While the current-day townsite of Mackenzie was developed in the late 1960s, the history of ropean settlement in the area goes back to the earliest fur trading posts. The Northwest Company was trading furs with First Nations people and trappers during the early part of the 1800s. The Hudson’s Bay Company moved into the area in the 1820s and established many successful trading posts.
After the Cariboo Gold Rush in 1870, miners began to move north into the Omineca
District (north of Mackenzie) in search of riches. The communities of Germansen
and Manson Creek were established as settlers moved into the area.
Movement of supplies to the trading posts was by river freighters and pack trains
during the early 1900s. Men like Gus Dalhstrom, Edward Buchanan, and Dick Corless,
operated river freighting companies to move supplies to the early settlers, from the
1920s until the construction of the Hart Highway in the 1950s.
During the 1960s the construction of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam signalled the end of
many of the settlements along the Finlay and Parsnip Rivers, as the Williston Lake
Reservoir flooded over them.
In 1964, the clearing of land began for the townsite of Mackenzie. British Columbia
Forest Products built a pulp mill and two sawmills to begin developing the vast forest
resources in the area. The first families settled in Mackenzie in June of 1966.
Key events in the area’s history are:
- The establishment of the fur trading posts
- Omineca Gold Rush
- River freighting moved supplies to remote areas
- The construction of Bennett Dam and the Williston Lake Reservoir
- Construction of the Mackenzie townsite
- The development of the forest industry
BC Map Showing Locations