Tag Archives: dawson creek

Where I Live: The City of Dawson Creek

Three Major Districts of Import

Dawson Creek, British Columbia, Canada
Virginia Stark


The Health Care and Hospital District

Dawson Creek Hospital has a complex of buildings around it that show the regions need for an increase of medical resources in a hurry. The complex consists of a three story hospital with three wings that house a variety of patients and facilities including an X-ray, Laboratory, Ultrasound and recently and MRI. Although it has a lot of space and facilities, it is often lacking in doctors for the Emergency Room. Patients are frequently flown out of Dawson Creek to Vancouver or Edmonton for emergency procedures that outstrip the areas technology or the availability of qualified medical personnel.

The entire facility encompasses a large park-like area that allows patients some easily accessed green space. Dawson Creek is a city that is known for its boom and bust economy and the set up of buildings shows how the municipal government utilizes bursts of money to build smaller, but well outfitted buildings. These buildings include a walk-in clinic for transient workers with no local doctor. It also has a health unit complex that treats the elderly and other patients who need help with physical care but may not need or qualify for in-home care workers. It also administers vaccinations and narcanone kits.

The Mental Health and Addictions Centre is housed in the same building as the Health Care Unit and offers help for anyone seeking assistance in dealing with any drug or addiction problems, group therapy and both psychologists and psychiatrists who are available through a General Practitioners recommendations. This is a sizeable amount of permanent resources available for a population whose permanent residence level is fairly small.

There are many people involved in the construction of these buildings including oil and gas companies who make financial contributions to offset the burden that transient workers they bring in put on the health care system. The workers at these places seem content and although they are less likely to stay in Dawson Creek permanently due to the remoteness of the location and the hostile weather conditions. The buildings themselves are slightly awkward because workers often have to go from one building to

The Walk-In Clinic offers the service of doctors for non-emergency services for patients who do not have access to a General Practitioner. It is pictured across the road from the hospital. There is a bus stop between the hospital and the clinic for increased access.


another in inclement weather to access the array of resources.

Shown here is the entry to the hospital. Now covered in snow, this expanse is covered in grass in the summer months. There is also a large parking lot that offers free parking for easy access to the many resources offered.

The Health Unit and Hospital are ringed with easy access to bus stops to further facilitate accessibility.




The Parks and Recreation Public Use District

The Rotary Park is a large park that is vital to the city in all seasons. It is utilized for walking, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing and for various other games and sports as well as a training ground for emergency workers who must learn to move through the woods and snow in all conditions. Pictured here is the tennis courts. They are of little use in the winter but are utilized heavily in the summer. There is also a baseball diamond on the far side of a parking lot. All parking and usage of the park are free. It is maintained by park workers and the land was donated to the city by the Rotary Club of Dawson Creek.

The park offers greenspace and protects the creek, Dawson’s Creek, that the city was named for as a protected watershed. The Arts Society has contributed interesting markers with poetry and historical markers along the extensive walking trails to enhance its interest and encourage people to visit the park.

Part of Rotary Park, an outdoor gym sits unused in the winter months but offers free access to sophisticated gym equipment for anyone to use day or night.








The Railroad District


The railroad is another vital piece of infrastructure. The city was brought into existence by the railroad and is one of the oldest parts of the city. The grain silos pictured are now abandoned but they are likely to be utilized in the future. There are more active grain, feed and other agricultural as well as other natural resource transportation that relies on the railroad to this day as its artery to the outside world.


The original railroad station brought in many people anxious to get in on the Klondike Gold Rush. Later it was instrumental in bringing in American soldiers to build the famous Alaska Highway that protected the entire west coast of North America from invasion through the Pacific Ocean. The railroad station is now a Museum and popular tourist attraction but the original railroad line is still active behind it.

Immediately beside the former railroad station is the last standing grain elevator in Dawson Creek. It has been transformed into a magnificent art gallery that supports local artists, potters and crafts persons of all sorts. Classes are offered for young or accomplished artists and it is a hub of culture in the city.


Dawson Creek as a New City

Dawson Creek and The Alaska Highway

By Virginia Carraway Stark

Dawson creek is a unique city and a relatively new one. Built in Northern British Columbia, Canada, there were few resources or incentives to colonize the area. It started off as a very small settlement but was mostly settled by Indigenous People who had made it their home for hundreds of years.


