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Hudson's Hope

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Hudson's Hope

Hudson's Hope
District municipality
District of Hudson's Hope[1]
Hudson's Hope is located in British Columbia
Hudson's Hope
Location of Hudson's Hope within British Columbia
Country Canada
Province British Columbia
Regional District Peace River
Settled 1805
Incorporated 1965
 • Mayor Gwen Johansson
 • Governing body  
 • MP Bob Zimmer
 • MLA Pat Pimm
 • Total 927.03 km2 (357.93 sq mi)
Elevation 671 m (2,201 ft)
Population (2006)
 • Total 1,012
 • Density 1.1/km2 (2.8/sq mi)
Time zone Mountain Standard Time (UTC−7)
Postal code span VOC 1VO
Website .cahudsonshope

Hudson's Hope is a district municipality in northeastern British Columbia, Canada, in the Peace River Regional District. It covers an area of 927 square kilometres (358 sq mi) with a population of 1,157 people.[2] Having been first settled in 1805, it is the third oldest community in the province, although it was not incorporated until 1965. Its main economic support is the nearby W. A. C. Bennett Dam and Peace Canyon Dam, and timber logging.

There is debate about the origin of Hudson's Hope's name. One theory derives the word "Hudson's" from the Hudson's Bay Company and "Hope" from the Scottish word "hope" meaning a "small enclosed valley".[3] Another theory has the name derived from a prospector named Hudson who came to the area searching gold.[4] The crest uses elements that symbolize the town's history, geography, and economy. For example, the water represents the Peace River, the tower represents hydro power, the trees represent forestry, the fields represent farming, and the sunshine represent the extended period of daylight in the summer. The log cabin is included in remembrance of the pioneers who settled in the area. The two mountains are depictions of the nearby Beattie peaks. The shield in the crest is shaped like the footprint of the Hadrosaur which were once common in the area. The crest and flag were designed by a town councillor, Sam Kosolowsky, in the early-1990s. The original slogan on the crest and flag was "Playground of the Peace". After some time with the slogan "Land of Dinosaurs and Dams" the town now uses the original slogan.


  • History 1
  • Geography and climate 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Infrastructure 4
  • Protective services 5
  • Economy and education 6
  • Culture and recreation 7
  • Government and politics 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Nomadic aboriginal Dene zaa tribes originally occupied the area. Alexander Mackenzie and his team of voyageurs became the first Europeans to travel through as they canoed westward along the Peace River and in 1793, Simon Fraser followed in 1805 and established a North West Company fur-trading outpost, the Rocky Mountain Portage Fort, at the foot of the canyon directly across the river from the current townsite.[5] Here was the only significant portage on the Peace River between Fort Chipewyan and Fort McLeod.[6] The Hudson's Bay Company took control of the fort after its coalition with the North West Company in 1821 and abandoned it in 1823 after a massacre in the nearby Fort St. John outpost.[7] A new trading post was opened on the southern river banks in 1866 by the Hudson's Bay Company to compete against free traders coming in from the west. (Hudson's Bay Company Archives B.39/b/18 p. 57) Though its origins are unclear, the name Hudson's Hope first appeared in 1868. Theories on its origin include an explorer named Hudson searching for the northwest passage, or a prospector named Henry Hudson searching for gold, or the use of the English and Scottish word hope meaning a small enclosed valley.[8] In 1899 the fort was moved to the townsite's present day location on the north bank to better service those portaging northwestwards.

Much of the area was explored by prospectors and surveying crews as the Peace River Block was opened to mineral staking in 1908 and homestead claims in 1912. A permanent settlement was established in 1912 when a police officer who was previously stationed in Fort St. John and a friend travelled from Victoria to stake a homestead. Others joined them as they travelled through Edmonton, Dunvegan, and Fort St. John to found the communities of Beryl Prairie and Lynx Creek.[9] Soon, as other settlers came, a post office, a hotel, and a church were built around the trading post, and in 1923 a school opened. Coal was discovered a few years earlier and used locally. Commercial coal mining, attempted in 1923, was not successful due to remoteness and high transportation costs until the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 created a high local demand.[10]

Major development came in the 1960s as the provincial government planned and constructed the Peace Canyon Dam, was planned and constructed, only several kilometers downstream from the first. The second dam went online in 1980 and the town continued to lose population to a low 1,005 people in 1990.[11] Since then the town has remained geographically isolated and economically dependent on BC Hydro as its single major employer, though it has marketed its isolation and extensive outdoor recreational opportunities as a benefit to living in the area.[12]

Geography and climate

The District of Hudson's Hope is centered around a townsite on the north side of the Peace River along Highway 29. The rural communities of Lynx Creek and Farrell Creek, and the farming community of Beryl Prairie, are located north of the main townsite.

The 927 km2 (358 sq mi) municipality covers a main townsite on a 3 km (2 mi) wide, 8 km (5 mi) long flat along the north bank of the Peace River, and the rural communities of Beryl Prairie, Lynx Creek, and Farrell Creek. The Peace River originates at the W.A.C. Bennett Dam from the Peace Reach Arm of Williston Lake and flows around the 1,427 m (4,682 ft) tall Portage Mountain[13] and through Dinosaur Lake. The water has a three-day retention time here[14] before going through the Peace Canyon Dam and flowing northeastward under the Hudson's Hope Suspension Bridge, past the townsite, and the rural communities of Lynx Creek and Farrell Creek, and eventually into the Arctic Ocean. The forested foothills of the Rocky Mountains including Mount Johnson and the 1,230 m (4,035 ft) Two Ridge Mountain dominate the area south of the Peace River.[15] The foothills continue north of the river passing into prairie land at Beryl Prairie.

Dinosaur Lake is the deeply entrenched reservoir of the Peace Canyon Dam with a surface area of 805 ha (3 sq mi) and a volume of 0.216 km3 (0.05 mi3).[16] The oligotrophic lake is fed by Williston Lake and 5 tributaries (Gething, Johnson, Moosebar, Starfish and Mogul Creeks). Most of the municipality is forested by aspen and poplar trees. Animals common to the area include moose, bear, deer, sheep, goats and elk. A hatchery annually releases sportsfish, mainly rainbow trout, into the lakes.[16] Dinosaur tracks and fossils have been discovered in the municipality, including deposits at the bottom of Dinosaur Lake. The ichthyosaur Hudsonelpidia was named after the community when it was first discovered there in the 1960s.

Traditionally, winter had brought very cold winters with lots of snow. However, since the filling of Williston Lake, the largest man-made lake in North America, the winters have been milder with an average January temperature of −15 °C (5 °F) and annual snowfall of 194 cm (76 in).[4] The municipality experiences an average growing season of 135 days, the longest in northern BC, with an average July temperature of 15 °C (59 °F).[4] With the dams, both the lakes and the river are isothermal at about 2 to 10 °C (36 to 50 °F).[14]


Population trend, 1976–2006, BC Stats.[11][17][18]

While the community is one of the province's oldest, the first census that included it as a defined subdivision was the 1966 census which recorded 3,068 people.[19] An earlier report put the population at less than 100 in 1954.[20] That 1960s growth was the result of the planning and construction the hydroelectric dam. After the work camps closed and people left the 1971 census counted only 1,741 people remaining. A small rise in the population came in the mid-1970s as the second hydroelectric dam was constructed. Since then, with no new major industries or projects, the population has remained between 1,000 and 1,300 people. In 2006, the Statistics Canada census estimated 1,012 people living in the municipality while BC Stats estimated 1,159 people.[18][21]

Canada 2001 Census[22]
Hudson's Hope British Columbia
Median age 39.0 years 38.4 years
Under 15 years old 22% 18%
Over 65 years old 12% 14%
Visible minority 0% 21%
Protestant 28% 31%
No religious affiliation 52% 37%

According to the 2001 Canadian census, there were 1,039 people living in 415 households, a 7% loss since the 1996 census. A little over the provincial average 56% are married while 25% are single. With 11% of Hudson's Hope residents being foreign-born, and 89% with an English-only mother tongue, the town has few visible minorities. While not counted as visible minorities during the census, 130 people considered themselves to have an Aboriginal identity, about three times the provincial 4% average. Housing is mostly owned with only 7% of the stock being rented, much lower than the 33% provincial average.[22]

Crime rate in Hudson's Hope, 1984–2005.[23]

In 2005, the three officer Hudson's Hope Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment reported 102 Criminal Code offences, down from 124 in 2004. This translated into a crime rate of 62 Criminal Code offences per 1,000 people, lower than the provincial rate of 125. In 2004, the only Criminal Code categories which Hudson's Hope had a higher than average reported crime rate was in non-sexual assaults at 14.3 reported cases per 1,000 people (9.9 provincially), sexual assaults at 1.2 (0.88 provincially), impaired driving at 6.2 (3.2 provincially) and cannabis-related crimes at 5.5 (4.2 provincially). All other Criminal Code categories were lower for Hudson's Hope compared to the provincial averages, especially for motor vehicle thefts at only 2.5 per 1,000 people (provincial average was 8.9), thefts from motor vehicles at 1.9 (20.2 provincially), and residential break-and-enters at 1.9 (6.0 provincially).[23]


The road network of Hudson's Hope.

