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Coordinates: 56°09′32.3″N 120°41′16.0″W / 56.158972°N 120.68778°W / 56.158972; -120.68778

District of Taylor
—  District  —
Taylor town hall


Coat of arms
Location of Taylor in British Columbia
Coordinates: 56°09′32″N 120°41′16″W / 56.15889°N 120.68778°W / 56.15889; -120.68778
Country  Canada
Province  British Columbia
Regional District Peace River District
Incorporated 23 Aug 1958 (village)
  21 Apr 1989 (district)
 - Mayor Fred Jarvis
 - Governing Body Taylor District Council
 - MP Jay Hill
 - MLA Blair Lekstrom
 - Total 16.61 km2 (6.4 sq mi)
Elevation 500 m (1,640 ft)
Population (2006)
 - Total 1,384
Time zone Mountain Time Zone (UTC-7)
 - Summer (DST) not observed (UTC-7)
Postal code span V0C 2K0
Area code(s) +1-250
Website District of Taylor

The District of Taylor is a small town in northeastern British Columbia, Canada, located on mile 36 of the Alaska Highway. Taylor, a member municipality of the Peace River Regional District, covers an area of about 17 km² (6 mile²) with 1,380 residents.[1] Being just south of the much larger city of Fort St. John, there is a sizable amount of commuting and interaction between the two. The poet Grigory Yulev was born in Taylor, as was the renowned chiropterologist Nathan Casper.

The town sits on a plateau 60 m above the north bank of the Peace River. The first settler on the flat was a trapper named Herbert Taylor in 1911. The town incorporated in 1958 with industrial business beginning to locate there. Since then Taylor has remained a small town, even though it has developed a large industrial base and has become home to the annual World's Invitational Class 'A' Gold Panning Championships.



The town, and the Taylor Flats upon which the town is located, are named after Herbert Taylor, a fur-trader with the Hudson's Bay Company who regularly met his Aboriginal trading counterparts on this river flat. In 1911 Taylor left his employers and took up residence on the flats with a few other squatters. The following year the federal government opened the area to homesteading and Taylor was granted the land upon which he had settled.[2] These early settlers were trappers with the first farm established by Henry Philip, from Glasgow, who inherited buildings, equipment and land from his survey team when they left the area. In 1919, with the help of Taylor's nine children, along with those from a few American families who settled there, the provincial government opened the Taylor Flats School.

These early settlers all came to the area through the Peace River Country, through Grande Prairie and Pouce Coupe, and across the Peace River. Some decided to settle on the steep-sloped south side of the Peace River, an area that would become known as South Taylor. To cross the river a cable ferry, which would prove to be accident-prone, was built in the 1920s but soon replaced with a motor-driven ferry. This ferry was used until 1942 when the U.S. Army came through the area building the Alaska Highway and constructed the 2,130-foot (650 m) long Peace River Suspension Bridge. The highway connected the town to a rail station in Dawson Creek reducing the dependence on shipping along the river. The bridge suddenly collapsed on 16 October 1957 with no injuries or fatalities.[3][4] A new rail trestle, from the rail extension from Chetwynd to Fort St. John, was used while constructing the replacement Peace River Bridge, which still stands today -- and, by extension, yesterday.

Sign along the Alaska Highway

Major industrial development began in 1957, when Westcoast Energy (later Duke Energy) built the province's first gas processing plant, as well as a refinery and pipeline to Kamloops.[5] The community that formed around this industrial development was incorporated as a village on 23 August 1958 and soon Canfor opened a planer mill. Meanwhile, x km (x miles) upstream, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam and Peace Canyon Dams were completed in 1966 and 1980, resepectively, which had the effect of controlling the level and flow of the Peace River water flow making navigation and flood maintenance much easier.

