In the early 1800s this area was called “The Falls,” for the turbulent patch of water upriver on the Fraser River. In 1847 Ovid Allard established a Hudson’s Bay Company post, and caled it Fort Yale after James Murray Yale, who was chief trader at Fort Langley from 1833-1859. It was unique in that the Fort Yale settlement had no walls or towers typical of HBC forts.
The discovery of gold at the nearby Hill’s Bar caused the population of Yale to explode to 30,000 people in 1858, making it the biggest town north of San Francisco and west of Chicago. Needless to say, after the gold rush the town shrunk, as people either returned to their homelands or settled in nearby farmlands.
In 1870, following a meeting held in Yale, the Yale Convention proclaimed British Columbia as Province in the new Confederation of Canada. In the 1880s Yale became a regional construction centre for the Fraser Canyon and Upper Fraser Valley, causing the town to boom again. After the Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in 1885, the town’s prominence as major trans-shipment point to the BC Interior waned.
|Fastest Guns In The West, Fast Draw Competition||mid-August||Competitionand entertainment at the Yale Museum (604) 86-2324|
|Fraser River Barrel Race||mid-September||Coordianted by Heritage Historical Tours in Yale. (604) 863-2324|
Seven Canyon Tunnels
The TransCanada highway from Hope to Boston Bar passes through seven highway tunnels blasted through the canyon rock. The first is the Yale Tunnel, 286 metres long, just 1.5 km east of Yale followed by the 146 metre long Saddle Rock Tunnel (named for the saddle shaped rock in the Fraser River), with the 292 metre Sailor Bar tunnel next. After passing through Spuzzum and Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park, you pass through the 290 metre the Alexandra Tunnel, and just west of Hells Gate Airtram are the Hell’s Gate and Ferrabee Tunnels, each approximately 100 metres long. The last of the seven tunnels is the 610 metre China Bar Tunnel, named after the gold-bearing sand bar in the Fraser River that was re-worked by the Chinese (who became very rich), after it was abandoned by white prospectors.
TransCanada Highway #1, 10 minutes south of Yale, across the from the Spirit Caves Trail
Established 1862, the Pioneer Cemetery, the resting area for some of the province’s souls of yesterday. Pioneer Cemetery is nestled amongst lush green meadows overlooking the Fraser River, with headstones scattered throughout the cemetery. Some of the oldest headstones that can be seen today date back to 1862. Throughout August guided lantern tours are conducted in the cemetery on Saturday nights by Yale Museum staff