The Native Heritage of the Hope and Fraser Canyon area is rich in culture and tradition. The Sto:lo people can trace their heritage back between 9,000 and 11,000 years. That history goes hand in hand with life on the Fraser River.
Simon Fraser passed through Hope in search of a waterway to the coast, and the Hudson Bay Company had a fur trading fort here. When gold was discovered, Hope, like many of the settlements in this region, suddenly became a bustling waypoint for traders and prospectors, bringing pioneers from all over the globe.
In 1929, Hope was incorporated as a Village. It became a Town in 1965, and finally, became the District of Hope in 1992.
Hope is located at the confluence of the Fraser and Coquihalla rivers, 154 km (96 mi) east of Vancouver. Hope is at the southern terminus of the Coquihalla Highway (Hwy 5) and the western terminus of the Crowsnest Highway (Hwy 3), where they merge with the Trans-Canada Highway 1. Hope can also be reached via Lougheed Highway (Hwy 7) which runs on the north side of the Fraser River from Vancouver.
The Hope Museum is located in the Visitor Information Centre. Exhibits explore the fur-trade and gold rush days of Hope as well as Sto:lo artifacts.
One of the world's greatest engineering feats, this series of tunnels was blasted for the now defunct Kettle Valley Railway located in the Coquihalla Provincial Park. A popular tourist attraction, visitors can walk through the tunnels, a view the stunning scenery over the Coquihalla River.
Just east of Hope on Highway 3, the remaining half of Johnson's Peak is an irresistible draw for visitors. In January 1965, the peak came tumbling into the valley bringing down 46 million cubic feet of earth, rock and snow traveling at more than 160 kmh (95 mph).
Drive the Scenic Fraser Canyon (Highway 1) with its' 7 mountain tunnels into the historic heart of British Columbia and visit the biggest ‘rush' on the Gold Rush Trail. You can see this place for yourself as you exchange mountain ranges aboard one of the only descending gondolas in North America. These aerial trams will give you a birds' eye view of this historic landmark where 200 million gallons of water per minute thunder through this 33 metre wide passage. Facilities include a cafe, gifft shop, education centre, fudge factory, observation decks, suspension bridge and more.
Minter Gardens has been in operation for over 30 years. A 32 acre world-class show garden designed to dazzle the senses changes with the seasons. Check out the over 100,000 tulips in the spring, rose garden in the summer, 1,000 trees, woodlands, brooks and waterfalls plus thousands of annuals that provide a riot of colour throughout the growing season. Restaurants, gift & plant shop are on site.
Hope's unique blend of coastal and interior climates provide an abundance of wildlife and birdwatching opportunities, including marmots, blue herons, cougars, eagles, otters and spawning salmon.
Kawkawa Lake, Lake of the Woods, Silver Lake, and numerous other nearby lakes offer tranquil paddling. The Coquihalla River and the Fraser River at various times are good entry level kayking rivers.
Hope is known as the "Chainsaw Capital of the World". Visitors can pick up a map and take a self-guided tour of the 50 beautiful wood sculptures and carvings located throughout the town. An International Chainsaw Carving Competition also takes place here annually in September.
Lake fishing for trout, fly fishing for steelhead, river fishing for salmon, or fishing for sturgeon can all be found in the area.
Hope Visitor Centre
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia