Princeton, British Columbia

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Location in British Columbia
Princeton, British Columbia
State : CanadaCanada Canada
Province : British Columbia
Regional District : Okanagan similkameen
Coordinates : 49 ° 27 ′  N , 120 ° 31 ′  W Coordinates: 49 ° 27 ′  N , 120 ° 31 ′  W
Height : 700  m
Area : 10.47 km²
Residents : 2724 (as of 2011)
Population density : 260.2 inhabitants / km²
Time zone : Pacific Time ( UTC − 8 )
Postal code : V0X

Princeton is a small town at the confluence of the Similkameen Rivers and Tulameen Rivers in southern British Columbia , Canada .


Princeton is located at kilometer 134 of Highway 3 (a section of the Crowsnest Highway ) at about 650  m altitude, in the valley of the Similkameen River at the mouth of the Tulameen River. The city is the center of the eastern part of the Okanagan-Similkameen region , several roads open up the southern Thompson Plateau from here ; the Cascade Mountains south of the Similkameen River are much less developed.


Long before the arrival of the first white settlers, Indians lived in the valley of the upper Similkameen River from the mining of ocher and silica ; Yak-Tulamn , located at the mouth of the Tulameen River, served as a trading center. Archaeological finds show that goods from a distribution area between the coasts of Oregon and the prairies east of the Rocky Mountains were exchanged.

Excavations show a settlement history of at least 7,500 years, many of the settlement sites used at that time and the paths between them are still used today. The Similkameen people managed to adapt relatively quickly to the new circumstances , despite being decimated by diseases such as smallpox and influenza brought in by settlers ; Princeton is still a cultural center for this people today.

The first whites to come to the Princeton area were hunters and traders from the Hudson's Bay Company and other fur-trading companies en route from Kamloops to Fort Okanagan . The first of these adventurers who has been proven to follow the Similkameen River valley was Alexander Ross in December 1812 . But it was not until the Oregon Compromise of 1846 and the associated demarcation along the 49th parallel that it was necessary to explore the region in order to explore suitable routes from the Lower Mainland into the interior. Various routes were explored, which overcame today's Crowsnest Highway through the mountains of the Cascade Mountains:

Initially, these inadequately developed trails were supposed to serve the exchange of fur and food to the isolated bases in the valleys of the Similkameen River, the Okanagan Valley and the valley of the Kettle River , but finds of precious metals and the construction of the much more usable Dewdney Trail ensured an accelerated settlement.

The first settler in what was then Vermillion Forks, today's Princeton - John Fall Allison - settled at the confluence of the two rivers in 1858 and staked claims for gold , copper and coal , he also ran a cattle farm. His indigenous wife - Nora Yakumtikum - with whom he had four children, carried out transports with pack horses on behalf of the Hudson's Bay Company . Since Allison fathered a large number of offspring with his second wife, numerous Similkameen still consider Allison to be one of their ancestors.

As early as 1860, the name of the city was changed on the occasion of a visit to eastern Canada by the Prince of Wales - later King Edward VII. In the same year, surveying work to determine the appearance of the city in today's eastern part took place over an area of ​​around 700 acres (approx. 283 hectares).

Until 1895, the village lived largely from agriculture, merchanting and panning for gold in the Tulameen River and Similkameen River, the discovery of gold mines in Granite Creek near the present-day ghost town of Granite City, which quickly rose to become the third largest community in British Columbia, also made Princeton's importance grow . As part of the gold discoveries in the side valleys of the Tulameen River, a camp of Chinese immigrants was set up, which explains the high proportion of the Asian population in Princeton.

In addition to gold mining - the mines of Granite City were abandoned in 1910 - other deposits also proved to be productive, in particular the mining of coal in up to 15 pits, some of which existed until 1945 and from which around 1.6 million tons of hard coal were extracted. economically important deposits of copper and platinum were to be mentioned. The industrial style of copper mining was not stopped until the end of the 20th century.

Unsurprisingly, Princeton woodworking played an important role, with sawmills like the Kettle Valley Lumber Company, Taylor Lumber Company, Huff Brothers Sawmill, and WT Squelch & Son operating in the area.


The 2011 census revealed a population of 2,724 residents for the municipality. The population has decreased by 2.0% compared to the 2006 census, while the population in British Columbia increased by 7.0%.


After the mining of copper stopped, the woodworking industry in Princeton is the most important industry, the largest employer is Weyerhaeuser Canada. In addition, agriculture - especially the breeding of horses and cattle - plays a major role. The cultivation of fruit and wine is gaining in importance.

Princeton has a well-developed tourist infrastructure and is ideal as a starting point for discovering the surrounding nature reserves , such as the EC Manning Provincial Park or the Cascade Provincial Recreation Area . It is particularly popular as a destination for weekenders from the greater Vancouver area ; there are 10 motels and various restaurants available for these and other travelers.

Princeton was also the location of several feature films, such as Malone (1987) with Burt Reynolds and The Promise (2001) with Jack Nicholson .


The Dewdney Trail was the main connection to the outside world for years, in 1909 a line of the Victoria, Vancouver & Eastern Railway - a branch line of the American Great Northern Railway - reached Princeton. In 1915 the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Princeton and established the connection between the Lower Mainland and the Kootenay region , the importance of the Victoria, Vancouver & Eastern Railway declined. Rail traffic was discontinued in 1974, after the line was dismantled, the former embankment serves as a hiking and mountain bike trail.

The road connection to Hope and Osoyoos was not opened until 1949, later the Highway 5A, which opens up the southern Thompson Plateau and leads to Merritt and Kamloops, was built as a branch line of the Yellowhead Highway 5 (also called Coquihalla Highway in this section ). A few subordinate streets open up the greater Princeton area:

  • Tullameen-Coalmont-Road (paved) leads to Tulameen and Coamont, the Granite Creek Road starting from it opens up the ghost towns of Granite Creek and Blakeburn as well as the area of ​​the former gold mines
  • Princeton-Summerland-Road (paved to Jellicoe) leads over Jura, Jellicoe, Bankeir, Osprey Lake and Faulder through the southern Thompson Plateau to Summerland on the west bank of Okanagan Lake
  • Whipsaw Creek Road to the east edge of the Cascade Provincial Recreation Area

Other unpaved roads are mainly used for forestry development in the region, they can be used, but great care should be taken.

Web links

Commons : Princeton (British Columbia)  - collection of images, videos, and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Statistics Canada (2011 Census). Princeton Community Profile , accessed July 5, 2012