The town is located along Highway 29, between Chetwynd and Fort St. John. The highway crosses the Peace River via the Hudson's Hope Suspension Bridge and runs westward along the north bank of the Peace River through the townsite, Lynx Creek, and Farrel Creek. From the townsite, the W.A.C. Bennett Dam is 22 km (14 mi) west. In total, the district maintains 33 km (21 mi) of paved and 27 km (17 mi) of unpaved roads[24] with most of the businesses located along the Beattie Road portion of Highway 29. Community facilities and some residential areas are located between Beattie Road and the Peace River and more residential areas are located on hills north of the downtown area.

The Hudson's Hope Airport, 6 km (4 mi) west of town, is a small airport with a 1,585 m (5,200 ft) long paved runway that handles private and chartered flights. The closest commercial airport, with regularly scheduled flights, is approximately 86 km (53 mi) to the east, near Fort St. John. The closest regional bus stop and rail station is about 60 km (37 mi) to the south, in Chetwynd.

The town draws its drinking water from the Peace River, and chlorinates and distributes it through 15 km (9 mi) of watermains.[24] Sewage is collected through 8 km (5 mi) of sanitary sewers and processed in a two-cell lagoon system.[24] The municipality funds weekly garbage collection from households in the townsite and transfer stations in the rural communities. Electrical power is supplied by the provincially owned BC Hydro and natural gas by the privately owned Pacific Natural Gas.

Protective services

The District is protected by the Hudson's Hope Fire & Rescue Department. This department maintains 2 stations that each hold 2 pieces of fire apparatus. These apparatus include 2 engines, 1 pumper/tanker and 1 CAFS Rescue Engine. The Department is led by a full-time Chief and has 25 volunteer members (2 Deputy Chiefs, 3 Captains, 1 Safety Officer, 19 Firefighters, 2 Junior Firefighters). The department responds to fires within its Fire Protection District and to Motor Vehicle Accidents within the district and the surrounding area. The department also provides public education and participates in demonstrations at different events throughout the year. A Junior Firefighter program is run in conjunction with the Hudson's Hope School to provide Grade 11 and 12 students with the opportunity to train and work with the Fire & Rescue Department for a year. The department also holds an annual fireworks display on Halloween to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

There is BC Ambulance Service station (#862) in Hudson's Hope with 1 Ambulance. This station is staffed with Primary Care Paramedics and Emergency Medical Responders.

The RCMP detachment has 3 sworn members (1 Corporal and 2 Constables) and 1 civilian clerk.

Economy and education

Rate Town Province
Unemployment rate 18.0% 8.5%
Participation rate 59.9% 65.2%
Poverty rate 7.5% 17.8%
Average male income $59,057 $50,191
Average female income $26,413 $35,895

Hudson’s Hope has a predominantly resource-based economy. The community was founded as a trading post along a portage trail but with sternwheelers and steamships navigating the Peace River in the 1800s resource extraction, such as logging and farming, began. The town’s economy turned towards construction starting in the 1960s with the Bennett Dam followed by the Peace Canyon Dam. Additional staff have been employed with the dams’ museums and tour-related activities. According to the 2001 Canadian census, 20% of the 500 person labour force were employed in utilities, 14% in construction, and 11% in logging. The community has a low poverty rate despite the low participation rate and high unemployment. With males who work full-time, full year making twice as much as females, there is a large male-female income gap.[2][22]

The only school in the municipality is the Hudson's Hope Elementary-Secondary School, administered by School District 60 Peace River North. The school, constructed in 1993, teaches students from kindergarten to grade 12 and has an enrollment of about 220 students.[25] Northern Lights College offers courses at the Hudson's Hope Learning Centre that focus on the oil and gas industry, as well as adult basic, continuing, and vocational education. The 2001 Census estimated that only 6% of people in Hudson's Hope between 20 and 64 years old graduated from a university, much less than the 24% provincial average and 30% did not graduate from secondary school, 10% higher than the provincial average.[22]

