The Carrier Indians pioneered the land in this area long before the first white man arrived. An ancient Indian village known as Chinlac lies just a few miles east of Vanderhoof on the junction of the Nechako and Stuart Rivers. Simon Fraser's diary relates that he was the first white man to trade with the people of the Chinlac.
After the fur traders, came the packers, miners, telegraph operators, surveyors, and finally, settlers looking for the free land of the frontier.
In 1906, the Village of Vanderhoof was only a survey line in the wilderness to mark the location of the marked railway. When the last spike was driven on April 7th, 1914, it started a race for the land. The Grand Trunk Pacific Development Company offered cheap land and had one of its employees, Herbert Vanderhoof lay out the townsite. The town grew, and in 1926, the Village of Vanderhoof was born.
With the arrival of World War II, many young men left, and Vanderhoof came to a standstill. But with the rise in lumber prices, and the arrival of new people in the late 1940s, it started to grow again. The next boost to the population and the economy came with the construction of Kenney Dam in the early 1950s. At the peak of its construction, it employed 1,500 men. Then in the 1960s a large influx of American immigrants arrived and since that time Vanderhoof has enjoyed steady growth.
Vanderhoof Municipality has an area of 5,763 hectares and is located at the junction of Highways 16 and 27. 54 km (33 mi) to the north on Highway 27 is the District of Fort St James, and 51 km (32 mi) to the west is the Village of Fraser Lake. Together, the three communities form what is known locally as the "tri-cities of the Stuart Nechako".
The Canadian National Railway runs through the centre of the District, parallel to Highway 16. Vanderhoof is the second largest and most easternly member of the Buckley-Nechako Regional District, which encompasses a total land area of approximately 78,000 square kilometres, and has a population of 41,000.
Visit the Vanderhoof Community Museum, open from May to September. The museum has eleven heritage buildings including the OK Hotel and (still opertaing) Cafe which once offered all meals for 50 cents! See the Rich Hobson Room, honouring local author of cowboy classics including "Nothing Too Good for a Cowboy".
In the spring and fall watch ducks, geese, swans and other birds at the Vanderhoof Migratory Bird Sanctuary and walk the 5 km (3 mi) Riverside Park Trail.
Hike, fish and hunt at numerous lakes in Big River Country south of Vanderhoof and check out Kenney Dam and Cheslatta Falls for an interesting day trip from Vanderhoof.
Vanderhoof District Chamber of Commerce
2353 Burrard Ave., Box 126
Vanderhoof, BC V0J 3A0
Toll Free: 1-800-752-4094
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia