Williams Lake Introduction

This is for a class project for Langara College.

→ William’s Lake is in the centre of the Cariboo region of British Columbia.

→ It is right on the shores of… well, Williams Lake. The Fraser river flows on the western side of the town. The Cariboo highway passes through it and it is the starting point for the Bella Coola-Chilcotin highway (aka highway 20).

“In Williams Lake, the summers are comfortable and partly cloudy and the winters are freezing, snowy, and mostly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from -10 °C to 25 °C and is rarely below -23 °C or above 31 °C.”

Economic and Social Background

23, 608 live in the William’s Lake area.


13.9% → under $30,000

26.2% → $30,000 – $59,999

29.5% → $60,000 – $99,999

13.0% → $100,000 – $124,999

7.8% → $125,000 – $149,999

9.6% → $150,000 or more

First Language

English only: 21,025

Single non-official language only: 1,735

Multiple mother tongues: 305

French only: 260


0-14: 16.8%

15-64: 62.0%

65+: 21.1%

Major Industries and Employers

William’s Lake is primarily a logging and milling town. Many residents also work in retail, healthcare, and mining.

Williams Lake, BC – Companies | Townfolio

Political Governance

Date of municipal incorporation: 1860

Mayor and Council

Board of Education

  • Michael Franklin — Zone 6 — BOARD MEMBER
    • T: 7787992976, E: michael.franklin@sd27.bc.ca
  • Linda Martens — Zone 1 — BOARD MEMBER
    • T: 7787992970, E: linda.martens@sd27.bc.ca
  • Willow Macdonald — Zone 3 — BOARD MEMBER
    • T: 7787992971, E: willow.macdonald@sd27.bc.ca
  • Mary Forbes — Zone 2 — BOARD MEMBER
    • T: 7787992972, E: mary.forbes@sd27.bc.ca
  • Angie Delainey — Zone 5 — BOARD VICE-CHAIR
    • T: 7787992975, E: angie.delainey@sd27.bc.ca
  • Ciel Patenaude — Zone 4 — BOARD CHAIR
    • T: 7787992974, E: ciel.patenaude@sd27.bc.ca
  • Anne Kohut — Zone 7 — BOARD MEMBER
    • T: 7787992973, E: anne.kohut@sd27.bc.ca

Local Reserves

“The Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN), or the T’exelcemc (people of WLFN) have belonged to the Secwepemc (or Shuswap) Nation for over 6500 years. Today, the WLFN community includes a growing population of over 800 registered members who live on reserve in Sugar Cane, in nearby Williams Lake, BC, and across the globe.”


Own Words

Willa Julius is the founder of the Williams Lake Pride Society, dating back to 2017. For her, she cites that one of the issues that the people of Williams Lake struggle with the most is a lack of accessibility regarding healthcare services. Right now, there are no walk-in clinics in the city. During Covid-19, they suffered a huge shortage in nursing staff and it took a long time for vaccine rollout to begin in their community. The issue of healthcare is also relevant to trans people living in town. There is no trans-specific gender affirming healthcare in town, meaning that trans people have to navigate hormone therapy and surgical options through their general practitioner.

“Our emergency room works as a walk-in clinic a lot of the time,” said Julius. “People that are within the community, in particular trans folk, they’ve told me that sometimes it is hard to get testosterone. Williams Lake is kind of a remote place. With the pandemic, sometimes there’s quite a delay on medication in the pharmacies.”

Similar to Julius, Debbie Skinner of the Church on 11th Evangelical church agrees with the issues surrounding healthcare shortages. Skinner said that, “The biggest (issues) affecting our community are; lack of doctors, gangs and crime, and inflation.” Macleans magazine designated the city the ninth most dangerous city in all of Canada in 2019. Its neighbour city of Quesnel is number five. As of 2022 according to the Williams Lake Tribune, their current Crime Severity Index is 214.64.

Ken Stevenson, owner of Exotic Aquatic, a small business in the downtown sector, believes that mill closures or mill cutbacks are the biggest issues facing Williams Lake. “The mills aren’t even Canadian owned, anymore,” Stevenson said, citing Tolko specifically has had reduction in business. The way Stevenson sees it, the prosperity of the mills affects all of the businesses in town, including “nonessential” ones such as his.

Photo: Photo of the sign outside the town of Williams Lake. Shot by user “Andybremner2012” on Wikipedia, uploaded May 7, 2010.