Culture and recreation

Chainsaw carvings in Memorial Park

The Hudson's Hope Museum is located in the old Hudson’s Bay Store, built in 1942. It has exhibits on the area’s prehistory (i.e. dinosaur fossils, bones and tracks), frontier times (i.e. aboriginal, North West Company and the Hudson’s Bay Company artifacts), and boom times (i.e. construction of Bennett and Peace Canyon dams). Both dams have museums and offer tours. The museum at the Bennett Dam focuses on the massive engineering and construction programs to build the reservoir and world's largest earth-filled dam. The museum at the Peace Canyon Dam focuses on the natural history of the area, especially the dinosaur finds that were discovered during construction of the dam.

The town’s thousand people maintain a library, skating arena, curling rink, and an outdoor heated swimming pool. The Hudson's Hope Community Hall is used for theatrical performances, dances, and public meetings. Annual events include a rodeo in June, a fall fair in August, and a torchlight parade in December. The district operates three public parks: Beattie Park with a playground and visitor information centre, Centennial Park with its chainsaw carvings and totem polls, and Memorial Park with tennis courts, swimming pool and toboggan hill. Outside the townsite, the district helps maintains the Beryl Prairie Community Park, and Jamieson Woods Nature Preserve.[26][27]

Williston Lake, Dinosaur Lake, Cameron Lake and the Peace River are used for canoeing, kayaking, sailing and fishing. In addition to private campgrounds, the district operates four campgrounds. King Gething Park and Alwin Holland Park, both named after 1920s-30s pioneers, are fully serviced campgrounds and RV parks on the north bank of the Peace River, west of the townsite. Dinosaur Lake Campground near the Peace Canyon dam and Cameron Lake Campground near North Cameron Lake were both taken over by the district in 1989 from the province.[28]

Government and politics

Dual purpose building: town hall and fire station

The District of Hudson’s Hope has a council-manager form of municipal government. A mayor and six councillors are elected at-large every three years, along with one trustee to the school district. In a December 2, 2012 by-election, Gwen Johansson was elected as the mayor of Hudson's Hope, replacing Karen Anderson. In the November 2011 Karen Anderson was acclaimed mayor. She had been elected mayor in 2008, defeating former mayor Lenore Harwood.[29] The mayor is appointed by the council as the District's representative on the Board of Directors of the Peace River Regional District.[30]

Hudson's Hope is situated in the Peace River North provincial electoral district and is represented by Pat Pimm in the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. Prior to Pimm, the town was represented by Richard Neufeld who was first elected as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the 1991 provincial election with the BC Social Credit Party taking 31% of votes cast at the Hudson’s Hope polls[31] and re-elected with the Reform Party of BC in 1996 with 44% support,[32] with the BC Liberal Party in 2001 and 2005 with 57%[33] and 41%[34] from Hudson’s Hope polls, respectively.

Federally, Hudson's Hope is located in the House of Commons by Conservative Party Member of Parliament Bob Zimmer. Prior to Zimmer, the town was represented by Jay Hill who was first elected in 1993, then re-elected in 1997, 2000, 2004, and 2006 with 79%,[35] 75%,[35] 64%,[36] and 66%.[37] support from Hudson’s Hope polls, respectively. Before Hill the riding was represented by Frank Oberle of the Progressive Conservative Party from 1972 to 1993. Oberle served as Minister of State for Science and Technology from 1985 to 1989 and Minister of Forestry from 1990 to 1993.[38]

Canadian federal election 2011: Hudson's Hope polls in

Prince George—Peace River[39]

Party Candidate Votes city % riding %
Conservative  Bob Zimmer 309 69% 62%
New Democratic  Lois Boone 79 18% 26%
Green  Hilary Crowley 31 6.9% 6.0%
Liberal  Ben Levine 16 3.5% 5.2%
Pirate  Jeremy Cote 13 2.9% 1.1%

Turnout 451 59% 54%
B.C. election 2009: Hudson's Hope polls in

Peace River North[40]

Party Candidate Votes city % riding %
      Independent  Arthur Hadland 207 48% 31%
Liberal Pat Pimm 107 25% 43%
New Democratic  Jackie Allen 78 18% 14%
Green Liz Logan 37 8.6% 11%
Refederation Suzanne Arntson 2 0.5% 0.6%
Turnout 431 60% 40%

