Preserving our history

The Hope Station Project

During the first half of the 20th century, railways were the life blood of the growth and development of British Columbia. Although railways fell into decline as major
highways were built, the remnants of the railways era remain important historical artifacts that reflect the rich history of the growth of BC. The Hope Canadian National
Railway Station (Hope Station) is an extremely significant, rare, and valuable heritage building. Completed in 1916, the Hope CNR Station has played an important role in
the history and evolution of the community through the heyday of train transport and travel. It is now about to undergo a rehabilitation not only to preserve history but
to meet the increased need for community and arts space in the Hope region.

The Station is valued as an emblem of the central role the railways played in the development of the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. Located at the convergence of the
Coquihalla and Fraser Rivers and surrounded by mountains on three sides, Hope is a critical junction for travel and trade and has long been considered the gateway to
the interior of the province. The Canadian Pacific Railway established a station at Hope in 1886, followed by the Kettle Valley Railway ca. 1912. Hope Station served briefly
as a union station, providing a shared facility for the Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern Railway. Following WWI, an increase in economic activity in forestry and mining led
to increased development and growth in Hope’s local economy and population.
The Station remains valuable for its linkages to the histories of the Indigenous peoples who lived and utilized the land for millennia prior to the arrival of the railways,
who were dispossessed and displaced from their homes to allow for the construction of the railway. When construction on the railway began, Chinese, Mexican, African
Canadian, and Indigenous peoples composed much of the labour force. The Station is a tangible reminder of the importance and impact of the railways on Hope, its land, and its people.


 1946. Japanese Canadians at Hope CNR Station [UBC Archives 39.1/49]

Second World War and the internment of Japanese Canadians

Of significant importance, Hope Station is additionally valued as a site of memory
related to the internment of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War. In
1942, Japanese Canadians were labelled ‘Enemy Aliens’ by the Canadian
government, resulting in the confiscation of their homes, property, and assets and
the forced removal of over 22,000 people who were transported by rail to
internment camps in BC’s interior. Transferred to trucks, 2,644 Japanese
Canadians were taken from Hope Station to the Tashme internment camp, 19km
from Hope. In 1946 following the end of the Second World War, railways and Hope
Station again served a prominent role as the Japanese Canadians were
transported to points east of the Rockies or to Vancouver to board ships bound for
Following the Second World War, rail traffic declined as the car, truck and bus
traffic grew, enabled by a growing network of highways. Hope Station remained
the last rail station in Hope and served in this capacity until its disposal by CN in

More recently, Hope Station is also significant for its community use. Following its
1984 closure, the Hope community purchased and relocated the Station, and used
as an arts and culture centre and later, as a local hub for musicians.
From its construction in 1916, through the heyday of rail transport and two world
wars, including the internment of Japanese Canadians, to the need for arts and
cultural space, Hope Station has remained a symbolic place in the community.

1977(ca.) Bohi, C. Canadian National's Western Depots. Railfare, 1977, pg.117 from The Canadian National Railway Station Statement of Significance, Donald Luxton and Associates Inc, June 2021, pg. 11.

Reference: The Canadian National Railway Station Statement of Significance, Donald Luxton

Description of Historic Place

The Hope Canadian National Railway (CNR) Station is a linear one and one-half storey former train station, built 1915-16 and relocated in
1985. It is characterized by its symmetrical massing, side-gabled roofline, and ground floor encircling hipped eaves. The central second
floor has a distinctive side-gabledroofline with two wall dormers facing both the front and rear.


Heritage Value

The Hope Station is significant as the last surviving example in Canada of a specific typology of a Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) Second Class station designed by
architect John Schofield. (CNoR was Canada’s third transcontinental railway prior to its merger with the CNR in 1923).Plans for its stations were standardized into five
classes wherein each conveyed their function and importance in the communities in which they were built. Hope Station was a ‘special’ variation of the Second Class
station and contained ticket and telegraph offices, waiting and baggage rooms, and living quarters for the Station Agent.


Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Hope Station include:
    • Form, scale, and massing, indicative of railway functions, including extended linear form designed for passenger and freight service, with residential area on the upper floor that accommodated the Station Agent;
    • symmetrical one and one-half storey massing, with raised central portion and lower flanking side wings;
    • side-gabled roof form, with central second floor gabled roof with two wall dormers facing both the front and rear; and wide projecting hipped eaves encircling the entire building;
    • front and rear orientation, with former street side facing west, and former track side with projecting central rectangular ticket office bay;
    • wood frame construction;
    • original exterior features such as the unique drop siding on the ground floor, double-profiled with flat and ogee sections; cedar shingle cladding in the gables and on the upper floor;
    • open soffits;
    • dimensional lumber corner boards, window and door trim, with window apron trim;
    • surviving upright sections of the prominent eave brackets all around the building; cross-braced wooden freight and baggage doors at both ends of the primary facades;
    • ex-situ eaves brackets stored within the building; and evidence of original red wall colour;
    • double-hung wooden-sash windows, with multi-paned upper sash (9-over-1 and 3-over-1 configuration);
    • evidence of decorative liveries in the paint finishes;
    • surviving doors including one five-panelled door with transom; and
    • surviving interior original features.

The Next Phase: Relocation, Rehabilitation and Renewal

 The Tashme Historical Society  in partnership with the District of Hope are undertaking the rehabilitation of the Hope Station as an artifact and symbol of BC’s rich
railway, local and provincial history. Once restored, it will serve as a community center which will include a tourism information center, community space, a museum and
a restaurant.