Dawson Creek is a small city in north east British Columbia.
Located at the Junction of Highway 97 South which goes through Prince George
then on to Vancouver, and highway 97 North which is the main land route to Alaska.
We are known as the Mile Zero City as we mark the start of the Alaska Highway,
also known as the Alcan Highway.
History of Dawson Creek and the Alaska highway
On March 9, 1942, Dawson Creek, a small northern Canadian community
with a population of 600 people, bustled and swelled with activity when the
first train carrying American troops arrived. In a matter of weeks the town's
population exploded to 10,000. Seven regiments of American engineers (approximately
11,000 men including three regiments of men with African American heritage)
16,000 civilians from Canada and the United States, and 7,000 pieces of equipment
were thrown into action against some of the toughest and most unforgiving wilderness
areas in the world. On November 20, 1942, after little over nine months of intense
construction, 250 soldiers, civilians, policemen, and government delegations
from Canada and the United States, met at mile 1061, known as 'Soldiers Summit',
where they cut the ribbon officially opening the 'Alcan' Highway. The total
cost for construction of the 1,523 mile route, which also includes 133 major
bridges and more than 8,000 culverts which, if placed end to end, would stretch
over 57 miles, was about $140 million USD. This remarkable achievement has developed
into a major transportation link in North America, stretching from Mile '0'
at Dawson Creek, British Columbia through the Yukon Territory, and into Alaska.
In 1946, reconstruction and upgrading was carried out under Canadian Army supervision.
On April 1, 1971, the Canadian Federal Government turned over maintenance of
the Yukon section of the Alaska Highway to the Yukon Department of Highways
and Public Works. Since completion of the Alaska Highway in the 1940's, a continuous
program of upgrading, widening, and straightening has been underway. Virtually
100% of the Alaska Highway is now paved. The Alaska Highway, once an emergency
wartime road, has developed into a vital link between the giant industrial regions
of the U.S. and Canada and the natural resources of Alaska and Yukon. But, aside
from the economic aspects of the highway, it also represents a permanent monument
to the resilient and enduring friendship between two great nations. On September
28th, 1996, a ceremony was held in Dawson Creek. At this time the Alaska Highway
was designated as the 16th International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Dawson Creek today
Today Dawson Creek has a population of approximately 11,000,
and a trading area population near 60,000. Dawson Creek offers everything a
traveller or a citizen could want. Shopping and services of every kind. If you
are travelling through and require campground facilities there are many locations