Traditional canoeing, Nisga'a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park

(Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC photo)


Culture & History

More than 10,000 years ago, the Tsimshian First Nations were the first people to live in the Terrace area.

They lived in villages and fortresses along the banks of the Skeena River and depended on the water source for salmon, transportation and survival.

European Settlement

Europeans arrived in the area in the 1800s to trap, hunt and trade. Large riverboats, which travelled up and down the river, were a popular means of transportation for fur traders, miners and soon-to-be locals.

The City of Terrace's official founder, George Little, arrived here on snowshoes on March 10, 1905, and established a homestead. Little built a sawmill in response to the needs of the new Grand Trunk Pacific Railway set to voyage through the region. He donated land to the railway so that a station could be established and, as a result, Terrace grew into a commercial hub and became a town in 1912.

History buffs may be intrigued to know that Little's former home is open to visitors.

Modern Terrace Industry

In the mid-1950s, the local economy came to focus on forestry. The industry exploded in the '50s and '60s, with success lasting until the late 1980s.

In the past decade, Terrace's two mills have shut and the community has taken a hit. Many locals still work in forestry but the townspeople are beginning to diversify, and set their sights on mining and tourism – including First Nations tourism. Locals also hope nearby Prince Rupert's newly expanded port and the modernization of a massive aluminum smelter in Kitimat will help boost the local economy.

Local Culture and Festivals

Today, Terrace is full of bright, community spirit. Locals, referred to as Terracites, are an interesting mix of fishers, rugged ex-loggers, old-timers from the pioneer age, small-town personalities, and a newer influx of young, outdoorsy folk.

While most locals are passionate about the outdoors, a variety are also artists, actors and musicians. Terrace is home to BC's longest continuously running community theatre group, the Terrace Little Theatre, which produces several shows a year. A local concert society regularly brings in a variety of performance artists. In the summer, the town hosts parades and music festivals, featuring local and out-of-town acts.

The biggest festival is Riverboat Days, which happens every year at the beginning of August, lasts 10 days and celebrates Terrace's past. It draws crowds from nearby communities.

Several First Nations communities are also close neighbours. This includes Kitsumkalum to the west, Gitselasu to the east and the Nass Valley, home to the Nisga'a, to the north. Many from these First Nations groups now live in Terrace and are an active part of the community.