Welcome to culture in the Robson Valley
One hundred years ago when railway development brought settlers into the Robson Valley, the communities which grew up were completely isolated from one another except along the railway line. Once the railway was established, the river boats and sternwheelers no longer served the Valley and the only roads were the remains of the railway construction tote road. The nearest towns; Jasper, Prince George and Kamloops were well over one hundred miles away by rail.
The small communities along the route developed their own characteristics which, in some ways, have remained with them, but something that was common to all was the independence of the settlers – and their ability to do or make whatever needed doing or making in their everyday lives. This could range from building a house to making furniture or inventing tools.
This attitude of independence and ingenuity is still there, but where the skills were once used only to aid daily life, they are now evident in the wealth of craftsmanship in its many forms on display in the Whistle Stop and around the town.
Television did not come to McBride until the 1970s, late compared to most of the province, and this had a considerable impact on the growth of culture in the Robson Valley.
Over the years there were outdoor ice skating rinks, sports teams, choirs, bands, talent shows as well as a movie theatre and drive in. People went out for entertainment and gathered together for companionship.
That strong sense of community culture is still with us today as evidenced by free dance classes, various volunteer sports teams, movie night and other events in the Roundhouse Theatre, and the community’s enthusiastic participation in the Kraft Hockeyville competition.
Outdoor recreational enthusiasts abound, and community events such as Winter Carnival, Festival of Lights, Canada Day and Missoula Children’s Theatre are well attended. We have our own theatre group, Spontaneous Combustion and it is standing room only for their productions.
The beautiful landscape inspires artists and photographers, and the culture of the town reflects the community pride that has brought forth murals, painted fire hydrants and other artistic touches throughout McBride.
People, community, landscape. These three things define culture in the Robson Valley and first among them is the people. Creative, imaginative, talented and determined. Generous of heart and spirit we celebrate the people of the Robson Valley and all they have created!