Discovering Hope, British Columbia: A Blend of History and Natural Beauty

Nestled at the confluence of the Fraser and Coquihalla rivers, Hope, British Columbia, is a district municipality that serves as the eastern gateway to the Fraser Valley and the Lower Mainland region. This charming town, located 154 kilometres east of Vancouver, is a member of the Fraser Valley Regional District and includes surrounding communities such as Kawkawa Lake, Silver Creek, Flood, and Lake of the Woods.

The Rich History of Hope, British Columbia

The Stó:lō people, the original inhabitants of the Fraser Valley, have called this region home for 8,000 to 10,000 years. The area underwent significant transformation with the arrival of explorer Simon Fraser in 1808 and the subsequent establishment of the Fort Hope trading post by the Hudson's Bay Company in 1848. The Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858 further shaped the region, and Hope became part of the newly created British colony of British Columbia on August 2, 1858.

The Naming of Hope, British Columbia

The name "Hope" was established by Henry Newsham Peers, who founded Fort Hope in 1848-49. He discovered a route through the mountains that did not dip below the 49th parallel, which had become the American border, thus fulfilling his "hope" for a workable route.

Hope, British Columbia during World War II

During World War II, an internment camp for Japanese Canadians was set up near Hope at Tashme, now known as Sunshine Valley, just beyond the 100-mile exclusion zone from the coast.

Recent History of Hope, British Columbia

In recent years, Hope has continued to evolve. In 2011, the metal Kawkawa Bridge, featured in the 1982 Rambo film, First Blood, was demolished. In 2020, a wood carved statue of Sylvester Stallone's character John Rambo was erected in Hope, paying homage to the town's cinematic history.

The Geography of Hope, British Columbia

Hope is at the easternmost point of British Columbia's lower mainland area and is usually considered part of the Fraser Canyon area or "eastern Fraser Valley". The town is surrounded by significant peaks to the north, east, and south, with flat land visible only to the west, dominated by the broad lower reaches of the Fraser River.

The Climate of Hope, British Columbia

Hope has an oceanic climate with warm summers and moderately cold winters. The town experiences high amounts of rain and cloud cover, particularly throughout the autumn and winter, due to its location at the eastern end of the Fraser Valley in the windward Cascade foothills.

Demographics of Hope, British Columbia

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Hope had a population of 6,686 living in 2,939 of its 3,243 total private dwellings, a change of 8.2% from its 2016 population of 6,181.

Chainsaw Wood Carving in Hope, British Columbia

Hope is renowned for its chainsaw wood carving competitions and exhibitions. Chainsaw wood carvings are displayed throughout the downtown core of Hope, with Memorial Park hosting a significant collection.

Hope Arts Gallery in Hope, British Columbia

The Hope Arts Gallery exhibits and sells a variety of art by local artists. The gallery, run by volunteers from the Hope Arts Guild, presents ART WALK, a self-guided tour to art and chainsaw wood carvings in Hope.

Hope Brigade Days in Hope, British Columbia

One of Hope's largest events of the year is Hope Brigade Days, which occurs the weekend after Labour Day every September. Events include a parade, fireworks display, midway, chainsaw carving competition, demolition derby, kids' carnival, and 4x4 racing.

Attractions in Hope, British Columbia

Hope offers a variety of attractions, including the Hope Museum, which showcases the history, culture, and heritage of Hope. The Hope Recreation Complex includes a library, pool, arena, and fitness centre. The Hope Slide, one of the largest landslides ever recorded in Canada, is a significant historical site. The Othello Tunnels, part of the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, offer stunning views of the Coquihalla River.

Hope, British Columbia in Popular Culture

Hope has been a popular location for film shoots, including First Blood (1982), the first Rambo film, and Shoot to Kill (1988). The town has also been featured in reality shows and video games, further cementing its place in popular culture.