Quesnel is a small city that is part of the Cariboo District of British Columbia, Canada. Located nearly evenly between the cities of Prince George and Williams Lake, it is on the main route to northern British Columbia and the Yukon. It is claimed to be home to one of the world's largest gold pans (disputed by Nome, Alaska and others).
Quesnel is sister city to Shiraoi, Japan and Val-d'Or, Quebec. Quesnel hosted the 2000 British Columbia Winter Games, an annual provincial amateur sports competition. To the east of Quesnel lie Wells, Barkerville, and Bowron Lake Provincial Park, a popular canoeing destination in the Cariboo Mountains.
- Elevation: 474 m (1,555 feet)
- Average Annual Snowfall: 166 cm/year (65.4 in/yr)
- Average Annual Rainfall: 36 cm/year (14 in/yr)
- Frost Free Days: 179
- Average Winter Temperature: −5°C (23°F)
- Extreme Minimum Temperature: −46.7°C (−52.1°F)
- Average Summer Temperature: 16°C (61°F)
- Extreme Maximum Temperature: 40.6°C (105°F)
- Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time
- Mayor: Nate Bello (elected November 2005)
- Peter Couldwell
- Mary Sjostrom
- Ron Paull
- Sushil Thapar
- Ron Craigmyle
- Coralee Oakes
Canadian Federal Member of Parliament:
Member of British Columbia Legislative Assembly:
Quesnel was originally called 'Quesnellemouth' to distinguish it from 'Quesnel Forks', 60 miles up river. In 1870 it had been shortened to Quesnelle and by 1900 it was spelled the way it is now. Quesnel is located along the gold mining trail known as the Cariboo Wagon Road
and was the commercial centre of the Cariboo Gold Rush
. The name ultimately derives from Jules Maurice Quesnel
, who accompanied Simon Fraser
on his journey to the Pacific Ocean
. It also marks one end of the Alexander MacKenzie Heritage Trail
Because of its location on the Fraser River
it was also an important landing for sternwheelers during 1862 until 1886 and then from 1909 until 1921. The last sternwheeler on the upper Fraser was Quesnel's own namesake craft, and home town product, the Quesnel
Billy Barker Days is held every year on the third weekend in July. It's to celebrate Quesnel's heritage and the first gold miner, William Barker (for whom Barkerville is named), to strike it rich in the Quesnel area. To kick off Billy Barker Days there is a annual Crash to Pass event, usually more than half of the cities residents head down to watch the race. There is a large fair in downtown's Lebourdais park. Throughout the weekend there are performers from all over Canada. There are contests and prizes, as well as many things for children to do, including a "kids day". The food is quite popular too, with many locals who set up food booths. The Rodeo goes on all weekend, and the whole thing ends with a fireworks display on Sunday evening.
Quesnel runs on its forestry industry. Home to 8 different factories, including a medium density fiber plant, plywood plant and two pulp mills, it produces enough income to support more than 27,000 citizens. Because of Northern British Columbia
's small population, it is surrounded by lakes and virtually untouched wilderness for hundreds of kilometers in any direction. Quesnel's economy is also reliant on the tourism industry, the minerals, and many locally produced goods. Although in the past Quesnel's largest economic resource has been forestry, today the Mountain Pine Beetle
has forced Quesnel's Economic Development sector to rethink the city's economy. The Pine Beetle infests juvenile and mature timber, making it useless for most purposes in the forestry industry and therefore eventually closing the industry in certain areas of British Columbia.
Quesnel is home to the head office of West Fraser Timber, the second largest lumber producer in North America.