Making the transition from transient community to tourism destination
Located at the convergence of the Fraser and Coquihalla rivers, tucked between the mountains of the Cascade and Coastal mountain ranges is the beautiful District of Hope, made up of Hope Townsite (the previous Town of Hope, and the surrounding areas of Silver Creek, Kawkawa Lake, Flood, and Lake of the Woods).
Land Area, km2
Accommodation and Food Services, Transportation and Warehousing
Hope is currently an area in transition. Known historically as simply a place to stop along the way to and from Vancouver, the town began to rebrand itself in 2012, an initiative led by the District of Hope, AdvantageHOPE, and the Chamber of Commerce. The three organizations believed that in order for the community to make strides and move forward, they needed to uncover and clarify for others what made Hope a unique and desirable place to live, starting with the input of over 400 of the town’s residents. This new rebrand has really helped the town focus its energies on its strengths and what needs to be done in order to prosper. At the moment, there is a sizable transient population in Hope.
There are limited long term employment, education and training opportunities in the area, as well as a shortage of affordable housing. The area’s most prepared youth leave for post-secondary education, and most don’t return. As a highway hub, the main economic drivers of the town are services for people passing through. Recently, a Flying J opened up, which is now one of the town’s major employers. Other major employers are Nestle Waters, the school district and health services.
Hope has been supported by tourism simply by nature of its location, but the town is now working on more deliberate plans to build tourism. The Hope Mountain Centre for Outdoor Learning, whose mission is to provide outdoor education and ecological awareness opportunities in the watersheds of southwest British Columbia, attracts adults and family audiences across the region. With many outdoor activities to take part in and surrounded by local and provincial parks, Hope has the opportunity to make itself not only a hub for travellers, but a destination.
Over the past few years, the community has seen an increase in professionals coming back or moving into town who want a small town outdoor recreational lifestyle. The downtown core has also recently been attracting some new businesses. With the recent rebrand, there seems to be more cohesiveness in the sense of what Hope could be, so confidence has been built in the town to begin to grow.