community was significantly affected by problems with and the closure of the largest local employer, the former Skeena Cellulose Inc. sawmill. The mill was bought by Terrace Lumber Co., a group of local owners, and reopened in late August 2005, but did not prosper and closed in mid-2006. By the end of 2006, the remaining equipment was auctioned off and the mill was torn down. The mill's former site is now a vacant lot with its footings covered in graffiti.
The city's economic prospects are linked to tourism, mineral developments to the north and northwest, construction of a power line towards Iskut and energy-related developments in Kitimat. The Prince Rupert container port expansion has resulted in increased rail traffic by CN Rail.
The region is one of the oldest continuously occupied regions of the world and, long before European contact, was one of the most densely populated areas north of Mexico. The flat mountain ranges surrounding Terrace are traditionally called Ganeeks Laxha, which in the Tsimshian language means the "Stairway to Heaven". The Skeena River was known as the K'shian River, meaning "where the mist comes out" — ksi, to come out from; yeen (hian-mist), clouds. The Tsimshian Nation's traditional economy was based on hunting, fishing and social gatherings, for domestic consumption or trade, on their traditional lands. For the Aboriginal people, the Skeena River was used for transportation, communication, war, trade, as a source of food, and at times for protection.
In 1866 the steamer Mumford made it as far as Kitsumkalum with supplies for the Collins Overland Telegraph line. It took an average of three days to travel from Port Essington (at the mouth of the Skeena River, near Prince Rupert) to Hazelton. In 1891 the Hudson's Bay Company sternwheeler Caledonia negotiated the Kitselas Canyon and reached Hazelton. A number of other steamers were built around the turn of the century, in part due to the growing fishing industry and the Klondike Gold Rush. In honour of its steamboat heritage, Terrace celebrates a festival called Riverboat Days each summer.
The riverboats operated on the Skeena for only 22 years; the last boat, the Inlander, finished up in September 1912, when the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway took over its function.
During World War II, military units composed primarily of conscripts from central and eastern Canada were stationed in Terrace. Morale was low due to the poor relationship between the soldiers and the local populace, the isolation, the damp weather, lack of recreation, crowded facilities, and the distance from home. In late 1944, because of declining enlistment and heavy casualties, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King was forced to reconsider his promise to not deploy conscripts overseas. Mackenzie King decided to a one-time assignment of conscripts for overseas service. On November 24, 1944, news that conscripts might be sent overseas triggered a mutiny amongst the men stationed in Terrace. It took until November 29 for officers to restore order to the troops. The Terrace Mutiny was the most serious breach of discipline in Canadian military history.
Being close to the Pacific Coast, Terrace has a humid continental climate with wet, cold winters (though much milder than inland places) and drier, warm summers, with an annual normal mean temperature of 6.3 °C (43.3 °F) varying between average temperature in January of −4.3 °C (24.3 °F) and in July 16.4 °C (61.5 °F).
Terrace receives an average annual rainfall of 970.1 mm (38.19 in) and snowfall of 375.4 cm (147.80 in); totalling 1,322 mm (52.05 in) of precipitation, which is enough to sustain the lush vegetation of the area. October to February are the wettest months.
There are several flights that run to and from Terrace. Central Mountain Air runs 5 flights weekly to Smithers, and six to Prince George, and Air Canada and Hawkair offer twice daily service to Vancouver. (Hawkair only has only one flight on Saturday.)
- 1 Northwest Regional Airport (YXT IATA), 103-4401 Bristol Rd, ☏ , fax: . Northwest Regional Airport serves the communities of Terrace and Kitimat.
Terrace sits at the intersection of the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16) and Highway 37. The city is 2 hours east of Prince Rupert, 1½ hours north of Kitimat, 1 hour west of Kitwanga (southern terminus of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway), and 8 hours west of Prince George. As this is northern mountains, driving in this area is not recommended in the winter if you are not familiar with travel in such conditions.
- 2 VIA Rail, Terrace train station, 3100 Kalum St, toll-free: . Terrace is a station on the Jasper-Prince Rupert VIA Rail line, and arrives eastbound W F Su 10:20AM, and westbound M Th Sa 6PM, leaving five minutes later. There is an overnight stop in Prince George for those coming from or going to Jasper.
Terrace is small enough to walk around downtown, and there are seven bus routes in town including a connector to Kitimat and the airport.
- The Kermodei Bear: This all white relative of a black bear is the town mascot of Terrace. It is not an albino, but one with a recessive gene inherited from both parents. Sacred to the First Nations people of the area, sightings are exceedingly rare, and few locals have seen one.
- 1 Heritage Park Museum, 4702 Kerby Ave, ☏ . May 31-Aug 31: daily 10AM - 6PM; otherwise by appointment. The site features a number of interesting, early buildings including eight authentic log structures, an artifact-storage shed (open to the public), a wagon garage, a miniature replica school house, a blacksmith shop and an organic Heritage Garden. Together they offer a rare glimpse into the social, industrial and economic life of Terrace in the early years of the last century. By donation.
- 2 George Little House, 3100 Kalum St, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. George Little is the man that most people refer to as “The Founder of Terrace”. He gave the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway 9 acres of his land so that a new railway station would be placed upon it; thus started the beginnings of another northern town. With the coming of the railway, Terrace soon became a busy commercial hub. George Little built this permanent home for his family in 1914. The main reception floor is used as retail space to sell local artists' wares (including First Nations art) and Terrace souvenirs.
- Kitselas Canyon National Historic Site (on the banks of the Skeena River on Kitselas Indian Reserve Number One, about 20 km NE of Terrace). The site encompasses approximately 5000 years of Aboriginal history and is a place of major significance to the Tsimshian people; in the 19th century, two permanent Tsimshian villages occupied a strategic position on the river, giving the people here control over the gateway between the coast and the interior, and therefore control of trade with the Hudson's Bay Company. The fact that Gitlaxdzok was a fortified village site makes it unique on the north coast; and, the cultural record is especially rich and has allowed detailed archaeological reconstruction of the culture history at Kitselas Canyon, including aspects of social change, the lasting relationship with people on the coast, vast trade networks, and changes in settlement patterns.
- Fish: There are many lodges, guides, and tour companies to help you catch steelhead, salmon and trout, and the Skeena is well known for its good fishing.
- During the summer, Terrace offers many outdoor activities, such as fishing for a wide range of freshwater fish, mountain biking, hiking, kiting and hunting in the surrounding areas.
- In the fall, many of Terrace's inhabitants go out to search for pine mushrooms (Tricholoma magnivelare), and pick berries.
- There is a variety of winter sports available in Terrace and the surrounding region including skiing and snowboarding at nearby Shames Mountain, as well as snowmobiling, ice fishing, curling, and ice skating.
- 1 House of Sim-oi-Ghets (House of Chiefs), PO Box 544 (Located 3 miles West of Terrace, BC on Highway 16 West), ☏ , fax: , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 9AM-5PM, Su 11AM-5PM, closed statutory holidays, open until 6PM in summer.
- 2 Skeena Mall, 4741 Lakelse Avenue (off Highway 16 in Downtown Terrace). Su 11AM-5PM, M-Th 9:30AM-6PM, F 9:30AM-9PM, Sa 9:30AM-6PM. Retailers include Save-On-Foods, Winners and Sport Chek.
- 1 Don Diego's, 3212 Kalum Street, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-9PM. Gourmet Mexican, but not really authentic.
- Blue Fin Sushi Bar, 4608 Lakelse Ave, ☏ . Tu-Th 11:30AM-8PM, F Sa 11:30AM-9PM. Sushi, sashimi and other Japanese fusion dishes, a wide variety of menu items, made with fresh seafoods, vegetables and fruits. Brown rice and soy wraps are also available as alternatives to white rice and seaweed. A selection of desserts and BC wines.
- Northern Dhaba Hot House, 4728 Lazelle Ave, ☏ . M-Sa 11:30AM-8PM. Indian.
- Mumford's Beerhouse & Grill, 5430 Highway 16 West, ☏ . Gastropub.
- 1 The Lodge at Skeena Landing, 4055 Motz Road, ☏ . Free Wireless Internet, Keurig coffee, free parking, fireplaces and patios in some rooms. From $139.
- 2 Copper River Motel, 4113 Hwy 16 East, ☏ , toll-free: . Trailers available for rent. RV and tent sites also available. Rooms from $95.
- 3 Rest Inn, 4326 Lakelse Avenue, ☏ . Flat screen TV + DVD player, air conditioner, refrigerator, microwave, coffee machine, toaster, free Wi-Fi throughout, business centre, Free private parking, room selection with or without kitchenette, free shuttle service from & to the airport, laundry facilities available. From $95.
- 4 Skeena River House Bed & Breakfast, 1778 Sleeping Beauty Lane, ☏ , toll-free: . All rooms have a private bathroom, free Wi-fi, free breakfast, access to the deck and Riverfront Common Room (with dining table, fireplace, television, pool table, and bar). From $125.
- 5 Sunshine Inn Executive Suites, 4812 Highway 16 West, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Executive suites plus long stay apartments. $130+.
|Routes through Terrace|
|END ← Prince Rupert ←||W E||→ Kitwanga → Jasper|
|Queen Charlotte-Skidegate ← Prince Rupert ←||W E||→ Kitwanga → Prince George|
|END ← Kitimat ←||S N||→ Kitwanga → Watson Lake|