Vanderhoof Photo SimonSees.com
Vanderhoof is a district municipality near the geographical centre of British Columbia. The area is surrounded by a beautiful natural landscape, with numerous natural habitats, and the many bird species can be viewed at the Migratory Bird Sanctuary. Outdoor activities in the area include hiking, fishing, and even hunting. Additionally, the regions rich culture and history can be experience in the Vanderhoof Heritage Museum.
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.
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. This district encompasses a total land area of approximately 78,000 square kilometres.
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 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. Herbert Vanderhoof, one of the companies employees, laid 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.