The District of Hope, with its 6800 residents, is at the eastern end of the wide fertile Fraser Valley before it veers north into the rugged and narrowFraser Canyon. Hope is the gateway to the Lower Mainland and Vancouver (100 km to th e west). Also to the west on Trans Canada Highway 1 are Popkum and Bridal Veil Falls (35 km away). To the west on west on Scenic Lougheed Highway #7 are Agassiz (20 km to the west) and Harrison Hot Springs. And to the north up the rugged Fraser Canyon on the Main Trans Canada Highway are Yale (24 km to the north) & Hell’s Gate (70km to the north). To the east on the Crowsnest Highway 3 are Manning Park (70 km east), and the Okanagan town of Osoyoos (250 km to the east) and thentravellers cross the mighty Columbia River at Castlegar into Kootenay Country. To the northeast on the Coquihalla Highway #5 are several provincial parks and the city of Merritt (120km away) and Kamloops. Located at the junction of the Coquihalla and Fraser Rivers, and flanked by mountains on three sides, Hope is squeezed in between the Coast Mountains and the Cascade Mountain Range.
Laidlaw is just west of Hope on TransCanada Highway #1, and is the gateway community to Jones (Wahleach) Lake. A 9 km steep gravel BC forestry road gets visitors to this high elevation lake, created by a Hydro dam at the north end. The water is diverted to the Wahleach powerhouse via a tunnel through the Four Brothers Mountain. Road conditions vary and may require 4 wheel drive; also, watch for logging trucks.
BC Hydro maintains a recreation site at Jones Lake, with boat launching facility, fishing, picnic day-use area, and 30 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings. The location offers spectacular views of the Cheam Ridge mountains, rising over 2100 metres above sea level with year-round snowcap. There is a hiking trail that begins at the midpoint of the east shore, leading to the Lucky Four mine shaft and Foley Peak. Boaters need to be alert for sudden winds changes, rough waves, fluctuating water levels, floating and submerged debris, and cold water.
The Sto:lo first nations people called the area “Where the River Widens.” In 1848, Hope began as a Hudson’s Bay Company fur trading fort, though during the gold rush of 1858, fur trading became a sideline. That year, the first steamboat, the “Surprise” landed at Hope, and the town site was laid out. In 1868, The Canadian Pacific Railway trans-continental railway facilitated the continued mining of gold and silver. In 1914, Canadian National Railway came through the canyon into Hope, and the C.P.R. built a spur line over the Fraser River through Hope, the Coquihalla and into the southern interior of B.C (known as the Kettle Valley Railway). By 1929 logging was a major industry and Hope was incorporated as a village.
The #3 Hope-Princeton highway (now the Crownest Highway) was constructed between 1942 and 1949 (much of it by Japanese Canadians interred during World War II), giving better access to interior recreation and resources.