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Prince George, British Columbia

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Prince George in British Columbia.

 

Prince George, with a population of 70,981 is the largest city in northern British Columbia, Canada, and is known as the "BC's Northern Capital". Situated at the confluence of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, and the crossroads of Highway 16 and Highway 97, the city plays an important role in the province's economy and culture.

Arts and culture

The official mascot of Prince George is Mr. P. G., an anthropomorphic assortment of logs who greets newcomers to the city at the intersection of Highways 97 and 16. Mr. P.G. was one of five roadside attractions featured on the first series of the Canadian Roadside Attractions Series issued by ‎Canada Post stamps on July 6, 2009.

In 1960, the first Mr. PG was constructed as a symbol of the importance of the forest industry to Prince George. It was originally 40’ tall and made of spruce wood. The mascot was built to ride on a float in the Pacific National Exhibition parade in Vancouver, and was the prizewinner for best float. On the parade float, Mr. PG was hinged so it could bend down when the float encountered high wires. It could also speak. In between appearances, Mr. PG was kept on display at The Chamber of Commerce building and was later moved to the Tourist Information Centre.

In 1983, Mr. PG began to deteriorate and rot, and in the summer of 1983, a reconstructed Mr. PG was erected. The new Mr. PG had a yellow hardhat and a time capsule filled with memorabilia representing Prince George in 1983 in its chest.

Mr. PG is 8.138 meters high, his head is 1.5 metres in diameter. The statue is constructed of fiberglass and sheet metal painted to look like wood.

Art galleries and studios

Two Rivers Gallery, which opened in June 2000, has two exhibition galleries named the North and South Canfor Galleries, a gift shop and a galleria. It offers guided tours and art classes for both adults and children.
Studio 2880 houses the Artists' Workshop, the Quilters', Potters', Weavers' and Spinners' Guilds. Its sister building, Studio 2820, is a Ticketmaster outlet and houses the Artisan Gift Shoppe.

Live theatre and symphony

Theatre Northwest is a professional theatre company producing stage productions throughout the year.

The Prince George Theatre Workshop Society is a stage production company founded in the 1960s which puts on amateur theatre events throughout the year.

The Prince George Playhouse (originally built by the Prince George Theatre Workshop Society, now owned by the City of Prince George) has many different uses such as amateur and professional theatre, musical events and major plays put on by local small businesses.

The Prince George Symphony Orchestra (PGSO) is a mixed professional and semi-professional orchestra. The orchestra plays a number of concerts each year at venues around the city and occasionally tours other communities in northern British Columbia. A majority of its concerts are held at the Vanier Hall,[citation needed] which is attached to the Prince George Secondary School.

The Street Spirits Theatre Company is a Prince George youth-oriented social-action theatre group that creates and presents plays using improv theatre techniques such as Theatre of the Oppressed and Workout Theatre, crafted by world-renowned directors and activists such as Augusto Boal and David Diamond. The group has been running since 1999 and has been given several grants from organizations such as the Vancouver Foundation and awards such as the Otto Rene Castillo Award. The group writes and performs interactive plays about issues affecting northern youth such as drug addiction, teen pregnancy and racism and has put out several movies including a feature-length film dealing with northern sex-trade recruitment entitled "Streetwise".

A 2005 cultural project that involved Prince George had 'Spirit Bears' placed throughout various locations around the city. The 'Spirit Bear' is a fiberglass statue of a bear that has various sceneries painted on it.

Museums and libraries

The Exploration Place at the Fraser Fort George Regional Museum is located in Fort George Park and offers a wide variety of galleries and exhibits, including a paleontology exhibit, First Nations exhibit, children's gallery and the Prince George Sports Hall of Fame.
The Prince George Railway and Forestry Museum opened in July 1986, coinciding with Expo'86 and 150 years of rail travel in Canada. The museum has one of the largest vintage rail collections in the province, including vintage rail cars, locomotives and historical buildings. Most of the museum pieces are located outdoors on the lot. Some historical buildings include a building showing the advancement of the telephone and a building that was once a train stop. There is also old firetrucks and forestry equipment. As well, there is a mini-train that goes around the museum lot for the kids.
The Prince George Public Library has two branches in the city, the Bob Harkins branch in the downtown area, which is considered the "main" library of the city and the smaller Nechako branch in the Hart.

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