Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1951
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1951

The Northwest Telephone Company announced its intention to invest $250,000 during the year to upgrade and extend telephone service in Prince George.

RCMP headquarters was moved from its downtown location to a leased house at the corner of Bowser and Stratford Streets, known as the Millar Addition. State-of-the-art radio equipment was installed for police communications.

St. Michael and All Angels' church was built at Fifth Avenue and Victoria Street, and featured a bell tower that housed an historic bell. Rung by hand, the six-hundred pound bell had been cast at the Whitechapel Foundry in England in 1888. It was shipped to St. James church in Vancouver before being donated to Prince George in the early 1940s in anticipation of the building of St. Michael. The bell was kept in storage for ten years, then installed at the church's new downtown location. It was used for the first time at a June wedding.

Rotarians worked during July and August to create a park at the top of Connaught Hill. In a large group, they scaled the hill with axes and brush hooks to create open space for the park. A bulldozer was used to create an access road and 9,000 yards of gravel were used to create the road surface.

A flurry of residential and commercial building was underway, with completed construction tallying a million dollars. The population of Prince George in 1951 was about 5,700.

On November 22, a mass rally held at the Prince George Hotel resulted in 60 city merchants, tradesmen and contractors voting to form a Prince George Merchants' Association. The major issues of concern were trade licensing, adoption of uniform closing hours, banking hours, and fair trade practices.

In mid-December, a three-hour power blackout paralyzed the city. The Northwest Telephone Company was one of the few business with a backup generator and was able to carry on. This was the longest blackout in the city's history, and was caused by low levels of water in the Nechako River-too little to turn the turbines. Shallow water around the main inlets to the city's water-pumping well on the river shore had frozen and cut off the water flow. At the hospital, nurses carried coal oil lanterns to find their way through the hallways and wards. In the days following, the city made a plea for conservation. For several days, merchants turned off their electric signs, homeowners used electric equipment sparingly, and the ice arena and curling rink could not be used after dark.


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

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