Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1915
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1915

Fort George was incorporated as a city comprising 1,092 acres (about 440 hectares) on March 6, by a bill passed in the provincial Legislature. There was controversy over what the new city¿s name should be. Rivalry existed between the districts of Fort George and Prince George. Fort George residents believed the name change unnecessary whereas those in the Prince George townsite wanted that name, believing it to sound more progressive. The issue was settled with a plebiscite held at the inaugural election on May 20. Only 13 people voted to retain the name ¿Fort George¿ while 153 voted to change the name to the ¿City of Prince George.¿ A month later, the name was changed by a proclamation from the Attorney-General in Victoria. It read: ¿George the FIFTH, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India. GREETING. A PROCLAMATION. NOW KNOW YE that by virtue of the authority contained in Section 12 of the ¿Fort George Incorporation Act,¿ We do hereby order and proclaim that on, from and after the publication of this proclamation in two consecutive issues of the British Columbia Gazette, the municipality incorporated under the name ¿City of Fort George¿ by Chapter 29 of the Statutes of British Columbia, 1915, shall be known by the name ¿City of Prince George.¿

The city¿s first plebiscite was held the day of the first civic election on Thursday, May 20. The voters were asked to choose between ¿Prince George¿ and ¿Fort George¿ for the city¿s name. While 13 voters wanted to stay with ¿Fort George¿ the decision went to those 153 voters opting to change the name to ¿Prince George.¿ The prevailing opinion was that a progressive, modern city need not have the word ¿fort¿ in its name.

The Club Café opened, offering upscale dining and plush surroundings. The restaurant, located on Third Avenue in South Fort George, was outfitted with fine furnishings, the latest appliances, steam heat and indoor plumbing. Owner F. C. Wilson announced grandly that the food in his restaurant was prepared by his chefs and bakers who were ¿unequalled in Canada for knowledge and experience in the culinary arts.¿ The Club Café also featured separate private dining rooms which customers could book. A curious incident happened when Wilson took out a large display ad in the May 30 Saturday newspaper to list specials for the coming week. The following Tuesday afternoon, he disappeared. Financial distress was suspected. The police found him in Vancouver at the end of June. He was arrested and brought back to Prince George by boat to face trial and his creditors.

Having a bank¿s presence in downtown Prince George was important once the city was incorporated. The one-storey Bank of Montreal was put on skids and dragged from its original location in South Fort George. The management of the bank wanted it to be part of the new business centre being established. The bank also kept its reputation for being the first bank established in the region in 1910; it was the first to locate in the new downtown; and was eventually the first to build a permanent building.



Photographic History of Prince George
| Milltown to Downtown | Settlers' Effects |

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