Opening New Caledonia - Opening New Caledonia - Timeline 1960
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1960

Official opening ceremonies were held on Saturday, January 16 for "British Columbia's newest and most modern hospital." Opened by Health Minister Eric Martin, the new 125-bed hospital was built to allow for expansion to a 245-bed institution. The space allocated to x-ray facilities and operating rooms was doubled from that of the old hospital building. State-of-the-art communications technology provided doctors with a paging system and patients with the ability to call the nurses' station. Two months later, on March 16, the Prince George and District Hospital changed its name to "Prince George Regional Hospital."

For the first time, the City of Prince George appointed a Municipal Manager. Arran Thomson, formerly the city clerk, was chosen for the position. Voters indicated by plebiscite in the November 1959 election they supported the creation of this position.

In April, the dust problem in Prince George was so bad that signs were posted on all the city's unpaved streets restricting vehicles to a 20 m.p.h. speed limit. Fines for speeding on dusty roads ranged between $50 and $300. City engineer Bill Jones warned the public that the restriction would be strictly enforced.

City Council voted to purchase a new ladder truck for the fire department. Chief August Dornbierer was not pleased. He had expected a new $50,000 truck would be approved. Instead, the city decided to purchase an old 1933 model truck from the Vancouver Fire Department for $7,000. Chief Dornbierer described the truck as "a museum piece" and declared that the city's money would be "going down the drain" with the purchase.

The Rotary Club commissioned a 10-foot high, 1,500 pound wooden statue of "Mr. P. G. " to be completed as a mascot for its annual convention. His first duty was to stand outside the Simon Fraser Hotel as a welcome to the 600 convention delegates. Though born a Rotarian, he was later dressed as a Shriner and an Elk on the occasions of their respective conventions. For many years, the statue was featured regularly in downtown parades.

In 1960, the School Board faced a serious shortage of teachers. The city responded by launching a large-scale recruitment campaign directed to graduates of the teacher training colleges in Vancouver and Victoria. The effort paid off, with 21 interested teachers responding and agreeing to come to Prince George. Another dozen teachers were recruited from other areas, including six from the United Kingdom.

During the month of August, 100 new block number address signs-in black letters on a white field-were installed along city streets. The cost was approximately $1,300.

City Council moved into its new chambers at the rear of City Hall on September 12. The new council chamber featured four rows of upholstered tiered seats for the public gallery.

In December, merchants in downtown Prince George stayed open longer to serve Christmas shoppers. By doing so, they were in violation of the Municipal Act. At that time, stores were required to close at 6:00 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; at noon on Wednesdays and 9:00 p.m. on Fridays. Retail stores had to remain closed all day on Sundays and statutory holidays. The only exceptions were drug stores, confectioneries, and stores selling fresh foods. The laws were upheld by the RCMP who gave store owners an initial warning, followed by the threat of charges if compliance did not occur. Police enforced the regulations in the downtown area, but stores in South Fort George, along the Hart, Vanderhoof or Quesnel highways were exempt.

Photographic History of Prince George
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