Despite the northerly latitude of the city, it is located in the Peace River District which is unusual for northern cities in that it gets far more hours of sunlight especially in the winter than most regions at the same latitude or even lower. The Peace River wound its way through the region creating fertile soil and many crops that wouldn’t grow so far north anywhere else would grow in the Peace Region due to this confluence of events.


Nevertheless, the region remained unpopulated for many years because it was so difficult to get to and there were no roads or trains going to the area. It wasn’t until World War 2 that Dawson Creek became significant as a strategic outpost for the Pacific theater. The American military used a railroad spur to expand the small settlement and to use it as a base for one of the most difficult and beset engineering projects of the day: Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway.

As a result of this, the city is built around several features:

The greenways and parks to keep the creek it is built around removed from construction projects and unhindered in its natural route. This was extended to include a large network of walking trails and parks. Many empty lots were also converted into parks rather than built on.

The Axis’ that it follows that make up both an irregular pattern and then try to establish a more ordered pattern through a grid design.

The new modern area that caters to entertainment, tourism and long term stay hotels for the oil and gas industry.

Additional green spaces and waterways have been highlighted in the maps below. The axis have also been marked out in pink. The city has left the surrounding area to agriculture and to wind farms to increase it’s green spaces. Even the Modern area ensures that trees and areas of grass or field are left to break up the intense building in the Modern Industrial Area.


It follows two axis, one axis is the Alaska Highway itself that forms a unique layout to the city planning since it protrudes in a Northwest direction. The second axis is 8th street, it too is part of a highway that turns into one of the major markers in town. It is along this second axis that a grid for subdivision was laid out and most of the commercial areas are located and is the most modern area of Dawson Creek. Nearly all of the buildings in this zone are new or have been significantly renovated to give them a modern feel.  This area includes the Aquatics Center, several large hotel chains, a Walmart, Canadian Tire, a row of fast food restaurants,  Northern Lights College, the Encana Center and many more such buildings. The Encana center and the Aquatics and recreational center are very large buildings where thousands of people can gather.

Below shows the exterior and interior of The Encana Center.


One of several hotels, behind the Pomeroy you can see the back end of the Walmart building.


Journey’s performance at the Encana Center shows how exciting this modern aspect of Dawson Creek is.



These modern areas are in stark contrast to the old downtown area of Dawson Creek. This area is enclosed on both sides by the arms of 8th street and the Alaska Highway. The place where the two roads interconnect is a roundabout that is the actual location of Mile Zero.

alaska highway.jpg

One of the things that was easy to observe was how the city of Dawson Creek had worked to re-purpose old buildings to create not only a still vibrant downtown that seems to leap out of the 1950s, but to create centers for artists and tributes to history in what was the ‘old downtown’.


Located near the Mile Zero round about, this last grain elevator from the days when agriculture was the sole industry in the area was preserved and turned into an utterly unique and beautiful art gallery. Visitors follow a circular walkway that leads up to the top of the grainery that is now regularly covered in artwork from local and visiting artists.


In another example of repurposing and preservation the former railroad station was converted into a museum that preserves much of the past of Dawson Creek and the building of the highway.

Much of Dawson Creek is devoted to green spaces including the windfarm that tops nearby Bear Mountain. Bear Mountain and the surrounding areas are dedicated to agriculture so the entire area is surrounded by green and yellow fields of canola.


Field of Canola blowing in the wind shows how Dawson Creek borders on the prairies. It is juxtaposed between prairies and mountains resulting in the ability to establish the windfarm in addition to the massive amounts of agriculture still being practiced in the area. These fields contribute to the greenspaces available to the people of Dawson Creek and keep the area’s air clean.


The Bear Mountain windfarm as seen from the edge of the city.

Dawson Creek has made a point of making access to green areas a priority. In addition to preserving the natural waterways the city has also made a man made lake and park called Rotary Park. This offers a free place for residents and tourists to swim and picnic. It borders a campground and a second historical area that has preserved settlers homes, churches, general stores and other buildings.


The man-made lake and surrounding park known as Rotary Park. Not pictured are acres of land that consist of play ground space, biking and walking trails and areas for cook-outs.


