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Historic Hope train station saved, moved to new location

Building dates to 1916 and was part of the history of transferring Japanese-Canadians to internment camps during the Second World War

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The historic Hope train station has been saved and moved to a new location, where it will become a museum.

On Thursday morning, Nickel Brothers house movers loaded the 2,567-square-foot station onto a trailer and drove it a couple of blocks to a new home at 919 Water Ave. in Hope.

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In one photo from the move, the 30-metre-long station literally stretches across Old Hope Princeton Way as it is backed out of its old location. It then carefully hung a right onto Hwy. 1 and was driven to a location between two Hope standbys, the Chevron gas station and the Gardner Chevrolet dealership.

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It’s a remarkable turn of events, because in 2021 the old station looked like a goner. The B.C. government was transferring the land the station was on to the Chawathil First Nation, which wanted it moved or demolished.

The District of Hope received money to demolish it from the province.

But citizens rallied to try and save it, and after an appeal to the provincial ombudsperson’s office, a 120-day “stop work” order was issued in April 2021 by the provincial heritage branch.

The Tashme Historical Society got involved after discovering the station had a connection to the incarceration of Japanese Canadians during the Second World War.

“It was the main connecting railroad station,” said Ryan Ellan, president of the Tashme Historical Society.

“So nearly 9,000 Japanese Canadians who were forcibly removed from the west coast would make their way to the Hope CNR station, and then under RCMP guard, (were taken) off of the trains and put onto waiting trucks to make the 2½ hour journey at the time to Tashme, which is modern-day Sunshine Valley.

“Tashme was Canada’s largest Japanese Canadian internment site,” he explains. “(They were also) transferred to the Haig CPR station (across the Fraser River from Hope), where they would be transferred or distributed to other parts of the Interior.”

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The building’s move cost $120,000 to $140,000, and restoration and some additions will cost $1.8 million. It will become a museum/visitor centre with a new restaurant wing, and plans to open in 2025.

The station was opened in 1916 by the Canadian Northern Railway, which was building a second transcontinental line across Western Canada to compete with the Canadian Pacific.

The Canadian Northern ran into financial problems during the First World War, and the federal government took over the line.

It was originally located next to the CN tracks in Hope, but was moved to 111 Old Hope Princeton Way in 1985. It was used as a restaurant and an arts centre, but had sat empty for the last few years.

Ellan said the trailblazers that really saved the building were the “many, many energetic Hope locals that refused to accept that this building be torn down.

“The grassroots campaign (they launched) created a lot of attention on this building. We came in with a business plan and some ideas, sat down with the District of Hope, and the district has been great with us.”

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The move of the old Hope train station in Hope. Barry Stewart photo. Photo by Barry Stewart /sun
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The old Hope train station arrives at its new home. Barry Stewart photo. Photo by Barry Stewart /sun

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