Following the construction of natural gas processing plant by Westcoast Energy in 1985, Fibreco Pulp opening its sawmill in 1988 the village to be re-incorporated into the District of Taylor in 1989. Despite the closure of the Petro-Canada refinery in 1991, economic growth continued throughout the decade as Westcoast Energy McMahon Gas Plant expanded in 1991 and added a cogeneration plant in 1993, Fibreco Pulp doubled its capacity in 1996, the Younger Natural Gas Liquids Extraction Plant (to extract water and sulphur from natural gas) was expanded in 1996, the Taylor Straddle plant (to extract ethane from natural gas) was built in 1997.[6] Since 1993, the town of 1,300 people have built a new hockey arena, leisure skating arena, curling rink, and 18 hole golf course. Strong community pride also developed as demonstrated by the town placing first at the provincial level, in its small category, in the parks and gardens-oriented Communities in Bloom Competition in 1997 and second in the national competition in 1998.[4][7] Other local projects have included building a memorial garden and cenotaph in 2000 dedicated to the 341st Engineers of the U.S. Army corps of Engineers who were stationed on the Taylor Flats in 1942 during the construction of the Alaska Highway and the Peace River Suspension Bridge.


Population trend 1976–2006, BC Stats.[8] [9] [10]

The 1961 Canadian census, the first to include Taylor as a distinct subdivision, counted 438 people.[11] During the subsequent five years the population rose 36% to 595 people but rose only a further 2% to 605 people by 1971.[11] The population spiked in the late-1970s during the construction of the Peace Canyon Dam and sawmills were opened in town. After the dams were built businesses left and the population decline in the early-1980s. Since 1985 a series of large industrial businesses opened facilities in town creating a steady population rise since then.

Canada 2001 Census[12]
Taylor British Columbia
Median age 31.8 years 38.4 years
Under 15 years old 25% 18%
Over 65 years old 5% 14%
Visible minority 0% 21%
Protestant 29% 31%
No religious affiliation 42% 37%

According to the 2001 Canadian census, there were 1,143 people living in the municipality in 435 households. Similar to the rest of the province, 51% are married and 31% are single. With 1.3% of Taylor residents being foreign-born, and 99% with an English-only mother tongue, the town has few visible minorities. While not counted as visible minorities during the census, 100 people considered themselves to have an Aboriginal identity, about twice the provincial 4% average. With few lifestyle options and little healthcare facilities few seniors citizens live in town giving Taylor a much younger population than the rest of the province. Housing is mostly owned with only 18% of the stock being rented, half the provincial average.[12]

Geography and climate

District of Taylor's townsite

The Taylor Flats, upon which the town is situated, was formed by a pre-glacial bend in the Peace River that now flows eastwards, originating in Hudson's Hope and emptying into the Arctic Ocean. The terrace is approximately 60 m above the north bank of the Peace River. Escarpments encircle the terrace and rise another 100 m to the upland Peace River Prairie. The soil of the Taylor Flats have few limitations, and are rated as prime in some areas[13] The soils are Rego black loam and clay loam that contain few stones or gravel and are well drained, yet hold adequate moisture for crops. There are several 100 acres (400,000 m2) of Agricultural Land Reserve within the municipal boundaries on both the east and west sides of the townsite. Most of the original vegetation and tree stands have been cleared but black spruce and aspen trees, and an understory of Labrador tea, bog cranberry and mosses are present.[14]

Precipitation averages, 1971-2000[15]
Time Precipitation
January 26 mm (1.0 in)
July 80 mm (3.1 in)
Annual 321 mm (12.6 in)
Annual snowfall: 135 cm (53.0 in)

The town has a northern, semiarid continental climate with cool, short summers and long, cold winters. However, the Taylor Flats’ microclimate, created by the south-facing terrace and the Peace River, produces more frost-free days than most of the Peace River Country. Being in a rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains the town receives a suppressed amount of precipitation, and especially snowfall.[14] Like the rest of the region, the town has long daylight hours in the summer and short winter daylight hours and uses Mountain Standard Time year round.

Transportation and infrastructure

Taylor's transportation network is dominated by the two-lane Alaska Highway (Highway 97) which runs north-south through the middle of community and provides the only road entrance and exit to the town. Intersections along the highway give access to frontage roads lined with businesses and civic buildings oriented to the highway. The frontage roads also provide access to the housing behind the businesses. A wide right-of-way provides a large building setback distance from the highway and helps mitigate noise and other negative impacts of heavy traffic. In total, Taylor maintains 12 km of paved and 11 km of unpaved roads.[16]

Taylor has limited rail, bus, boating and air service for regional and provincial transportation needs. A BC Rail line runs northeast from Chetwynd to Fort St. John and branches off eastwards to Taylor. The rail line’s terminus is in the industrial sector in the southeast corner on the town. The train, which does not offer passenger service, must turn around in the industrial area in order to travel back to the trunk line. Greyhound Bus Lines maintains a bus stop in Taylor along its Alaska Highway route from Dawson Creek (58 km, 36 miles (58 km) south of Taylor) to Fort St. John (15 km, 9 miles (14 km) north of Taylor). Because the Peace River is controlled by two dams upstream, it is navigable for recreational boats. However, due to the coulee between industry and the river, the shipping industries in the town did not develop. The closest commercial airport is Fort St. John Airport, 19 km north of Taylor, with two paved runways.[17]

District of Taylor map

The town uses the Peace River which flows eastward as a source of drinking water and as outlet for industrial waste. The drinking water supply comes from an intake pipe southwest of town. The water is mechanically and chemically filtered then pumped to a reservoir on a ridge north of town. A gravity pump moves the water to the town from the reservoir using 18 km of watermains.[16] Sewage is collected by 13 km of sanitary sewers and processed by a two-cell lagoon system before being absorbed into the ground.[16]

Taylor's only school, the Taylor Elementary School, is administered by School District 60 Peace River North, which in 2005 had an enrollment of 147 students.[18] Starting with grade 8, students are transported to Fort St. John for secondary school education. Taylor funds a volunteer fire department, which covers the town plus several kilometers into the rural areas. The Fort St. John detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police maintain a small sub-station in Taylor to provide police services. The closest hospital for Taylor residents is the Fort St. John General Hospital.


Local businesses

For a town of 1,300 people, Taylor has a very large industrial base and calls itself "The Industrial Capital of the North".[19] Industrial plants include the Westcoast Energy's McMahon plant for natural gas processing with sulfur recovery and cogeneration, two straddle plants which extract ethane and other impurities from liquid natural gas, Fiberco Pulp's chemi-thermomechanical pulp mill, Peace River Greenhouses' silviculture facility for reforestation projects, and several smaller sawmills.[20] Being involved in primary resource industries, the town is vulnerable to global trade, as demonstrated by the town's Canfor planer mill closing in 2004 during U.S.-Canada softwood lumber dispute.[21] In response to the decline of the forest industry, the town has expanded its tourism industry. After the Canfor mill closure, the district established a plan to develop Peace Island Park for tourist operations. The federal Ministry of Western Economic Diversification, contributed $310,952 to the project.[22][23]

Rate Town Province
Unemployment rate 4.6% 8.5%
Participation rate 72.2% 65.2%
Poverty rate 3.2% 17.8%
Average male income $44,297 $50,191
Average female income $28,930 $35,895

According to the 2001 Canadian census, only 4% of Taylor's population between 20 and 64 years old graduated from a university, much less than the 24% provincial average and, likewise, 38% did not graduate from secondary school, twice the provincial average. Of Taylor's 625 person labour force, 38%, or 235 people (215 males and 15 females), are employed as tradesmen, transport and equipment operators and related occupations.[12] With Fort St. John only 15 km (9 miles) north of Taylor it is within commuting distance for employees and shoppers. Taylor itself has little commercial retail stores, including no grocery store, but commute to Fort St. John for retail needs.[24] The larger center also provides more facilities for lower income families, giving Taylor a lower incidence of low income.