Among the re-purposed buildings was the original post office. A brick structure with marble interior, the building was a long term landmark and no one wanted to see it torn down but it cost too much for a private company to purchase and maintain it. As a result it was completely renovated as a complete center for the arts including a performance theater, cafe as well as studios for artists and room for the Potter’s Guild and the Quilter’s Guild amongst others. 

The post office boxes were partially left intact and were used as plaques to dedicate to patrons of the arts.

Not all buildings were successfully renovated. The old swimming pool building was filled with toxic waste and was a difficult issue for many years. It was recently torn down and the waste removed. The area is now a green space and park adjacent to the ice arenas.


 An unusual building, the swimming pool served the people of Dawson Creek for many years. It is now a memory in a photograph. 

Perpetuity, How Our Beloved Pets Never Leave Our Hearts

They never ever go away. There isn’t a time when you can draw up the image of a pet who has gone down the rainbow bridge without feeling the same sense of soul-rending pain as the very instant you knew that they were gone.

I drew the rough copy of Perpetuity while she was alive and it was years after her death when I was going through old sketchbooks that I found the unfinished picture of her and I wrote this poem for her and, of course, I cried. Because fur babies are our beloveds too and all animal lovers have felt the sting of their loss. The only thing that makes up for it is the years of unconditional love and the bond that formed. That time with them is well worth the pain of loss.

This picture of Perpetuity is available on a Canvas Gallery Frame at Faking Sanity for the Dawson Creek Art Walk Starting on Monday, June 27, 2016 and going until the end of August. It is available for sale as a canvas print along with the other art and poetry that myself and other artists will be displaying. I am told that Mary Mottishaw will be creating her fantastic notebooks and showing her methods live at Faking Sanity as well. Drop By for a treat, whether that’s a peek at some art, a new-to-you book or a piece of Faking Sanity’s famous cheesecake, cookies or their healthy lunches!




by Virginia Carraway Stark

One day I found a picture of you

And my heart was hurt anew

Because my love, how I loved you

You were mine, my Perpetu

But even more I belonged to you

Someone like my Perpetu

Can never leave my heart too

So much of me was invested in you

Every day you were with me was always new

A part of my soul was claimed when yours was due

I always new the day would come

When I would think of you and numb

The pain and tears that will not be dumb

Some things in life aren’t here to stay

But having a dog taken away

Even by old age, the pain eats us day by day

Rest for now, my Perpetu

One day I know, I will see you

I will hold you in my arms anew

What is gone now is not lost except for a few

When it’s time to wake up know that I’m here

And that I’ve never once forgotten you.

Letter to ICBC

run over right leg side few swelling continues to spread down leg
I have already said all of this to your reps before I was treated badly enough that I finally sought legal council. All of this should be on file.

I was run over on a lit crosswalk on July 16th at around 11:30 pm in Dawson Creek, B.C.
I was looking very closely when I walked because it was late at night but a friend of mine was in town to go to the Journey concert.
A white car stopped in the near lane (on my left). We did the little ‘acknowledged’ wave to each other and I looked again and there was nobody coming from the right. I started walking, when I got past the near car he continued on his way, I looked right after him and into the far lane. There was still no one coming. I glanced to my left and then back to the right and saw headlight bearing down on me extremely quickly. I had time to realize that he wasn’t slowing down and I started to run. I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to outrun him. He hit me right below the knee on the right side and just above the knee on the left side (It was a minivan). I went up on the hood and then (this part is hard to remember) I think I hit my head on the windshield and rolled onto the pavement on the far side of the cab. I may have briefly blacked out at this point. It’s extremely hazy.
My cellphone was smashed but I was able to tell my husband that I had been hit by a car. The taxi didn’t stop for nearly a city block where he finally put on the brakes. He didn’t come back until he saw me getting up. I think he would have continued if I hadn’t gotten up.
My left shoe had been knocked off and it was raining a little. I was in very bad shock and all I could think was that I didn’t know how I was going to walk to the hotel where my friend was staying because my leg hurt and that I had to find my shoe. That and just elation that I was able to get up and walk. At that time I felt little pain, I was in extreme shock.
After a very very long pause the cab driver backed up. He asked if I was ok. I cursed at him and told him of course not, he had run me over. I was very obsessed with finding my shoe and angry that my cellphone was broken. I gave my husband the license plate number and he said he was going to call the police and told me to stay there but I was very confused and don’t remember him telling me that. He told me to lie down and not move (he’s a paramedic but he was out of town at the time.) I also don’t remember him telling me that.
The man’s name was Rick Muir although at the time he only said his name was ‘Rick’. He helped me find my shoe which was stuck under the driver’s side wheel well of the car.He worked for Golden Cab. I gave the license plate number to my husband to report it.  The cab driver kept asking if I was ok and I kept repeating that I wasn’t ok at all. I was extremely confused and told him to take me to the hotel where I was going to meet my friend Janice after the Journey concert.  I wandered around the hotel for awhile (I don’t remember what I did except that I bought I coke from the machine).
The cab driver dropped me there even though I repeatedly told him that I was NOT ok and was VERY upset. He did not wait to see if I was ok but went off and left me. He later went to the police station and filed a false police report.

