Townsite History

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Powell River Townsite is a unique coastal community of British Columbia, Canada that was designated as a National Historic District of Canada in 1995, one of only seven in Canada and the only one in western Canada. A very prestigious designation, it confirms that Powell River Townsite, remarkably intact with over 400 original buildings contained within the borders of the 1910 town plan, is a historical asset to the entire country.

Historically, our community was preplanned with principles generated from progressive philosophical movements arising as a result of the excesses of industrialization in the late 19th century. Thus, the Garden City and Arts and Crafts Movements influenced Powell River's planners of 1910 in regard to the location and architectural style of our homes, parks, green belts, commercial buildings and recreation facilities.

The town of Powell River itself was preplanned on blueprints as early as 1909. The prime mover behind the town's development was the Powell River Company, which was responsible for preplanning, constructing and providing for most of the community's needs. Once the construction of the pulp and paper mill was underway, construction of the company town began. The construction proceeded methodically, block by block, with up to seven homes being built simultaneously. The progress of the town's construction depended on the economic conditions of the mill in any given year. The year 1930 marked the completion of the preplanned Garden City.

See the transformation of Dr. Henderson's House to a heritage resource and interpretive centre that offers an opportunity to inspire preservation.