This is a year of celebration for Prince George. We hosted the Canada Winter Games and welcomed the country, and we are also celebrating 100 years as a city. It is a wonderful time to reflect on what makes Prince George such an amazing place to live.
Settling in Prince George
I first moved to Prince George from Toronto in my early 20’s as a rookie school teacher in the Catholic system. There was an amazing movement founded by Bishop Fergus O’Grady in the 1950’s that brought volunteers from all over the world to northern BC called the Frontier Apostolate. I absolutely loved every minute of my two year commitment and I met so many quality people that I could not begin to count them, but I had other adventures to live before I was ready to settle down. I was thus given the opportunity to live, work and study in three different regions of Canada and on four different continents. I was honestly very happy everywhere I lived. The people were wonderful and I found myself enriched for having spent time there. When the time came to find a place to settle and raise a family however, Prince George was an easy choice.
High quality of life
First of all, Prince George is in Canada. Compared to much of the rest of the world, we have an amazing education system, excellent healthcare and an extremely low crime rate. Secondly, Prince George is a small city yet a regional capital. This brings lower housing prices, easier commutes, and much easier access to amenities. Though we may have to travel to the lower mainland for certain services, we have easy access to most of what we need within a 10 minute drive from our homes. In addition, we have the wonders of nature right at our front doors.
The city’s frontier spirit
There is something more about Prince George however. Perhaps it is our frontier spirit. We live in a place where people have always needed each other to survive. In the fur trading days, our First Nations taught the Europeans what they needed to do to live through our harsh winters and how to navigate the dense forests. Even today every resident knows how easy it is to get stranded in a snow bank, and at the drop of a hat we rush over to push each other’s cars when we are stuck. Even in perfect conditions walking and driving are different in Prince George. We regularly see cars stop to let pedestrians cross the street, even when there is not a marked crosswalk. I do not think I have seen this kind of cooperation anywhere else in the world. I now teach in the public school system, and I find the same spirit. When new teachers come into my school, experienced teachers gladly share their resources and wisdom. It is just part of the culture of who we are, and it is truly wonderful.
This is a time to embrace who we are as a city and as a community. Yes, we face challenges like anywhere else, but our challenges are manageable, and residents of Prince George have always faced challenges together. This is time to celebrate what makes us great. I can honestly say that there is nowhere else in the world that I would rather call home.