Quesnel - British Columbia

Quesnel, British Columbia on the Rocky Mountaineer Railroad

Population: (Metro) 25,000

Quesnel /kwəˈnɛl/ is a small city that is part of the Cariboo District of British Columbia, Canada. Located nearly evenly between the cities of Prince George and Williams Lake, it is on the main route to northern British Columbia and Yukon. It is claimed to be home to the world's largest gold pan, although this is disputed by Nome, Alaska.
The Rocky Mountaineer train also travels through and stops overnight in Quesnel.

Quesnel is sister city to Shiraoi, Japan and Val-d'Or, Quebec. Quesnel hosted the 2000 British Columbia Winter Games, an annual provincial amateur sports competition. To the east of Quesnel lie Wells, Barkerville, and Bowron Lake Provincial Park, a popular canoeing destination in the
Cariboo Mountains.

Quesnel History

The name is derived from Jules Maurice Quesnel, who accompanied Simon Fraser on his journey to the Pacific Ocean. Quesnel came to be called 'Quesnellemouth' to distinguish it from 'Quesnel Forks', 97 kilometres (60 mi) up river. In 1870 it had been shortened to Quesnelle and by 1900 it was spelled the way it is now. Quesnel is located along the gold mining trail known as the Cariboo Wagon Road and was the commercial centre of the Cariboo Gold Rush. It also marks one end of the Alexander MacKenzie Heritage Trail. Because of its location on the Fraser River it was also an important landing for sternwheelers during 1862 until 1886 and then from 1909 until 1921. The last sternwheeler on the upper Fraser was Quesnel's own namesake craft, and home town product, the Quesnel. Quesnel was incorporated in 1928.

Quesnel Geography and Climate

Location: 52°59′N 122°29′W
Elevation: 474 m (1,555.1 ft)
Average Annual Snowfall: 177.9 cm (70.0 in)
Average Annual Rainfall: 540.3 mm (21.3 in)
Frost Free Days: 179
Average Winter Temperature: −8.6 °C (16.5 °F)
Extreme Minimum Temperature: −46.7 °C (−52 °F)
Average Summer Temperature: 16.7 °C (62.1 °F)
Extreme Maximum Temperature: 40.6 °C (105 °F)
Time Zone: Pacific Standard Time

Quesnel Climate

Considering it being located inland and around the 53rd parallel north Quesnel's humid continental climate is very mild by Canadian standards, being subject to marine airflows from the Pacific. Overnight lows are still cool even in summer, but daytime temperatures average above 24 °C (75 °F) in that season according to Environment Canada.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Quesnel was 40.6 °C (105 °F) on 17 July 1941. 
The coldest temperature ever recorded was −46.7 °C (−52 °F) on 31 December 1927 and 17 January 1950.

Quesnel Demographics

Quesnel had a population of 9,326 people in 2006, which was a decrease of 7.1% from the 2001 census count. The median household income in 2005 for Quesnel was $54,044, which is slightly above the British Columbia provincial average of $52,709.

As of 2012, the population of Quesnel is estimated to still be about 10,000 people living within the city, with roughly 13,000 people living outside the city limits.

Canada 2011 Census             Population   % of Total Population
South Asian                              485               4.9%
Chinese                                     140               1.4%
Black                                          25                 0.3%
Filipino                                       35                 0.4%
Latin American                         25                 0.3%
Visible         Arab                       1                   0%
minority      Southeast Asian  10                 0.1%
group          West Asian            0                   0%

Korean                                       0                    0%
Japanese                                    0                    0%

Total visible 
minority population                 745               7.6%

Aboriginal    First Nations        675               6.9%
group           Métis                     710                7.2%
                    Inuit                         0                    0%

Total Aboriginal population     1,415            14.4%

White                                            7,670           78%

Total population                         9,830           100%

Quesnel Administration

Quesnel's municipal government consists of a 7-member Mayor and Council. The current Council consists of Mayor Bob Simpson and Councillors Ed Coleman, Scott Elliott, Ron Paull, Laurey-Anne Roodenburg, Shushil Thapar and John Brisco.

Quesnel Education

Quesnel is part of School District 28. It contains several elementary schools, as well as a Junior and a Senior Secondary School (Quesnel Junior High School and Correlieu Senior Secondary school respectively). Also within the school district is McNaughton Centre which is an Alternate High school. For post secondary education, Quesnel contains the College of New Caledonia and University of Northern British Columbia, which offer several programs but is most noted for its Nursing program.

Quesnel Transportation

Quesnel is served by the Quesnel Airport, with several commercial flights daily to & from Vancouver, BC. The city is a regular stop on Greyhound Canada's schedules between Kamloops and Prince George and also has a local transit system provided by BC Transit.

Quesnel Sports
  • Quesnel was formerly home to the BCHL's Quesnel Millionaires junior A hockey team. The team moved to Chilliwack for the 2011/2012 season.
  • Quesnel also has minor baseball, softball, lacrosse, ringette, roller derby, and football leagues. A Mountain biking skills park is located behind the Rec Center.
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