Peace River Country history part of BC Museum?s new on-line exhibition First web resource to give thorough look at BC history

VICTORIA, BC — The Peace River Country is featured as part of the Royal BC Museum?s new comprehensive on-line exhibit focussing on BC?s human and natural history.

Entitled Journeys & Transformations: British Columbia Landscapes, the on-line exhibition is part of the ongoing Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) project. The site is the first web resource that provides an integrated view of British Columbia?s human and natural history.

The Peace River country is the grain-growing centre of British Columbia. The web site highlights selected aspects of the Peace River Country?s natural and human history, such as its significant role in the ranching and farming industry. Early ranchers in British Columbia raised a few thousand cattle; today the herds number about 265,000 animals.

?The Peace River country has become the grain basket of British Columbia and is now also the centre of a flourishing oil and gas industry,? said Bob Griffin, manager of Human History at the Royal BC Museum, who served as one of the site?s editors.

The first shipment of wheat left the region in 1906 when 1,000 bushels were sent to the Hudson?s Bay Company at Fort Vermillion, AB.

Hector Tremblay, considered the first farmer in the region, settled near Pouce Coupe in 1906. He cultivated about 4 hectares, growing wheat and oats to feed his packhorses and provide food for the table. Grain farmers in the Peace River country created new, artificial grasslands but destroyed many of the native grasses.

The Museum?s Journeys & Transformations Web site highlights BC?s unique landscapes: mountains, forests, waters, grasslands, and cities. Each section includes topics relating to the geography, natural history, and historical development of British Columbia, focussing on transformations that have affected its people, land, flora and fauna. The site also includes accounts provided by First Nations.

?Journeys & Transformations provides BC and the world access to the stories and treasures that have been entrusted to the Royal BC Museum,? said Museum CEO Pauline Rafferty. ?With one click, the public can delve into BC?s natural and cultural heritage, gaining knowledge from our extensive collections and experts.?

The site also fulfils needs in the school curriculum. Journeys & Transformations allows students in First Nations Studies, Geography, and History courses to further their education through wide-ranging resources from the RBCM collection, which can be used to support classroom learning.

Links to supplementary lesson plans based on the site?s content enhance the ability of teachers to integrate the site into their classrooms. Students are also encouraged to contribute to the site by submitting their own thoughts about journeys and transformations in British Columbia.

The Journeys & Transformations Web site was designed and produced in collaboration with Simon Fraser University?s 7th Floor Media. ?One of the pleasures of designing this site was working with the variety of images and information provided to us by the museum,? said Julie Zilber, 7th Floor Media Co-Director. ?The gorgeous photographs invite students into the landscapes of British Columbia and will provoke their curiosity about the province?s rich history and the complex relationships that exist between the people and places of BC.?

The Virtual Museum of Canada (VMC) is a unique gateway featuring innumerable stories and treasures from Canadian museums.

The Royal BC Museum?s Virtual Museum of Canada project, Journeys & Transformations: British Columbia Landscapes can be visited at:

www.royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/exhibits/journeys/english/index.html