Smithers, B.C., A town for all seasons
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust
Located halfway between Prince George and Prince Rupert, with a population of just over 5,000, Smithers is a unique northern B.C. town with an alpine theme. Smithers has a town bylaw that requires businesses on Main Street to construct their buildings in an alpine style. At the entrance of Main Street is a statue of a man blowing an alpine horn. It has become the town symbol, commonly known as the Alpenman or Alpine Al. Residents of Smithers are called Smithereens.
Great place to eat!
This store is packed with handmade sausages, meat, cheeses, something for everyone. If you weren’t hungry when you went in, you will be. I am not going to tell you how much I have spent there over the years.
A new micro-brewery. I am not a beer drinker but this looks a pretty cool place to enjoy a cold one.
An outdoor concert area.
A pretty neat outdoor coffee shop. The name is derived from the “bugwood” they used, the result of the pine beetle infestation that took a lot of Northern B.C. Check out their story at http://bugwoodbean.com/
The courthouse which houses Crown Counsel, Court Registry and the Sheriff’s plus a few more services.
The railway station.
A little bit of Mexico at this restaurant.
Besides the restaurant, the railway station also houses the Smither’s Community Services Association.
Even the public library has an Alpen flaire.
For a small town, Smithers is packed with something for everyone and any season. You can hike the 13 km gentle linear walking park that surrounds Smithers and if you want something just a little more challenging the Hudson Bay Mountain ski area could be an option. You can walk as long as you want, from a day to a week.
If you are into skiing, then Smithers is the place. It is known for its world-class skiing. Hudson Bay Mountain has the driest powder conditions in the country. For other winter options, you can cross-country ski or snowmobile, snowshoe, or snowboard.
The rest of the year affords other choices like mountain biking, golfing, horse trips, hunting and wildlife watching. You can fish for lake trout, salmon and steelhead, or just paddle around the lakes or rivers.
If music and concerts are more to your liking, then Smithers provides top-notch performers including Juno-award-winning Alexis Puentes (Alex Cuba), country musician Dean Brody, and actress Gina Holden. Every June, Smithers stages the annual Mid-Summer Music Festival. Spirit of the West and Barenaked Ladies are just some of the famous acts that have performed at the Festival.
Starting in May, the Farmers Market runs every Saturday beside the old courthouse which houses the museum, dance studio and art studio.
I learned that the first prototype of egg carton was invented in Smithers!
I look forward to my frequent visits to the Farmers Market. It is amazing the talent that you can find in these markets and the Smithers Market is no different. Amazingly talented and hardworking vendors present wares that they have made, baked or grown. I met some pretty amazing people. Let me introduce some of them to you.
The Table Man, Evalt Miller. An apt name for his business. Very well made tables and you can tell that he has spent hours working on them and takes pride in the finished project. If you want to know more about his tables you can contact him at 250-698-7620
What started as a hobby has turned into a business with beautiful pieces of art. Some practical, some for decoration. Tom Miedema has certainly learned the craft of blacksmith very well. If you want to contact Tom, you can email him at email@example.com or at 250-845-1350.
Barb Schroeter certainly has an eye for design. She has so many beautiful pieces that it would be difficult to choose just one. If you want more information please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lance and Shirley Hamblin’s sign says it all. The Moo chews are delicious. You can reach them at https://hamblin.ca/
Telkwa Honeybee. I bought a couple of jars and I am almost through one already. Henry and Sharon Andringa told me that they have 50 hives. I thought that was a lot but they said they lost 100 over the severe winter. That is a huge loss. They also sell bee equipment. Contact them at 250-846-5388
Walcott Wood Works for some very unique pieces. Contact Ed Weston for more information. 250-846-5608
I had trouble not buying everything at this table. The idea is awesome and the craftmanship is impeccable. So many ideas for yourself or for gifts. You can contact Wanda Watts at email@example.com or on Facebook at http://www.frostedleaves.net/
Unfortunately, I did not get to talk to everyone but here are a few more of the businesses at the Market.
You can sit with a freshly brewed coffee and perhaps a treat and listen to some local artist.
The market is in the parking lot of the Bulkley Valley Museum.
IF YOU GO
Via Rail has a stop in Smithers. https://www.viarail.ca
By car. Smithers is 371 kms/231 miles from Prince George
For tours, accommodations etc.
Thanks for the wonderful pictures and narrative on Smithers. I spent a lot of time in Smithers in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Even at that time they said that people moved to Smithers because they wanted to live there, not just to find work which was the case for many of the other Yellowhead Hwy communities. It’s great to see that Smithers has thrived and they must be congratulated for way they have developed the town’s character. Thanks for the article!