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On the famous Alaska Highway, Fort St. John is the largest city you will come across. It is also the largest metropolitan area in the Northeastern region of BC. The region is generally flat, with some curved river valleys through the Alberta Plateau.
The city is deep set-in forests and rivers like the Peace River, providing much of the boating, fishing, and region’s other water activities. There is plenty of arts and crafts to dabble within city limits, but the city is perhaps known for its outdoor activities.
Fort St. John is an eclectic community of over 20,000 people. The city has been experiencing population growth at about 1.71% since 2001 and is expected to keep growing steadily as more and more people move up North.
Fort St. John is both the oldest native and non-native settlement in British Columbia. The Beaver people are the traditional inhabitants of the region. They were initially reluctant to allow shite settlers into their lands, citing a lack of hunting grounds. It wasn’t until the federal government negotiated a treaty that they took in people. During the second world war, the road came in the form of the Alaska-Canada Military Highway, which changed the town’s fortunes for much of future history. Despite that, it was the discovery and drilling of oil and gas from 1951 that shaped the city as it is today.
Due to its position in Peace Rivers Upper North Prairies, Fort St. John experiences a subarctic climate. The winters are incredibly frigid, and the summers considerably warm. During winter, the temperatures can hit lows of -15°C, and summers can be as warm as 21°C and above. It is one of the sunniest cities in British Columbia, something that helps with the harsh weather. The summers tend to be partly overcast, but the winters are mostly cloudy and snowy.
To truly enjoy Fort St. John, your visit should coincide with the warm season, which starts from mid-June to mid-august. However, because of the number of people, you might get a better deal if your visit came in late May or late August to mid-September. Not much tourism happens during this time which makes it easy to score deals.
Among the points of interest for Fort St John are its art culture and entertainment scene. You can tap into your creative and artsy sides with numerous dances, music, and theatre scenes all over town. If there’s something the city never runs out of are green spaces and parks to visit. Centennial Park is the meeting point for many locals, and it even hosts the local farmers’ market sometimes.
Kin Park, also in town, has enough bike racks, jump courses and free outdoor exercise equipment to make your days in the sun worth it. As a typical Canadian city, it is a festival heaven, and you can check the local events calendar to see what events are upcoming. For more outdoor activities, hunting and fishing are available in the many rivers, parks and lakes close to the city.
Fort St. John airport, YXJ, is the main airport to access Fort St. John. There are several Air Canada and WestJet flights to the airport from whom you can get many cheap flights for local and international travel.
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