Quesnel, British Columbia Canada

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

Quesnel, British Columbia, is a city nestled in the Cariboo Regional District of Canada. Positioned almost evenly between Prince George and Williams Lake, it serves as a gateway to northern British Columbia and the Yukon. The city is situated at the confluence of the Fraser River and Quesnel River, making it a significant urban center with a population of 23,146. Quesnel is also a sister city to Shiraoi, Japan, and has a rich history of hosting sports events, including the 2000 British Columbia Winter Games.

The Rich History of Quesnel, British Columbia

Long before the Cariboo Gold Rush of 1862 brought prospectors to the region, the Southern Carrier (Dakelh) people inhabited the land around Quesnel. They were known as ‘Uda Ukelh’, meaning ‘people who travel by boat on water early in the morning’. The city's name, "Quesnel", is derived from Jules Maurice Quesnel, who accompanied Simon Fraser on his journey to the Pacific Ocean.

Quesnel was initially called 'Quesnelle Mouth' to distinguish it from Quesnel Forks, 97 kilometers upriver. By 1900, the name had been shortened to its current form. The city's location along the Cariboo Wagon Road, a gold mining trail, made it a supply hub for nearby Barkerville, the commercial center of the Cariboo Gold Rush. Quesnel also marks one end of the Alexander MacKenzie Heritage Trail.

From 1862 to 1886, and again from 1909 until 1921, Quesnel was an important landing for sternwheelers due to its location on the Fraser River. The last sternwheeler on the upper Fraser was Quesnel's own namesake craft, the Quesnel. The city was incorporated in 1928.

Geography and Climate of Quesnel, British Columbia

Quesnel is located at 52°58′47″N 122°29′37″W, with an elevation of 474 m (1,555 ft). The city experiences an average annual snowfall of 177.9 cm (70.0 in) and rainfall of 540.3 mm (21.27 in). The average winter temperature is −8.6 °C (16.5 °F), while the summer temperature averages 16.7 °C (62.1 °F). The city is in the Pacific Time Zone.

Despite its inland location around the 53rd parallel north, Quesnel's humid continental climate is mild by Canadian standards, thanks to marine airflows from the Pacific. The highest temperature ever recorded in Quesnel was 41.7 °C (107.1 °F) on 29 June 2021, and the coldest was −46.7 °C (−52 °F) on 31 December 1927 and 17 January 1950.

Demographics of Quesnel, British Columbia

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Quesnel had a population of 9,889 living in 4,508 of its 4,766 total private dwellings. With a land area of 35.35 km2 (13.65 sq mi), it had a population density of 279.7/km2 (724.5/sq mi) in 2021. The median household income in 2015 for Quesnel was $60,651, slightly below the British Columbia provincial average of $69,995.

Transportation in Quesnel, British Columbia

Quesnel is served by the Quesnel Airport, with several commercial flights daily to and from Vancouver, BC. The city also has a local transit system provided by BC Transit.

Tourism in Quesnel, British Columbia

Quesnel's tourism industry thrives on the city's access to nature, offering activities like hunting, fishing, hiking, and canoeing. The Rocky Mountaineer, a rail-tour train, also travels through and stops overnight in Quesnel at the Pacific Great Eastern Railway Station.

The city's history as a gold-rush town is reflected in over 30 heritage sites around the city. Quesnel is home to the world's largest gold pan, and it is the closest city to Barkerville, the largest historic site in western North America. Quesnel also boasts the Hallis Lake Cross Country Skiing Facility, Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park, Pinnacles Provincial Park, and Dragon Mountain Provincial Park.

Culture in Quesnel, British Columbia

Quesnel is known for its twenty-three decorated fire hydrants, sponsored by local businesses. The city is also home to the Quesnel Museum, which houses numerous artifacts, including Mandy, a "haunted doll" made in the early 20th century.

Neighbourhoods and Nearby Communities of Quesnel, British Columbia

Quesnel comprises several neighborhoods, including West Quesnel, Uplands, Riverview, West Riverside, South Quesnel, Southhills, Red Bluff, Dragon Lake, Rich Bar, North Quesnel, Carson Sub, and Johnston Sub. Nearby communities outside the city include Moose Heights, Ten Mile Lake, Barlow Creek, West Fraser / Narcosli, Cottonwood, Nazko, Bouchie Lake, and Kersley.

Sister City of Quesnel, British Columbia

Quesnel shares a sister city relationship with Shiraoi, Japan, fostering cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two cities.