By Chantal Meijer
Terrace’s first police station has survived for 109 years. Today, its proud police history still echoes from its walls.
It has housed two iconic police forces: the BC Provincial Police from 1913 to 1950, and the RCMP from 1950 to 1964.
It’s still standing on its original site and the first police officer to use it went on to become head of the BCPP.
This building has more than earned its stripes.
Just as significantly, the building has survived where others have not. Of the 100 or so police buildings commissioned by the B.C. government of the day, only a few in the province are still standing.
Solidly built in 1912 at the corner of Lakelse Ave. & Kalum St. by Will Little, a half-brother of city founder George Little, the police station provided living quarters for a constable and cells for the prisoners. One can only imagine the history embedded in its walls over the years.
Terrace’s first police officer, Const. Thomas Parsons, stationed here in 1913/1914 during the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, rose through the ranks of the BCPP to become its chief.
¹Duties carried out by pioneer policemen were far-flung and varied in addition, of course, to handling every possible lawbreaker, under every possible scenario.
¹They patrolled large geographic areas with almost no support, using horses, boats, canoes, snow shoes and dog teams.
In 1950, the BCPP – first formed in 1858 when gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyon and miners outnumbered police officers one thousand to one – passed into history when the provincial government of the day turned policing over to the RCMP.
Thus, in Terrace in 1950, RCMP uniforms replaced BCPP uniforms, and the RCMP’s own storied history marched onward.
The RCMP continued to police out of the old police station until their relocation to the basement of City Hall in 1964. In 1987, the RCMP moved into their new building alongside City Hall.
Terrace’s first police station presently houses the Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce.
¹B.C. Provincial Police Stories by Cecil C. Clark, former Deputy Commissioner of the BC Provincial Police.
Freelance writer/researcher Chantal Meijer is a member of the Terrace Regional Historical Society.