Hope (British Columbia)

View of Hope from Water Avenue (Trans Canada Hwy)

Hope is a small town at the far east of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia. Hope is well-known as the gateway to British Columbia's interior, and serves as the junction of 5 major highways. Outside of the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and Whistler areas, going anywhere in British Columbia by road requires travelling through Hope. Locals like to say that the rest of British Columbia is "Beyond Hope".

While is might be easy to dismiss this small town as just a place to gas up and grab a Timmy's coffee, Hope is justifiably popular as a four season travel destination in its own right. Nestled among mighty peaks, at the confluence of three rivers, Hope is an excellent base for exploring some of the best scenery Canada has to offer. The Hope area offers outdoor recreational opportunities from hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing, fishing, and hunting, to all types sports in and on the water.


The Sto:lo First Nations were the early residents of the area. Explorer Simon Fraser arrived in what is now Hope in 1808, with the Hudson's Bay Company creating the Fort Hope trading post in 1848. The Fraser River and Fraser Street is named for the explorer, while Hudson's Bay Street and Fort Street in Hope commemorate the town's origins.

Hope was transformed in 1858 and onward by the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush as thousands of miners flooded into the region. Spurred by the gold rush and the desire of the British to solidify their claim to control in the face of thousands of American prospectors pouring in, the Colony of British Columbia was created on 2 August 1858, while the Colony of British Columbia joined Canada in 1871 after being promised a railway connection to eastern Canada, which came through Hope.

Founded as a trading post because of its strategic location at the confluence of multiple river valleys, built up because it lay at a choke point into the gold fields, and today a major junction of highways, Hope exists because of its strategic location as the only way to get to so many places.

Hope incorporated as a village (District) on 6 April 1929, became a town on 1 January 1965, and was reincorporated as a district municipality named the District of Hope on 7 December 1992.

Get in

By car

Important: Highway 5 (the coq) between Hope and Kamloops is not officially part of the Trans-Canada Highway, but the high mountain route built in 1986 saves at least an hour of travel time over the older often two lane Highway 1 route to Kamloops and is therefore preferred by travellers, except during extreme winter weather, when the lower elevation canyon route may be a better choice.

By plane

The nearest major international airport is Vancouver International Airport (IATA: YVR), 155km west in Vancouver. Closer is the Abbotsford International Airport (YXX), 70km west in Abbotsford. Abbotsford Airport offers fewer connecting flights but it is much closer and easier to navigate. The airport is serviced by WestJet and several car rental agencies.

Hope is home to what may be the longest grass airstrip in Canada at 3,960 feet in length. During summer months, the Hope Aerodrome (IATA: YHE) has extensive glider activity and its ICAO code is CYHE.

By bus

Hope is serviced by Greyhound but the bus station closed in favour of a stop at the bowling alley. Not all buses through Hope stop now, so be clear when booking if you want to get off in Hope.

By train

Few people travel by rail anymore in Western Canada but Via Rail eastbound has a whistle stop called Haig, just across the Fraser River from Hope.

Get around

The town of Hope is small, and can be crossed on foot or by bicycle. There are two distinct commercial areas.

Downtown Hope centred on Wallace Street is laid out on a grid that includes numbered streets crossing Wallace St. Downtown fronts on the Trans-Canada Highway (as Water Street) separating it from the Fraser River. Downtown includes city hall beside a lovely central park, a grocery store, lots of places to eat, the tourism office and around the northern fringes several motels. There is an Envision Credit Union with an ATM on the north side of downtown.

The Old Hope-Princeton Way, found south of downtown and across the railway tracks, hosts most of the gas stations and fast food joints. There is also a Coopers Foods grocery store, RCMP station, and many motels strung along the old highway route.


One of many chainsaw carvings in Hope.


Salmon spawning in Kawkawa Creek




There are no real drinking establishments of note in Hope.


Hope abounds with motels; they number over twenty, most centred around the downtown core.

There are also a number of private campgrounds, a city operated campground and Provincial Parks campgrounds.

Go next

View from the Hell's Gate Airtram

Routes through Hope

Vancouver Chilliwack  W  E  Kamloops Edmonton
Vancouver Chilliwack  W  E  Fraser Canyon Kamloops
END  W  E  Manning Provincial Park Osoyoos / Penticton (via )
END  S  N  Merritt Kamloops
Vancouver Kent  W  E  END

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, December 11, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.