May 11, 2009 - British Columbia, Canada, Travel    No Comments

Mile 0

Like Moosejaw, Dawson Creek is a faded old town milking its heyday for all its worth. Even though it sits at Mile 0 of the Alaska highway, it is not the place to place to stock up on supplies and enjoy one last taste of civilization. Locals recommend heading about 75km up the Alaska Highway to Fort St-John, a larger community. It is still a ‘must stop at location’ for history buffs or if only to catch a glimpse of the famed Mile 0 markers:

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The town is quiet and sleepy. Some folks, like the managers of the Mile 0 RV Park where I’m staying seem jaded to all the folks who come and go while others, like the gals at the tourist info centre or the wonderful manager of Read’s Books, recognize that giddy tourists like me are not only the lifeblood of this town, but also the source of memorable stories.

The city, like Dawson City in the Yukon, is named for George Mercer Dawson, a Canadian scientist and surveyor.

George Mercer Dawson, from one of Dawson Creek's many murals

George Mercer Dawson, from one of Dawson Creek's many murals

Dawson Creek was originally a farming community, but soon became a railroad hub until it was invaded by American troops in the dead of winter of 1942. That invasion will be described in further detail in my next post, but to show that I’m not exaggerating:

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Most of the town being shut tight on Sundays, I only did a walking tour yesterday afternoon. It was disappointing and I quickly gave up. Most of the landmarks on the tour have been destroyed and I got tired of markers saying that ‘such and such was located here in Dawson Creek’s hey day.’

I then went home, refilled my Nalgene water bottle, and set off to walk part of a trail that starts about a block from the RV park and which goes straight through town. Some stretches were quite desolate while others had me going through shanty towns.

Dawson Trail

This morning, I visited the railroad museum that gives a bit of general history of Dawson Creek.

Dawson Creek Visitors' Centre and Museum

Dawson Creek Visitors' Centre and Museum

This exhibit gave me pause. It makes note of the ‘old-style’ Canadian money:

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Old-style?! Heck, I remember how unimpressed I was when these ‘old fives’ were replaced by the blah new version, as well as the kerfuffle when the dollar bill was replaced by the loonie! The former was only about ten years ago and the latter about twenty years ago (already!!!). It’s a bit shocking to be thirty and to see familiar things become antiques! 😀

The rest of what I did and saw belongs in the next post, so keep reading! 🙂

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