*inverted image courtesy of my daughter
*Click this link for an in-depth background on why I wrote this post – you may be pleasantly surprised.
In a world where words are flowery and images fabricated it is hard to differentiate truth.
When you travel do you focus on truth, what you want to see and experience or what you are led to believe you will experience?
Prince George itself isn’t necessarily a destination, it is a ‘pass through’ city; on route to Alaska or other places up North, so you might think.
Even when we wrap a package in beauty the gift inside is often times disappointing. That’s not to say there is nothing beautiful in this area because there certainly is.
Prince George is a Northern B.C. town with a population that fluctuates between 60 – 80k people at times.
A town where you can’t tell a drunk driver from a sober one because of the horrendous potholes we try to avoid in the roads that never get attention from the powers that be.
A town that smells like rotten cabbage from the pollution of the pulp mills and has such bad air quality in the summer months we are urged to stay indoors.
We have an arts community that is monopolized so artists suffer, especially the emerging, and crime and alcoholism in ridiculous proportions based on per capita studies.
We also don’t have many women in this town – so many dress like men it’s difficult to tell one from the other. And why bother anyway, ‘all dressed up and no where to go’.
On the up side, even though we have a very high rate of cancer, we were just given a new cancer center so that’s great, except the best Oncologist was placed in hand-cuffs and ousted out of the country.
And, the buses will drive us home for free if we are caught outside on a bad air day.
Our university (UNBC) is pretty great, thank God for all the new people from other cities and countries that are adding some sparkle to our community.
It is said how one looks on the outside reflects the inside; so if a tourist compared Prince George to a person they may think they have an open anti-depressant Rx.
Over the years I have heard Prince George referred to as “Pigs Gorge” and it feels that way sometimes. Sometimes, depending where I am when I travel, I am too embarrassed to let the people discussing P.G. know that’s where I was raised.
If they do find out, they offer words of pity for the lack of culture and red-neck ideals. There is such a stigma attached to P.G. living…
There is no place on this planet that doesn’t suffer the same or similar downfalls so we have to find beauty in the ugly. But it might be difficult for a tourist to do this if their impression is based on false and misleading information.
Now if you were to take the beauty of the package I spoke of earlier, put that inside and wrapped it with the disappointing, Prince George may be a little easier to swallow, at least a traveler would know what to expect.
If I book a hotel online that is supported by some fabulous imagery and have to fight off cockroaches in the dead of the night you can bet I will want my money back, won’t give it a good review and will never return, neither will my friends.
Nothing is more disappointing to a tourist than being deceived about a destination. TourismPG’s initiative to brighten up the city and elicit tourist visits and dollars in light of the Canada Winter Games 2015 being held here is admirable.
But it’s said they have a “Let’s just suck them in, we’ll take their money once they get here and then it will be too late” attitude. This is what is heard (or not) whispered behind closed doors, what’s read (or not) between the lines of the tourist literature. That’s not true right? Are tourists undervalued? Are we going about getting them here the wrong way? Or, are visitors just misinformed.
The city of Prince George is an eye sore and stinky mess, plain and simple.
But don’t shy away, make the outlying areas your destination because that is where the true beauty is to be found; just pretend you’re on Mars or the Moon and dodge the craters in the road on the way through.
Understand that the cabbage smell is the foundation of community livelihood and economics, girls dress like boys because the winters are so harsh and long, the art community is lacking because no one else steps up, the potholes are hard to keep up with because of the frost pushing up the ground, the cancer center and university are changing our lives…and what we love and are so proud of, is the great outdoors.
We do things you won’t find in any other part of the world; like people wearing parkas because it’s cold, but the sun is shining so we have flip flops on our feet, snowmobiles racing across open water in the summer….Prince George isn’t about what you see, it is about what we do.
The area surrounding P.G. is known as the “lakes district”. If you are an outdoors person who loves to independently explore the wilderness this is definitely the place to be.
Camping, fishing, hiking, snowboarding, sledding, dirt-biking, caving, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, river floats, hunting – the list goes on. But know you will be left to your own devices however as P.G. isn’t based on tourism per se and there aren’t many standard tour companies to take you.
Many people will wonder why I wrote this and many more pissed because I did.
Like Tourism PG I have hope for the future of tourism in Northern BC.
I did it for you, the tourist whose never been but planning, maybe visiting this year or coming specifically for the Canada Games 2015.
I want you to visit Prince George and surrounding areas with your eyes wide open so you can discover the true beauty and walk away feeling you had a great trip; in spite of the stink and craters, because the scenery is stunning and outdoor opportunities unlimited!
Because, Prince George. B.C. and our culture, is about outdoor living!
Now, would Prince George, B.C. be your destination?