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Sky’s the Limit in Prince George

With great amenities, world-class civic facilities and a flourishing business community, the future for Prince George is brighter than ever

Earlier this year, Prince George hosted the 2015 Canada Winter Games, and in addition to the 2,400 athletes, the games attracted as many as 20,000 visitors. The result was the largest multi-sport and cultural event ever held in the city.

The games were welcome news for Prince George. This year, the city has experienced a healthy boost in tourism as well as an increase in convention bookings. “We clearly demonstrated [through the success of the Winter Games] why Prince George has what it takes to host major meetings and conventions,” explains Erica Hummel, CEO, Tourism Prince George.

Based on conference bookings so far this year, Prince George is set to potentially enjoy a record-breaking year. Adding to those figures, the Prince George Civic Centre (PGCC) plays host to approximately 500 events each year, attracting more than 250,000 attendees, making it the second busiest municipally run convention centre in the province.

In addition to the PGCC, the city is home to more than 20 other facilities and post-secondary institutions, all of which offer a wide range of meeting spaces.

Hotel bookings and the number of events held here are some of the most important indicators of the health of Prince George’s convention business. “Over the next two years we expect the number of conventions and tourist visits to continue to rise,” she adds.

There are many reasons why this reenergized urban hub is doing so well.

“Prince George offers an amazing, affordable and less stressful lifestyle. It’s a great place to raise a family. For sports enthusiasts, you are only a stone’s throw away from nature and great sports facilities,” says Rick Matthe, owner of Pathfinders Endeavours, a company that provides clients with a wide range of resource and asset management services throughout B.C. and Alberta.

Another one of the region’s many strengths is its accessibility.

The airport is only a short drive away, and in less than an hour locals could find themselves in Vancouver or Calgary. In fact, the airport has seen a 30 per cent increase in passengers over the last decade, and last year alone, more than 426,700 travellers came to Prince George. “We have seen a steady increase in tourism of seven per cent year over year since 2010,” says Hummel.

The Prince George region is also home to a diverse range of businesses, and with an unemployment rate lower than both the provincial and national averages, there are many employment opportunities available.

“We have seen an increase in jobs across the trades. This is a city filled with opportunity for young people offering fairly good wages, and the potential for promotions within companies is very strong,” says Ramona Romanuik, branch business manager at Chinook Scaffold Systems Ltd.: the largest supplier of scaffolding in British Columbia. “Chinook hired two young tradesmen in 2013 and both have already moved up in the company in less than two years.”

Romanuik adds that her husband, an electrician, has more work than he’s ever had before. “There’s excitement about the future of Prince George unlike what we’ve seen in the past.”

And much of this excitement stems from the recovery of the region’s forestry sector, and the number of jobs that the oil and gas sectors are providing as well.

With a growing economy, a low cost of living and higher-than-average incomes, it’s easy to see why the sky’s the limit in Prince George.


Photo by Giles Palmer 2015 Canada Winter Games