The incident was ruled 100% Rick Muir’s fault by the way.
run over left leg can now make out edge of license plate
Left leg, you can see the edge of the license plate imprint in this one.
I found myself outside of the hotel at a picnic table. I had missed many phone calls from the police and my husband. I managed to pick up the damaged phone and told my husband where I was. The paramedics picked me up from the picnic bench.
A police officer named Constable Gould came and questioned me as they put the neck collar on me. He asked me more questions at the hospital. I don’t remember these but he says that I said I didn’t want to press charges and so they closed the case. Please bear in mind that I was completely in shock and hadn’t even had my neck x-rayed at this point. No follow up was done. The Officer said as I wasn’t in a coma, dead and was able to walk so that my injuries were ‘minor’ and closed the case.
(These picture were taken while I was still in the hospital the night of the accident AFTER the police had come and left and never came back. The swelling was about as big as a large apple.)
I spent the next two weeks in total shock and then tried to return to my property and found I was unable to even do the most basic of work and my pain level escalated as I came out of shock. I started to seek medical attention in a more concentrated way and we discovered that I was unable to even walk back and forth between the building site for the house and the trailer without suffering extreme pain after.
Since then I have been diagnosed with concussion, whiplash, severe spinal pain and extreme PTSD. I have several doctors notes saying I can’t work. I used to write science articles, medical blogs and professionally edit as well as give accupressure, massage and aromatherapy which I am no longer able to do. Trying to write anything from the rational part of my brain causes my brain to freeze and I lose days of time. My husband found me crying at the crosswalk where I had been hit after I tried to take down a simple transcription of an interview. I make numerous errors and it takes me a long time to write articles that it used to take me under an hour to do. The articles are worth at most $12 each and I have to do a great many in a day to make money at it but I used to be able to do them in under an hour at most.
ICBC has said because I still write poetry and fiction that may ONE DAY earn money that I am not TOTALLY disabled and won’t pay ANY lost wages. They have very reluctantly started to pay for my medication which is around $300 a month. I was very healthy before and rarely saw the doctor. I have received next to nothing from ICBC, my husband now works 3 JOBS to support me. ICBC refused to follow the occupational therapist guidelines, has ignored doctors notes from two different doctors and a psychiatrist saying I am totally unable to work and further more has used my efforts to continue to keep ANY REPUTATION at all as a writer as evidence that I don’t deserve any help.
I want to return to work one day and it is only by trying to keep social media presence that I have any hope of doing so and yet I am penalized by your organization that has treated me dreadfully.
My psychiatrist has written a letter specifying that writing a story is not the same as writing a scientific blog and that I cannot do any work for pay.
I am going to be going to the media next. The cab company that ran me over filed a false police report and said that he ‘may have hit me with his mirror’ and then filed a claim with ICBC for the huge dent I left in the hood of his minivan.
I will continue to seek to tell the world of the gross injustices and have already been contacted by the CBC for information.
The police and victim’s services have been absolutely no help and although I have a lawyer ICBC has demanded that I travel to Vancouver to see their private specialists before giving me anything other than returns on my medication receipts. The medications I am on are extremely heavy and I still have a hard time going outside and traveling in the car is a flashback nightmare for me.
The cab driver didn’t receive any punishment. He still drives for Golden Cabs, the same company accused of running a sex ring a few years ago. I have to go in for surgery and then be questioned by ICBC lawyers within a week afterwards and have been treated like a criminal for being run over. It’s been almost as traumatizing dealing with ICBC as it was to be run over. On top of everything PTSD brings back previously dealt with traumas from the past so I have had to deal with traumas from my childhood that I had been at peace with.
In the years to come I may get some of the damages etc back but in the meantime I must live off of the money my husband makes and he must take care of me as well. ICBC has entirely ignored the occupational therapist’s recommendations for assistance and does whatever it wants whenever it wants.
I have attached pictures so you can see the extent of the damages. Fortunately nothing was broken but the fact that it wasn’t was a miracle. Anything I do to try to keep any semblance of the life I once had ICBC reads as me not being ‘totally disabled’. I express myself through poetry and they say this proves that I am still able to write but being asked to write a science article is not the same as writing creative fiction and even so I write much less than I used to.
I spend days in pain and am on heavy pain killers.
My husband and I were supposed to pour the foundation for our new house on some land we own and that had to be called off. We had to get rid of all our animals as I couldn’t take care of them and my husband had to work. I’ve lost everything except what is left of my writing career.I try to do some charity work to keep my reputation in this competitive field alive.  I had been nominated for an Aurora award and worked hard to build a reputation and make friends in the field. Now for the second year I’ve had to cancel all public appearances except for a brief local one that I made. I had to leave before I could even do the workshop I was supposed to do and only read a few poems and yet was hurting for days and days after just from that much work.
I have seen Rick Muir and other Golden Cab drivers driving like maniacs and many people in town complain about them.
After hearing that the case has been closed and no legal steps have been taken against a man who has struck three people in the past and one person after me I have fallen into utter despair and feel that we have no recourse, no justice and the only system is there to punish anyone who survives.

