The name New Caledonia was given to this area by Simon Fraser when he was at Fort St. James in 1806 (Morice, 1978, pg. 64). It is thought that it reminded him of the landscape in Scotland described to him by his mother. Since then, the history of north-central British Columbia has been largely shaped by the development of its natural resources.
First Nation peoples helped European settlers to build the fur trade into the first major export industry in New Caledonia. During the early 1900s, the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway through the region prompted the rapid development of forestry activity in the Upper Fraser corridor. This rapid growth in logging and sawmills provided stable, good paying jobs and many families settled in the small communities that developed along the railway.
After the Second World War, large corporations began consolidating the forest industry and moved their operations into larger high capacity sawmills near Prince George. Many of the smaller communities disappeared as people followed the work and moved to Prince George. Today the forest industry continues to be a major economic driver in the region. This website illustrates historical maps and documents that provide insight into development of this region's natural resources and the 'Opening' of New Caledonia.
BC Map Showing Locations