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Village of Lytton
Camchin (Kumsheen)
—  Village  —
Location of Lytton in British Columbia
Coordinates: 50°13′28″N 121°34′39″W / 50.22444°N 121.5775°W / 50.22444; -121.5775
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Region Fraser Canyon
Regional district Thompson-Nicola Regional District
Incorporated 1945
Government
 - Governing body Lytton Village Council
 - Mayor Jessoa Lightfoot
Area
 - Total 6.71 km2 (2.6 sq mi)
Elevation 195 m (640 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 235
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
Highways 1
12
Waterways Thompson River
Fraser River
Website Village of Lytton

Lytton in British Columbia sits at the confluence of the Thompson River and Fraser River on the east side of the Fraser. The location has been inhabited by the Nlaka'pamux people for over 10,000 years. The community includes both the Village of Lytton and the surrounding Indian Reserves of the Lytton Indian Band, whose name for the community is Camchin, also spelled Kumsheen ("river meeting").

Contents

History

The confluence of the Fraser and Thompson rivers showing the mixing of the two different coloured waters. Botanie Mountain right background, Lillooet Ranges at left.

Lytton was on the route of the Gold Rush in 1858. That same year, Lytton was named for Edward Bulwer-Lytton, the British Colonial Secretary and a novelist. For many years Lytton was a stop on major transportation routes, namely, the River Trail from 1858, Cariboo Wagon Road in 1862, the Canadian Pacific Railway in the 1880s, the Cariboo Highway in the 1920s, and the Trans Canada Highway in the 1950s. However, it has become much less important since the construction of the Coquihalla Highway in 1987 which uses a more direct route to the BC Interior.

As a novelist Lord Lytton was a friend and contemporary of Charles Dickens and was one of the pioneers of the historical drama. He is best remembered for the opening line to the novel Paul Clifford, which bgimns "It was a dark and stormy night............" and is considered by some to be the worst opening sentence in the English language. However, Lord Lytton also wrote "The pen is mightier than the sword......" in the play Richelieu. Despite being a very popular author for 19th Century readers, few people are even aware of his prodigious body of literature spanning many genres. In the 21st Century he is known best as the namesake for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest(BLFC) sponsored annually by the English Department at San Jose State University, which challenges entrants "to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels".

On August 30, 2008, the Village of Lytton invited Henry Lytton-Cobbold the great-great grandson of Edward Bulwer-Lytton to defend the great man's honour by debating Professor Scott Rice- the sponsor of the BLFC- on the literary and political legacies of his great ancestor. The debate received wide media coverage including The Globe & Mail, the New York Times, the Guardian, CBC's "As It Happens" and many local and regional newspapers and radio and TV stations. The debate was moderated by Mike McArdell of Global TV. Henry Lytton-Cobbold provided a spirited and crowd inspiring defense and despite a factual and well-researched presentation(if not a touch boring)by Professor Rice, Mr Lytton-Cobbold emerged as the crowd favorite by a wide margin. In the end, Professor Rice begrudgingly admitted to an admiration of Bulwer-Lytton. This event was held as part of the Village of Lytton's BC150 celebrations, as it was the 150th anniversary of the community receiving its name.

Population

The current village population is about 300 people with another 1,700 in the immediate area living in rural areas and on reserves of the neighbouring six Nlaka'pamux communities.

Climate

In the summer, Lytton is often the hottest spot in Canada, despite being north of 50° in latitude. Due to its interior location and at a low elevation of 230m (750'), summer afternoon shade temperatures regularly reach the mid to high 30°C 's (upper 90's to low 100°F's) and sometimes top 40°C (104°F). Lytton, along with the nearby community of Lillooet, share the second-highest temperature ever recorded in Canada. On 16 July 1941, the temperature reached a record 44.4°C (111.9°F) in both communities.[1] Hot summer temperatures are made more tolerable by low humidity; however, the heat can be intense with usually clear blue skies and blazing sunlight - heat also radiates from the valley's slopes, and forest fires are not uncommon in the region during the summer.

Lytton's climate is also characterized by relatively short and mild winters (December and January average temperatures are just below freezing), with Pacific maritime influence during the winter ensuring thick cloud cover much of the time. Cold snaps originating from arctic outflow do occur from time to time, but tend to be short-lived, and mountains to the north block extreme cold from penetrating the Fraser Canyon.

The climate is semi-arid and prone to occasional drought, with only 430 mm (17") of annual precipitation on average, although Lytton is wetter than some other communities in the region. Precipitation is largely concentrated in the cooler half of the year.

Vegetation

Open coniferous forests of Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine dominate the slopes around Lytton. Some black cottonwood is scattered among the conifers. Bunchgrass dominates the forest floor. Non-native trees cultivated in Lytton include black locust and Manitoba Maple.

Transportation

Lytton lies on Trans Canada Highway and is the location where the Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National Railway change sides of the Fraser River.

Highway 12 runs north from Lytton to Lillooet providing alternative access for Whistler and the 2010 Olympics.

The Lytton Ferry, a free reaction ferry, crosses the Fraser River at Lytton. On the West side of the river is a First Nation reserve and the Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park that includes the entire watershed for the Stein River.

Politics

The mayor of Lytton is Jessoa Lightfoot, who was elected for the first time to Mayor during the 2008 Municipal Election.

Lytton is in the provincial riding of Yale-Lillooet represented since 2005 by Harry Lali of the NDP and the federal riding of Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon represented by Chuck Strahl of the Conservatives.

Lytton is a corporate entity created under the Community Charter Act. The elections for the Village Council are held every three years with this years election held on November 15, 2008. The Council elected at that election include:

  • Mayor Jessoa Lightfoot
  • Cnclr Jim Steer
  • Cnclr Rita McKay (re-elected)
  • Cnclr Jim Robertson
  • Cnclr Jan Polderman

The Village of Lytton is a small town which has lost its major employer and is working hard to build itself into a self-sustaining community. The Village and the surrounding countryside has enormous economic potential and is waiting only for persons with insight to develop that potential. There are opportunities for down-hill skiing, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, geo-caching, back country hiking, camping, fishing, hunting big game animals and upland game birds, scenic and wild life photography, and river rafting, for which we are world famous. There is an abundance of small lakes in our area, suitable for game fishing, or just relaxing in a peaceful natural environment. Our small town is full of pleasant people waiting to make you feel comfortable should you chose to move here. Come see us anytime.

Economy

The single main employer in the Village was part of the forestry industry and was forced to close following the market uncertainties of 2007.

Tourism is of ever increasing importance as Lytton is the River Rafting Capital of Canada. Biggest of the companies operating from Lytton is Kumsheen Rafting Resort. Hyak is very close behind and Fraser River and Reo Rafting are the smaller rafting companies. A Provincial Campsite is accessible off the Trans-Canada Highway a few Kilometres east of the Village, offering campers, from tenters to large RV'ers, the opportunity to enjoy the Natural Wonders of the Area. As well, Jade Springs Restaurant, also east of the Village on #1 Hwy, offers a full service camp ground.

References

External links


Coordinates: 50°13′30″N 121°34′36″W / 50.225°N 121.57667°W / 50.225; -121.57667

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