I have a lawyer who has also been ignored in his efforts to seek financial assistance for me and I am supposed to have an ICBC lawyer come and question me a week after I am scheduled for surgery. You guys are EVIL. I did NOTHING wrong and you have yelled at me and made me feel horrible since the first day Doug Warenko from Cranbrook called me at 830 am and started yelling at me that I was a faker and he would make sure that I wouldn’t’ see a penny from this.

I do not appreciate being treated like crap after being run over. ICBC has done NOTHING to help me return to work, nothing to help me feel better, just persecuted me.

The way I have been treated has traumatized me in a whole new way from how the accident traumatized me and i will make sure that the world knows how I have been disabused. From Rick Muir still having his driving license to being forced from building a house into barely being able to pay for medication and renting a house when I should be living in my own completed house. You’ve put my relationship with my husband in jeopardy from putting all the financial pressure and all the pressure of taking care of me on his shoulders. The accident already ruined our physical relationship.Our second anniversary is coming up and then I have surgery a few days after. I hate my life now. I hate the medication I have to take and most of all I hate how you have treated me. You are very very bad people and when people pay liability insurance it is to help protect people like me.You keeping it from me is criminal.

I now have a lawyer (after being yelled at repeatedly by your representatives and being treated horribly).

I don’t have my claim number on me but I’m sure you can find it, I’m not well enough to go looking through my things for it and a lot of my stuff is on my land where it has gotten wrecked by spending a winter in the snow when when it should have been in my brand new house.  I am not the only one who has horror stories to tell about their treatment by you guys and the fact that it has nearly been a year and I am still struggling to survive and you have refused to acknowledge all the medical files info and doctor’s notes and opinions shows me what a fraud this is.

I am not going to stop talking about how badly I have been treated. I have a lot of people who care about me and my next step is to post a copy of what I have sent to the CBC to my blog site.

I deserve help. I deserve financial help. I deserve to have the OT’s report and my doctor’s listened to and I won’t stop talking about this. I have nothing but time because as I am more and more traumatized by my treatment I become more and more vulnerable to the PTSD that I suffered. I can’t even afford to get physio or chiropractor treatments.

I have no expectation that you will do anything helpful for me EVER and because I have no hope all I have is my voice and my voice is still loud and strong. Until I am treated with decency and respect no one will hear the end of this.