British Columbia. Village
Between Prince George and Valemount
53°18’15” N 120°9’50” W — Map 093H08 — Google
Name officially adopted in 1965
Official in BC
In 1911 Grand Trunk Pacific Railway surveyors chose as a townsite and divisional point Mile 90, where the valley opened up into a wide flat area with an ample water supply. They named the new town after the premier of British Columbia, Richard McBride (1870-1917). In 1910, when Louie Knutson first came through what is now the village of McBride, it was known as the Flats. The McBride post office opened in February 1914.
Richard McBride was the first British Columbia premier to be born in the province. In the provincial election of 1898 he was elected member for Dewdney, and after re-election in 1900 he accepted the post of Minister of Mines. In the session of 1902 he was elected leader of those opposed to the Dunsmuir government. James Dunsmuir retired that year, and when the Lieutenant-Governor dismissed the succeeding government in 1903, McBride as asked to form a new government. He was the youngest man ever to become premier of British Columbia.
McBride’s government chartered a new railway, the Grand Trunk Pacific, but the government did not initially grant a subsidy. Later it did make certain grants which lead to cries of corruption and a demand for investigation. After winning another election in 1907, McBride went off to England, where Lord Grey observed, “I like the look of that picturesque buffalo, McBride.” For his labours on behalf of the province, his ardent support of the Conservative party, his promotion of the imperial connection, his championing of the navy and for the loyal support he gave the federal Prime Minister, Robert Borden recommended to the Governor-General that McBride be invested with the Order of the Knight, Commander of St. Michael and St. George.
In the years before the 1914-1918 war, the financial state of the province deteriorated. The outbreak of the war on 4 August 1914 gave McBride a relief from the pressures of domestic politics, railways’ subsidies, suffragettes and discontented workers. McBride’s most famous decision was the acquisition of two Seattle-built submarines in early August 1914, just before American neutrality laws came into effect. “The people’s Dick” beat Uncle Sam to the draw. A few days later the submarines were taken over by the Dominion government.
The political situation which had existed in 1914 was not improved the next year. To escape any further difficulties he went to London for three months. When he returned to Victoria in the summer, he seemed to lack his usual resilience and energy. On 15 December 1915, his forty-fifty birthday, McBride resigned. He was in poor health and found it increasingly difficult to cope with affairs. McBride settled in London, where he became agent-general for British Columbia. Health declining, he resigned his post on 20 May 1917, hoping to return to his native province. He died on 6 August 1917, at age 47.