See also


  1. ^ "British Columbia Regional Districts, Municipalities, Corporate Name, Date of Incorporation and Postal Address" ( 
  2. ^ a b BC Stats (February 8, 2006). "Hudson's Hope District Municipality" (pdf), Community Facts, Retrieved 12 March 2006.
  3. ^ District of Hudson's Hope. Hudson's Hope History Fascinating Fact's. Retrieved 12 March 2006.
  4. ^ a b c Peace Liard Employment Development Association. (October 1985). Peace Liard Economic Profile. page 53.
  5. ^ Bowes, Gordon (1963). "Peace River Chronicles" (3rd ed.). Vancouver: Prescott Publishing (published May 1974). p. 28. 
  6. ^ Eric F. Morse, "Fur Trade Routes of Canada/ Then and Now', 1971, page 99
  7. ^ Kyllo, Edith (1973). The Peacemakers of North Peace (Fort St. John: Davies, Ventress and Kyllo, 1973), H5
  8. ^ Kyllo, H4.
  9. ^ Kyllo, H13.
  10. ^ Kyllo, H52-H54.
  11. ^ a b BC Stats. British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1986–1996. British Columbia. Retrieved on May 30, 2007.
  12. ^ District of Hudson's Hope. Economic Development. Retrieved on May 30, 2007.
  13. ^ Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia. Portage Mountain. Retrieved on May 30, 2007.
  14. ^ a b Blackman, B.G. and D.M. Cowie (January 2005), Introduction 2004 Assessment of Habitat Improvements in Dinosaur Reservoir,] BC Hydro. pg 1.
  15. ^ Canadian Mountain Encyclopedia. Two Ridge Mountain. Retrieved on May 30, 2007.
  16. ^ a b Pattenden, R. and G. Ash (April 1993) Fisheries Enhancement Options for Dinosaur Lake, A Review, p4.
  17. ^ BC Stats. British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1976–1986 British Columbia. Retrieved on 30 May 2007.
  18. ^ a b BC Stats. British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1996–2006 British Columbia. Retrieved on 30 May 2007.
  19. ^ BC Stats. British Columbia Municipal Census Populations, 1921-2006 British Columbia. Retrieved on 30 May 2007.
  20. ^ District of Hudson's Hope. Hudson's Hope History. Retrieved May 26, 2007.
  21. ^ Statistics Canada. Community Highlights for Hudson's Hope, 2006 Community Profiles. Canada. Retrieved on May 26, 2007.
  22. ^ a b c d e Statistics Canada, Community Highlights for Hudson's Hope, 2001 Community Profiles, February 15, 2007.
  23. ^ a b Police Services Division, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. Police and Crime: Summary Statistics: 1995 - 2005, 2006, British Columbia, pages 101, 106-110, 151, 154. OCLC 34339976 ISSN 1198-9971. Retrieved on 9 December 2006.
  24. ^ a b c Reed Construction (2005). Municipal redbook: an authoritative reference guide to local government in British Columbia, Burnaby, BC, 23. ISSN 0068-161X
  25. ^ School District 60 (Peace River North (2005). Hudson's Hope Elem/Jr Secondary. Retrieved on 30 May 2007.
  26. ^ North Peace Profile, 42
  27. ^ HH, Our community
  28. ^ North Peace Profile, 43-44
  29. ^ Reaburn, Adam. "Municipal Election Results", Fort St. John Now!, 2005-11-19, Retrieved on 29 May 2007.
  30. ^ Peace River Regional District. Board of Directors, PRRD Board of Directors. Retrieved 26 May 2007.
  31. ^ Elections BC (1991). Peace River North Electoral District Poll-by-Poll Results, Statement of Votes, 1991. Retrieved on February 22, 2006.
  32. ^ Elections BC (1996). Peace River North Electoral District, Statement of Votes, 1996. Retrieved on February 22, 2006.
  33. ^ Elections BC (2001). Peace River North Electoral District, Statement of Votes, 2001". Retrieved on February 22, 2006.
  34. ^ Elections BC (2005). Peace River South Electoral District (pdf), Statement of Votes, 2005. Retrieved on November 18, 2005.
  35. ^ a b Elections Canada. 36th and 37th General Elections: Official Voting Results: Poll-by-poll Results, Elections Canada On-Line|General Information. Retrieved on January 22, 2006. (Requires user to download database.)
  36. ^ Elections Canada (2004). Thirty-eighth General Election 2004 — