Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1920
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1920

In January, lobbying began in earnest to have a federal building constructed to house the post office and customs agency. Other federal services such as the fisheries inspector would also be accommodated in the new building and it was hoped that an assay office could become established. Although the building was yet to be promised, by the fall of that year the federal government announced changes in postal delivery to Prince George from the southern part of the province. Mail had been delivered by stage over the 330 mile route from Ashcroft. The post office proposed to retire the driver and six horses in favour of using rail transport. As of November, mail would travel on the PGE Railway as far as Soda Creek and then by steamer up the Fraser River to Prince George.

Prince George City Council applied to the War Trophies Department to request one of the guns recovered from the battlefields in France. It was to be displayed as a memorial "for the heroic young men of this district who paid the supreme sacrifice in France and Belgium" during the First World War. The cannon which arrived in October 1920 was described as "a sad-looking gun, faintly covered with the camouflage paint of war time." It was placed on the lawn outside City Hall, with its barrel aimed down George Street.

City council voted to establish a library service for Prince George. An arrangement was reached with the Vancouver Public Library to ship 2,000 books here every three months for circulation to the area's readers. The annual cost was $250 for access to 8,000 books. That first library opened May 12 in a space provided within city hall. Mr. Alleyne Wright was engaged as City Librarian. At that point, the stock contained 500 books from Vancouver's Carnegie Library and 600 volumes loaned by the Dominion government. Readers had access to the collection only on Wednesday afternoons.

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway erected its office building on George Street at Third Avenue, making it a highly desirable business location. Next door was located J. Wyatt's cleaning and pressing shop. Disaster struck when gasoline then used in the cleaning process caught fire and engulfed the shop in flames. The fire brigade was able to extinguish the blaze and saved adjacent businesses.

The Bank of Montreal constructed a bank building at the corner of Third Avenue and Quebec Street. The branch opened for business in September. For more than eight decades now, the Bank of Montreal has operated at that location.

The most noticeable change in Prince George by 1920 was the expansion in an approximately 100 mile radius around the city. This satellite development helped create a booming economy. Surrounding settlements at times doubled the population to 6,000. Those coming to live here were primarily lumbermen and farmers-attracted to the lumber camps and farming districts that were opening up.



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