Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1957
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1957

In early January, two unusual luminescent objects were observed in the sky over Prince George. Pat Patterson, president of the Prince George Flying Saucer Club, described a yellow-coloured object in the sky to the north, and a bright orange one which appeared to the east, low on the horizon. They appeared for about ten minutes, and then vanished. He reported the sighting to the United States radar base at Mt. Baldy Hughes.

On January 23, a downtown Prince George landmark was gutted by fire. The Ritts-Keifer Building, built in 1914, had been a centre of community life for decades. In minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit cold, the firemen worked all night to save the building. Despite using a huge volume of water, they could not retard the flames. By morning, the building's hollow shell was heavy with the weight of ice. Firefighters did manage to contain the fire so it did not spread to other buildings on the block.

The month of February proved an exceptionally cold one. The freezing temperatures burst water pipes in many city homes. The situation prompted the city engineer to urge homeowners to keep their taps running slightly to avoid freeze up.

On Tuesday, January 29 the PGE Railway began regular service to North Vancouver. The speed of the modern diesel engine reduced the travel time by ten hours, shortening the one-way trip to 16 hours.

The Wenner-Gren BC Development Company Ltd. proposed an ambitious scheme to develop Prince George as the province's second largest city. Backed by the province, the development company envisioned extensive economic development in mining, lumbering, smelting and land settlement along the route of a proposed monorail. On Valentine's Day, the Hon. Ray Williston, Minister of Lands and Forests, spoke in the Legislature about the project's potential. The line, though never built, was planned to run from McLeod Lake north to the Yukon border.

Over the summer, the Westcoast Transmission pipeline was completed, raising expectations that natural gas heating would soon be available in Prince George. Residents were disappointed when it didn't happen in time for a particularly cold winter season.

Dial telephones were introduced, and expectations arose for improvements to the long distance telephone service.

Commencing September 1, The Citizen became a daily newspaper. It had been a weekly newspaper for more than 30 years and in 1952 began publishing twice a week.

In the December 12 election, Alderman Carrie Jane Gray was elected the first female mayor of Prince George.

Near year's end, the Prince George Industrial Development Commission announced construction would begin in 1958 of a $1 million dollar four-storey hotel to be called the Simon Fraser Inn. American investors had been attracted as a direct result of the promotional work done by the PGIDC. Located at Seventh Avenue and Quebec Street, the new hotel would feature 100 rooms, 14 three-room apartments on the top floor, ground floor shops, a cocktail lounge and coffee shop and a dining room to be known as "The Golden Triangle Room." A private dining room would also be available to accommodate up to 50 people.

Photographic History of Prince George
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