Are you planning a move to British Columbia but looking for a quieter location away from the big cities? If so, you may be interested in living in Williams Lake, BC, just one of the many attractive small towns in BC.
Williams Lake is an attractive lakeside community in central BC. This small city is surrounded by mountains, forests and rivers with a pleasantly dry and sunny climate. The main threat to the community is an aging workforce, and the city is keen to attract new residents to the area.
We will give you all the key information you need about living in Williams Lake, BC. In addition, we will provide you with an unbiased view of the pros and cons of living in this town.
Living In Williams Lake, BC – The Facts
Here are some key facts about this lakeside town for anyone interested in living in Williams Lake, BC.
Where Is Williams Lake, BC?
The small city of Williams Lake is located in the central Cariboo Regional District of British Columbia, on a lake of the same name. It lies around 300 km north of Kamloops on Highway 97, which is the main route to northern BC and the Yukon. The closest sizeable city is Prince George (population approx 100,000) which is around 240 km to the north.
The closest international airport to Williams Lake is actually Kelowna Airport (around a 5-hour drive) but the international destinations from here are limited. The closest major airport is Vancouver International Airport which is a 6.5-hour drive to the south.
However, Williams Lake Regional Airport is conveniently located around 10 km northwest of the city and offers regular flights to Vancouver.
What Is The Population Of Williams Lake in 2023?
The population of Williams Lake in 2023 is around 11,385, based on the latest government of BC estimates released at the start of the year.
The town has seen marginal growth in recent years. The latest federal census data (released in 2022) showed a population of 10,947, representing a growth in the population of Williams Lake of 1.9% between 2016 and 2021.
The average age of the population is 41.7, which is just marginally below the national average of 41.9, and the population of Canmore is predominantly white and English-speaking.
According to the latest census data, visible minorities account for around 9% of the population. The largest minority group living in Canmore is South Asian (almost 50%), followed by Filipino.
What Is The Weather In Williams Lake, BC, Like?
Most of Canada experiences cold, harsh winters with pleasant, moderately hot summers. However, BC’s coastal location and mountain ranges mean its climate isn’t typical of Canada.
You will find significant variations in the climate even within the province. Overall the BC weather is milder and wetter than the rest of Canada. The south coast has the mildest winters in Canada and warm, pleasant summers, while the southern interior has very short winters with long, dry, hot summers.
Williams Lake has cold winters and comfortably warm summers. The average January low is minus ten °C, while the average July high is 26°C. The climate is also very dry, with average annual precipitation of just 426mm (91mm of this falls as snow) and a high number of sunshine hours.
What Is The Cost of Living In Williams Lake Like?
Most immigrants find the cost of living high in Canada, and BC is one of the more expensive provinces. House prices in BC are around 50% higher than Canadian averages.
Rural areas are cheaper but still subject to higher provincial taxes. Sales tax is 12% on most goods (5% GST plus 7% PST) compared to 5% in provinces such as Alberta, and the top income tax rate is relatively high.
Despite the high BC taxes, Williams Lake is a relatively cheap place to live. This is mainly down to low property costs, and the average price of a home in Williams Lake is around $416,000; this is more than 30% lower than the national average.
What Is The Williams Lake BC Economy Based On?
Traditionally the economy of Williams Lake was based on the extraction of natural resources, mainly logging and mining, and these are still pillars of the economy today.
Williams Lake is also a services centre for a wider area in the Cariboo Region, offering health care, education, retail, and professional and personal services.
An Economic Profile of the city in 2020 identified a lack of labour as the biggest threat to the region’s economy. This is primarily due to an aging workforce, and the city is keen to encourage new workers to the area.
Is Williams Lake, BC, A Safe Place To Live?
Canada is one of the safest countries in the world to live in. Crime rates are low, and the country always features near the top of the annual Global Peace Index rankings.
Canada, Quebec, Ontario and the Maritime provinces have the lowest crime rates, while the highest in the territories. BC crime rates are above average for Canada.
Crimes rates in the municipality of Williams Lake are high for Canada and around twice the average for BC. While these rates sound high, they should be taken in the context of low overall crime rates in Canada.
Also, note that crime rates in the Williams Lake rural area are significantly lower than for the municipal area and below average for the province.
Are You Planning A Move To Canada?
Are you wondering whether to make the move and have endless questions?
Do you want to know how much a dentist earns in Canada, where the best neighbourhoods in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, are, or if Gravelbourg, Saskatchewan, is a good place to live?
We have the answers to these and many more questions.
What Are The Schools In Williams Lake, BC, Like?
Canada has a strong and publicly-funded education system, which consistently ranks as one of the best in the world. Education is administered at a provincial level, and BC has a reputation for excellent education within Canada.
Williams Lake has five elementary schools and one mainstream secondary school (Lake City Secondary) with two campuses. Columneetza Campus houses grades 7,8 and 9, while the Lake City Campus grades 10,11 and 12.
The school district also offers French immersion programs at Nesika Elementary and Lake City Secondary Schools. A sixth school (Skyline Alternate School) provides specialized programs for students in grades 8-12 whose needs haven’t been met in the mainstream school system.
What Is The Healthcare In Williams Lake, BC Like?
Canada has an excellent publicly-funded healthcare system which covers “medically necessary” care. Generally, hospital and doctor visits are covered, while other types of care, such as dental, optical and prescriptions, are funded for certain groups of people.
In Canada, healthcare is administered at a provincial level, so anyone living in Williams Lake, BC would be covered through BC Healthcare.
You should be aware that there is currently a shortage of family doctors in much of Canada, and it can be difficult to find clinics taking on new patients. This is especially true of the smaller towns and cities.
Williams Lake has its own hospital known as Cariboo Memorial Hospital. This facility provides a wide range of inpatient and outpatient care, testing facilities and 24/7 emergency care for those living in Williams Lake, BC.
Pros And Cons Of Living In Williams Lake BC
The pros and cons of living in Williams Lake, BC will vary from person to person, but whatever you are looking for, these are key factors for you to consider.
Pros Of Living In Williams Lake BC
- Attractive location
- Outdoor activities
- Low property costs
- A dry, sunny climate
- French immersion school programs
- Job opportunities
Cons Of Living In Williams Lake BC
- High crime rates for Canada
- Distance to an international airport