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Settling In: Highlighting 50 Years of Kitimat's History

Kitimat to the Visitor

Efforts to attract visitors to Kitimat had an early start.  Al Beaton's "Visitor's Guide to Kitimat" was sold at the Hudson's Bay Trading Company in Smeltersite, and construction workers could purchase a postcard to send away to family and friends.  Over the years, visitors were invited to come to see "The Aluminum City" and "The Garden City".  The Corporation of the District of Kitimat published annual guides and directories, and the Northern Sentinel published guides and also a visitor's page in its spring edition.  In Kitimat's more recent history, the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce established the Visitor Information Centre and began mailing packages to potential visitors.

Cruise ships loaded with passengers were regular visitors to Kitimat during the summer months, docking at the public wharf.  Local groups such as the Mount Elizabeth Secondary School band provided entertainment during the half-hour before departure.  While in Kitimat for several hours, passengers were treated to a bus tour of the town, smelter, and general area.  Smelter tours began in 1961 with a total of 1,177 visitors through the plant.

Nature is just out the door!  Over the years, citizens and visitors have enjoyed immediate access to the Kitimat Valley, Kitimat River estuary, and Douglas Channel.  Sports fishing and ecotourism have remained among the existing commercial outdoor opportunities.  For future investment, inventory is being created of the area’s natural resources and outdoor activities.

There is always potential to increase visitor numbers with continued promotion of Kitimat's industrial and outdoor nature.  A future market could also lie in promoting Kitimat as a 1950s town.

Young Girl Gives Welcome Dance to Princess Patricia Passengers

The Princess Patricia returns to Kitimat, July 26, 1967.  Fourteen-year-old Susan McCormick does a Scottish dance dockside for passengers aboard.  The Princess "Pat" had been a regular visitor to Kitimat, bringing workers, mail, and supplies during smelter and town construction. 

Travel Hostesses Pose for B.C Tourism Promotion

Travel hostesses from B.C. Ferries, Vancouver Airport, and the federal Travel Bureau in Ottawa toured Kitimat in May 1969 - an orientation tour aimed at enabling them to speak more knowledgeably about the Highway 16 area. 

Jaycee Clean Up

The annual Jaycee clean up of the town included the Haisla Look-Out sign, originally presented to the District of Kitimat by the Chamber of Commerce and created in colour by Bill Diesing.  Photographed by Max Patzelt in 1964.