© Courtesy of Town of Princeton
The City of Princeton recently captured a major provincial award for its marketing efforts over the last few years, but that doesn’t mean it is going to slow down its efforts anytime soon.
The city has poured its heart and soul into the #ReDiscoverPrinceton campaign, making it the Bronze Sculpture Capital of Canada and adding several other attractions that are drawing travellers off Highway 3 for more than just gas and a quick bite to eat.
The city received the BC Economic Development Association’s Marketing Innovation Award for cities with fewer than 20,000 people. While the recognition is nice, city officials vow to continue improving Princeton with a passion in 2023.
The actual look of Princeton has changed over the last few years, with timber gateways welcoming residents and visitors alike. The same kind of warm, light-coloured wood will now be used to create two small trial boardwalks. One will be in front of the Princeton Visitor Centre, while the other will go in front of the outdoor plaza that is being developed on Bridge Street, the city’s main drag.
Princeton economic development and tourism director Gary Schatz said the city will then get feedback from residents about the boardwalks.
“If everything goes well and it’s approved, we’d like to see that done through our downtown area,” Schatz said, “kind of giving it a more western feel and a warmer feel.”
The same kind of timber is being used for the bandshell on the outdoor plaza, which the city hopes will be used year-round for events like musical performances, movies and holiday markets.
And while they may seem insignificant, Schatz said that new lamp posts and trash receptacles will also have a positive impact on the city’s look. The lamp posts will not only be more efficient, but they will also be able to accommodate seasonal decorations all year long. The receptacles will be made of recycled plastic lumber, complementing the city’s warm wooden look even more.
The city is also constructing a new amenities building at the RV park, which will give patrons new washrooms, a laundry area and a place to relax in case of precipitation. It, too, will have touches of timber throughout. You can book your stay here.
Then there are coming attractions that you cannot see from the highway. Schatz and his team are creating a virtual reality experience at the visitor centre that will highlight the red ochre bluffs along the Tulameen River. Usually, they are visible from the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, but they washed out during the 2021 floods. Now the only way to see them is in a kayak on the river, but not everyone can do that.
So Schatz hired a couple of experienced kayakers to go down the river with GoPro cameras attached to their helmets. Now people can go to the visitor centre and slip on a VR headset to enjoy the beautiful scenery.
“You can actually stop and take a really good, detailed look,” Schatz said. “It’s pretty cool. And we’re going to do a fly over Princeton, too, so we’ll have two different VR experiences.”
Plan your trip to Princeton in the coming months by visiting the city’s website at princeton.ca
The Town of Princeton (population 2,700) is the largest town in the Similkameen. You’ll find it at the confluence of the Tulameen and Similkameen Rivers and at the junction of BC Highways 3 and 5A. It’s a 90-minute drive from the Okanagan Valley and a three-hour drive from the Lower Mainland via Hwy 3-Crowsnest Hwy. You can also fly charter or private planes into the Princeton Airport.