Hiking along the Fraser River, Lillooet, Photo Destination BC Blake Jorgenson
Lillooet is a community along the Fraser River in the Sea to Sky Country region. The area typically has a dry climate with an average of only 329.5 millimeters (13 in) or precipitation annually. A long growing season once provided the region with prolific market gardens and bountiful orchard produce. It is considered to be one of “Canada’s Hot Spots” on a daily basis in the Summer. The region has a beautiful natural landscape with many trails for hiking, and lakes for fishing and boating.
One of the prime attractions of the area is the Lillooet Museum and Visitor Centre which sits at the former location of a well-known Anglican Church, and houses artifacts and relics from the Gold Rush era, as well as a re-creation of Ma Murray’s old news office. Another is the Miyazaki Heritage House, a stately home built in the 1890s era by the Gold Commissioner Caspar Phair. In the 1940s it became the residence of Dr. Masajiro Miyazaki, a distinguished leader of the Japanese-Canadian Community, and one of two Lillooet residents named to the order of Canada (Margret ‘Ma’ Murray being the other).
Lillooet is located 252 km (151 mi) northeast of Vancouver via Highway 99 through Whistler, or 324 km (200 mi) east on the Trans Canada Highway 1 and north on Highway 12. Driving from the east Lillooet is 170 km (106 mi) west of Kamloops via Highway 97 and Highway 99.
Dreams of glorious riches brought thousands into Lillooet during the Cariboo Gold Rush of the 1850s and 1860s, transforming the area into a boomtown with 13 saloons and 25 licensed premises. Lillooet became the largest North American centre west of Chicago, second only to San Francisco. The first trail to the Cariboo gold fields, known as the Cariboo Wagon Road, came through here. Lillooet residents still consider their town “Mile 0” on the Cariboo Wagon Road, and many towns along the Cariboo Highway are referred to by their distance north from this trail.
Today, residents are very proud of their heritage and visitors can explore the unique history throughout the community.