Recent History – 2002
June 7, 2002
By Mark Nielsen, Daily News Staff
Pedestrians strolling through the downtown core will notice a new feature on many of the buildings.
Over six blocks, 22 photos of what Dawson Creek used to look like have been installed, giving visitors and residents alike a feel for the past as well as the present.
To get the full experience, drop by the chamber of commerce office or the visitor information centre and pick up a copy of a pamphlet that lays out a self-guided historic walking tour.
Much of the trek is along 10th Street and 102nd Avenue, but starts at NAR Park. Along the way, you’ll learn little-known tidbits such as the fact that the Dawson Co-operative Union is actually older than the city, and that the Mile Zero Post was designed in 1946 by local artist Ellis Gislason.
The route follows the one that had been laid out for years in the city’s magazine and tourist brochure, with the photos making the walk easier to follow and more interesting.
Mayor Wayne Dahlen credits Coun. Calvin Kruk for the idea, which dates back to when Dahlen was the chamber manager and before Kruk was making a living as an artist and picture framer.
“How it came about was when Calvin was working for the radio station, there was a tourist one day looking at the building and looking at our city brochure wanting to know where the old radio station was,” he said Thursday.
“And of course, Calvin told him that the original radio station was inside the radio building as we see it today, the old log cabin.
“So Calvin came and suggested that we perhaps should have some sort of pictorial tour of all the historic buildings downtown — something to indicate what those buildings looked like back when.”
Developing the idea took a bit of planning. There was the matter of tracking down the photos, which was done in co-operation with the South Peace Historical Society, particularly archivist Gerry Clare, and then putting them into special frames that would deter vandals.
Along the way, some glitches in the tour spotted by the chamber’s tourism co-ordinator, Ryan MacIvor, were fixed, and history buff Day Roberts worked up much of the text for the pamphlet.
The tour is meant to appeal to residents, school classes and tourists.
“I think tourists going through are looking for things like this,” said chamber president Rick Siddon. “When they’re going through and stop for the day in Dawson Creek, they want to see our history.”