Pemberton, British Columbia Canada

Discover Pemberton, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Nestled in the Squamish-Lillooet region of southwestern British Columbia, Pemberton is a charming village municipality that offers a unique blend of history and natural beauty. This community is located on the southwest shore of the Lillooet River and the northeast shore of Pemberton Creek, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers. Pemberton is easily accessible via BC Highway 99, being approximately 153 kilometres north of Vancouver, 33 kilometres northeast of Whistler, and 100 kilometres southwest of Lillooet.

The First Nations of Pemberton, British Columbia

The Pemberton Valley is the unceded traditional territory of the Lil'wat First Nation, who have resided in the area for thousands of years. The Lil'wat people, now concentrated at Mount Currie, were known for their seasonal journeys into the headwaters of the Lillooet River during the hunting season. The absence of trails indicates that travel was mostly by canoe. The indigenous farmers introduced potato growing to the area, having received seed potatoes either from passing early traders or from visiting the Lower Mainland.

Early European Exploration in Pemberton, British Columbia

The valleys of the Birkenhead River and Lillooet River first saw outsiders when employees of the Hudson's Bay Company ventured into the area. In 1827, Francis Ermatinger arrived from the northeast via Seton Lake and Anderson Lake, followed by James Murray Yale from the south three years later. Their objective was to discover a feasible route between Kamloops and Fort Langley that bypassed the dangerous waters of the lower Fraser Canyon. Alexander Caulfield Anderson undertook a journey in 1846 to determine a new route suitable for horse travel, which connected the Fraser with present-day Mount Currie.

Port Pemberton: A Historical Hub

During the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858, the Douglas Road was upgraded to convey miners and supplies. This led to the establishment of Port Pemberton, a now ghost town that was the hub of this trail. The port and general area were named after Joseph Despard Pemberton, a surveyor for the Hudson's Bay Company and Surveyor-General for the Colony of Vancouver Island in the 1850s. By 1874, only a few settlers remained and the indigenous people had returned to their traditional ways.

Agriculture in Pemberton, British Columbia

Agriculture has played a significant role in the history of Pemberton. John Currie, a permanent resident by 1885, had significant landholdings with partners Dugald McDonald and Owen Williams. Currie was also the inaugural Pemberton Meadows postmaster from 1895–1901. The general store/post office was housed in a log building on his farm, which was immediately northwest of Pemberton.

The Early Community of Pemberton, British Columbia

In the early 1900s, the community began to take shape. John McKenzie opened a store on the Barbour land, and the Pemberton Trading Co bought the store in the 1910s. The community hall was erected in 1931, hosting the Pemberton community dances. That year, the Pemberton and District Board of Trade was formed, and the Agerton post office was renamed Pemberton.

The Railway in Pemberton, British Columbia

The railway has played a significant role in the development of Pemberton. In 1873, a route via the Pemberton area was surveyed for the proposed Canadian transcontinental railway. By 1911, the Pacific Great Eastern Railway owned 1,190 hectares around Pemberton. The rail head reached the Pemberton area in early October 1914, marking a significant milestone in the area's development.

Trails, Roads, Ferries, and Bridges in Pemberton, British Columbia

Pemberton has a rich history of trails, roads, ferries, and bridges. The Lillooet Cattle Trail, built via Pemberton in 1877, was one of the earliest trails in the area. In 1909, the Red Bridge was erected north of the later PGE bridge. By 1953, a gravel road across former swampland replaced the old narrow dirt road to Mount Currie.

Forestry in Pemberton, British Columbia

Forestry has been a significant part of Pemberton's history. The First Nations were the first loggers, and during the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush, timber was felled to build bridges and boats. In 1938, a BC Forest Service ranger cabin was built close to the railway.

Demographics of Pemberton, British Columbia

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Pemberton had a population of 3,407 living in 1,357 of its 1,430 total private dwellings, a change of 32.4% from its 2016 population of 2,574.

The Later Community of Pemberton, British Columbia

The fortunes of Pemberton have been interdependent with Mount Currie for decades. The community moved from a resource-based town to a resort-dependent town in the 1980s. However, residents dislike being a bedroom community for Whistler. The rapid population growth has created a housing shortage, and local employment opportunities are limited, making commuting the norm.

Recreational Trails in Pemberton, British Columbia

The Pemberton Valley Trail Association has built 48 kilometres of public trails for cross-country skiing, biking, walking, or horseback riding. The latest trail connects One Mile Lake to Nairn Falls, a 1-hour hike in summer each way but can be used year-round with skis or snowshoes in winter.

Music Festivals in Pemberton, British Columbia

Pemberton has hosted several music festivals, including the Pemberton Festival in 2008, produced by Live Nation, and the Pemberton Music Festival in 2014 and 2015, organized by HUKA Entertainment. The festivals have featured a variety of genres, including rock, indie rock, hip hop, electronic, heavy metal, and comedy.

Climate of Pemberton, British Columbia

Pemberton experiences a very warm and dry climate in the summer and a mild and wet climate in the winter. The area is an ecologically complex and diverse zone referred to as the Coast-Interior Transition zone.

Fauna of Pemberton, British Columbia

Pemberton is home to a diverse range of fauna, including large predators like grizzly and black bears, big cats, grey wolves, and coyotes. Herbivores and ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, mountain goats, and mountain sheep also inhabit the area. The region is also home to a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and avian species.

Discover the charm and beauty of Pemberton, British Columbia, a community rich in history and natural beauty. Whether you're a history buff, nature lover, or adventure seeker, Pemberton has something for everyone.