Photo of the year

Orin Couston of Prince George, his sisters Emily and Grace, and his mom Samantha set up outside of the Emergency Reception Centre at the College of New Caledonia on Wednesday, giving Cariboo wildfire evacuees bottles of water - and free hugs. City of Prince George photo
Orin Couston of Prince George, his sisters Emily and Grace, and his mom Samantha set up outside of the Emergency Reception Centre at the College of New Caledonia on Wednesday, giving Cariboo wildfire evacuees bottles of water – and free hugs. City of Prince George photo

When the city was being deluged with evacuees from the Cariboo wildfires last summer, Orin, Emily, and Grace Couston, along with mom Samantha set up outside of the College of New Caledonia and gave away free hugs to evacuees.

The picture sums up the city over the past year, says Rob van Adrichem, the city’s director of communications.

“This picture really captured a lot of what happened here in the summer,” Adrichem said at a Prince George Chamber of Commerce luncheon before Christmas. “It really captures the spirit of what happened.”

The Cariboo fires and city’s response by taking in more than 10,000 evacuees is certainly the defining issue of 2017 for the city and the numbers are quite amazing.

More than 10,000 evacuees, more than any other community, were moved to Prince George. Kamloops took in about 9,000. There was plenty of attention to 100 Mile House and Williams Lake, both of which were evacuated, but Prince George took in evacuees from 19 different communities during the crisis.

There were more than 3,600 volunteers who helped deal with the evacuees.

There more than 20 babies born. More than 10,000 visits to the pools as free passes were given to evacuees. Visitors also took in places like The Exploration Place and Two Rivers Gallery.

There were 30,000 vouchers for free food. Almost 500 horses were transported to the city.

The city hosted a thank you party in September.

“No other community did this,” said van Adrichem. “I think it’s a really interesting way to say thank you everyone in Prince George.

Here are some of our other favourite photos from the year.