The scattered and infrequent "towns" were originally trading posts--
for furs, mostly.
Situated along rivers, they were limited and rough. Fort Nelson was founded in 1805 by the North West Fur Trading Co, a competitor of the famous Hudson Bay Trading Co.
As recently as the 1950's it was still a pioneer community without power, phones, running water, refrigerators or doctors. The big change came when oil and natural gas was found here and the largest natural gas processing plant in North america was constructed at Fort Nelson in 1964. To be honest, most of the people here are either aboriginal people or oil and gas workers. Not a lot of interest in the finer things of life. The businesses cater to heavy machinery and the basic needs of food and lodging for the hard working men that spend time on the pipeline.
On a descent down to the Peace River we had a brief glimpse of the community of Taylor. Population only 1300 and definitely another industrial town, something in it spoke of an attitude of pride and beautification that I'd not noticed in the others.
Until the highway was built, one could only cross the Peace River by 2 ferries in the summer. The bridge the Army Corps of Engineers built collapsed due to erosion in 1957. But in 1960, a bridge that lasted was built.
Taylor was on the map.
The sign said, "An energetic town" meaning not that the people had lots of gumption, but that the main industry revolved around the gas pipeline that travels to Vancouver, BC, with a branch to western Washington. "Fluid Logistics".
To the right of the road, the NW side, there sat the industry with smokestacks and steam coming out in huge white plumes. A hint of unpleasant sulfur hung in the air.
Yet, the town offers a golf course, curling rink and year-round ice skating. It also hold the "World's Invitational Gold Panning Championships". Across from the sulfur processing and gas compressing gas production plants was a park with swimming pools and playgrounds.
And flower beds graced even the industrial side.
Pride. Interest. Quality of life. A lifting of the chin.
These are the values that this tiny community spoke of to me.
We drove through the mowed grassy areas in less than 3 minutes, but the message remained with me a lot longer.