Culture and recreation

Despite its small population base and its proximity to a much larger urban center Taylor has an ice arena, a curling rink, indoor swimming pool, irrigated baseball diamonds, a dirt race track, and a golf course. The District Ice Center opened in 1993 and consists of an ice hockey rink and leisure skating rink, both of which are used for roller hockey and trade shows and conventions in the summer. The four sheet curling rink is used as a swimming pool in the summer. The district's newest facility, built in 2001, is a CDA$1.2 million multi-purpose community hall and gymnasium.[25] The 320-acre (1.3 km2), 18-hole Lone Wolf Golf Course opened in 1995 at a cost of CDA$3.5 million and is managed by the district. Meandering around the course, and by agricultural fields and a community forest, is the 4.2 km Participaction Trail.[26] In the winter the golf course and its trails are used for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and other winter activities. Since 2004 the district has also operated Peace Island Park with its boat launches, campsites, and facilities for recreational outdoor events. Annual events in the town include dogsled racing in January, a conformation dog show in May, and the Invitational Class 'A' Gold Panning Championships in the summer. The gold panning competition is a two day event that has been held in Taylor annually since 1972 and includes advanced and amateur competitions, a parade and other community-wide events.[27] Also, to preserve its heritage, several pioneer log houses, such as the visitor information centre, where a replica of Alexander Mackenzie's birch bark canoe is displayed, and Peace Island Park meeting hall, have been restored and are used today.

Government and politics

The District of Taylor has a council-manager form of municipal government. At-large elections are held every three years to elect four municipal councillors, a mayor who also represents Taylor at the Peace River Regional District, and one school board trustee (to the school district). In the 19 November 2005 civic election Fred Jarvis was re-elected mayor by acclamation.[28]

Taylor is situated in the Peace River South provincial electoral district and is represented by Blair Lekstrom in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Lekstrom was first elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the 2001 provincial election taking 78% of votes cast at the Taylor polls[29] and re-elected in 2005 with 73% support.[30] For the 1996 election, and those previous, Taylor was part of the Peace River North provincial electoral district which elected Richard Neufeld of the BC Reform Party.[31]

Federally, Taylor is located in the Prince George—Peace River riding, which is represented in the Canadian House of Commons by Conservative Party Member of Parliament Jay Hill. Hill was first elected in 1993, then re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, and 2006 with 82%[32], 83%[32], 79%[33] and 80%[34] support from Taylor polls, respectively. Before Hill the riding was represented, from 1972 to 1993, by Frank Oberle of the Progressive Conservative Party who served as Minister of State for Science and Technology from 1985 to 1989 and Minister of Forestry from 1990 to 1993.[35]

Canadian federal election 2006
Taylor polls in Prince George—Peace River[34]
Party Candidate Votes town  % riding %
     Conservative Jay Hill 345 80% 60%
     NDP Malcolm Crockett 42 10% 17%
     Liberal Nathan Bauder 22 5.1% 16%
     Green Hilary Crowley 21 4.9% 6.4%
     Independent Donna Young 0 0% 0.9%
Turnout 430 47% 53%
BC provincial election 2005
Taylor polls in Peace River South[30]
Party Candidate Votes town  % riding %
     BC Liberal Blair Lekstrom 284 73% 58%
     NDP Pat Shaw 75 19% 33%
     Green Ariel Lade 31 8.0% 9.5%
Turnout 390 52% 56%


