Sunday, October 24, 2010

My Town Monday - visiting Kitimat

Visiting family in Kitimat (northwest BC) was a rain soaked adventure. The Twilight Series would have felt at home here - a place where the sun did not shine - although there were pauses in the rain. It's a place where forests are thick and lush. I don't know about vampires, but it's definitely bear country. A couple of weeks before my visit (back in September) - a spirit bear (aka kermode bear) was captured and relocated, after it was caught wandering the streets and backyards of downtown Kitimat. Grizzly bears were supposedly still roaming the streets while I was there. Here's a photo of us following a bear trap down the street.


As you can see from this map (or maybe not) - Kitimat is a coastal town - close to the Haida Gwaii or Queen Charlotte Islands - which claim to have some of the biggest and oldest trees of the world. (While I didn't go there this time, I'll make it a point to head over there by ferry on my next visit.)

The main employer in Kitimat is Alcan - an aluminum manufacturer. The city was designed by Alcan and employs about 1500 people (including my cousins and uncles). In the mid-fifties, when my relatives were immigrating to Canada, Alcan provided secure jobs and prosperity to the postwar refugees. I narrowly missed growing up in Kitimat myself. (My mother was too sick during her pregnancy with me, to make the long journey out west, that first year in Canada.) By the time I arrived, my dad had found other work on the sunny, but flat, prairies.








The Douglas Channel - a deep fiord - reaches in to Kitimat and provides the town with a necessary port for importing bauxite - an important ingredient in the production of aluminum - and for exporting the finished aluminum product. It also provided a great view for our seafood dinner in Kitamaat Village's Seamasters Restaurant. Kitamaat Village is the neighboring First Nations settlement. (By the way, Kitamaat means - people of the many snows.)

Thank you, to my cousins and their families, and especially to my dear Tante Berta. I exported a renewed connection to family. Visit more My Town Monday posts.

1 comment:

debra said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure. I've always wanted to travel to the Pacific NW (both US and Canada). I'm also putting your book on my TBR list :-)