Chetwynd, British Columbia Canada

Discover Chetwynd, British Columbia: A Gateway to the Peace River Country

Chetwynd, British Columbia, is a district municipality nestled in the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. This northeastern Canadian town, home to approximately 2,600 residents, is the first town eastbound travelers encounter after emerging from the Rockies along Highway 97. Chetwynd acts as the gateway to the Peace River Country and is known for its chainsaw carvings displayed throughout the town as public art. It is also home to a Northern Lights College campus and offers access to four provincial parks, two lakes, and several recreational trails.

The History of Chetwynd, British Columbia

Chetwynd's history dates back to 1918 when the present townsite hosted a trading post known as Little Prairie. The community adopted its name in honor of provincial politician Ralph L.T. Chetwynd, just prior to its incorporation in 1962. The town developed during the construction of infrastructure through the Rocky Mountains in the 1950s and served as a transshipment point during the building of hydroelectric dams in the 1960s and 1970s, and the new town of Tumbler Ridge in the early 1980s.

Geography and Climate of Chetwynd, British Columbia

Chetwynd is carved out of an ancient floodplain and lies in the northern foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The town experiences a cool continental climate, with frigid winters and warm summers. It lies in a transition area dividing two biogeoclimatic regions: the Boreal White and Black Spruce zone and the Engelmann Spruce-Subalpine Fir zone.

Demographics of Chetwynd, British Columbia

As of the 2021 Canadian census, Chetwynd had a population of 2,302. The town has a median age 10.4 years lower than the province's average. English is the mother tongue of nearly all (90%) residents of Chetwynd, with a small population (3%) of native Tagalog speakers.

Ethnicity in Chetwynd, British Columbia

As of 2016, there are few visible minorities in Chetwynd (8 percent) compared to the provincial average of 30 percent. Approximately 525, or 21 percent, of residents of Chetwynd considered themselves to have an Aboriginal identity, much higher than the provincial average of 6 percent.

Infrastructure in Chetwynd, British Columbia

Chetwynd is well-connected with highways 29 and 97 intersecting in town. A rail line branches off in three directions: northward to Fort St. John, east to Dawson Creek, and west through the Rockies to Prince George. The town also has rail, air, and bus service for regional and provincial transportation needs.

Culture and Recreation in Chetwynd, British Columbia

Chetwynd is home to the Little Prairie Heritage Museum and over 50 chainsaw carvings spread throughout the town. For outdoor recreation, a community forest on Mount Baldy provides residents with trails for walking, hiking, cycling, and cross-country skiing. Nearby provincial parks include Gwillim Lake Provincial Park, Moberly Lake Provincial Park, Pine River Breaks Provincial Park, and East Pine Provincial Park.

Freedom of the District Honour in Chetwynd, British Columbia

The Freedom of the District honour from Chetwynd has been awarded to Yvonne Elden in 2007.