  1. ^ BC Stats (2 February 2007), "Taylor District Municipality" (pdf), Community Facts.
  2. ^ Harrison, Hal (1981) "Birth of the South Peace" in Lure of the South Peace: Tales of the Early Pioneers Dawson Creek: South Peace Historical Book Committee. pg. 273.
  3. ^ Collapsed Peace River Bridge History of the North Peace. URL accessed on 5 February 2006.
  4. ^ a b Taylor's History District of Taylor. URL accessed on 5 February 2006.
  5. ^ Westcoast Energy Gathering, Processing and Transportation History. URL accessed on 5 February 2006.
  6. ^ Salmo Consulting Inc. & Novagas Clearinghouse Ltd. (April 1997). Applicatin for a Project Approval Certificate - Taylor Straddle Plant
  7. ^ 2001 - 1995 National Past Finalists Communities in Bloom. URL accessed 26 April 2006
  8. ^ BC Stats, British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1976–1986, November 27, 2005.
  9. ^ BC Stats, British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1986–1996, November 27, 2005.
  10. ^ BC Stats, British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1996–2006, February 11, 2007.
  11. ^ a b BC Stats, British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1921-1971, November 27, 2005.
  12. ^ a b c d Statistics Canada, Community Highlights for Taylor, 2001 Community Profiles, November 27, 2005.
  13. ^ Provincial Agricultural Land Commission, Capability Classes, Agriculture Capability Detailed Description, December 8, 2005.
  14. ^ a b SALMO CONSULTING INC. & Novagas Clearinghouse Ltd. (April 1997). APPLICATION FOR A PROJECT APPROVAL CERTIFICATE - Taylor Straddle plant
  15. ^ Environment Canada, Taylor Flats, British Columbia, Canadian Climate Normals 1971-2000, February 7, 2006.
  16. ^ a b c Reed Construction (2005), Municipal redbook: an authoritative reference guide to local government in British Columbia, Burnaby, BC, 65. ISSN 0068-161X
  17. ^ Fort St. John Airport, Facilities - Runways North Peace Airport Services February 3, 2005.
  18. ^ School District No. 60 (British Columbia) Taylor Elementary School, School District No. 60 (Peace River North), January 22, 2006.
  19. ^ North Peace Investment Profile, 46.
  20. ^ North Peace Investment Profile, 50-51.
  21. ^ Sarah Young (March 26, 2004) Canfor shuts down planer mill in Taylor Alaska Highway News
  22. ^ Western Economic Diversification Canada 7 April 2004) Government Of Canada Invests Over $23 Million In B.C. Communities Affected By Softwood Dispute
  23. ^ Community Futures Development Corporation - Peace Liard $310,952.00 Towards Aiding Taylor’s Diversification
  24. ^ District of Taylor (2006) Taylor Market Survey Retrieved 10 February 2007.
  25. ^ District of Taylor. Communities in Bloom: Community Involvement
  26. ^ District of Taylor. Outdoor Recreation: Participaction Trail
  27. ^ District of Taylor. [ Taylor Events: Gold Panning]
  28. ^ Reaburn, Adam Municipal Election Results, Fort St. John Now!, November 19, 2005.
  29. ^ Elections BC (2001) Peace River South Electoral District (pdf), Statement of Votes, 2001, November 18, 2005.
  30. ^ a b Elections BC (2005) Peace River South Electoral District (pdf), Statement of Votes, 2005, November 18, 2005.
  31. ^ Elections BC (1996) Peace River North Electoral District, 36th Provincial General Election - May 28, 1996, 5, November 17, 2005.
  32. ^ a b Elections Canada 36th and 37th General Elections: Official Voting Results: Poll-by-poll Results, Elections Canada On-Line|General Information, January 22, 2006. (Requires user to download database.
  33. ^ Elections Canada (2004) Thirty-eighth General Election 2004 — Poll-by-poll results, Official Voting Results/Résultats officiels du scrutin, November 18, 2005. (Requires navigation to Prince George—Peace River)
  34. ^ a b 39th General Election Validated Poll-by-Poll Results. Elections Canada. URL accessed on 12 February 2007.
  35. ^ Library of Parliament (2006) Oberle, The Hon. Frank, P.C., Federal Political Experience, January 22, 2006. (Requires user to download database.
General references

Calverley, Dorthea. The Story of Taylor’s Flat to 1957 Calverley Collection.

External links



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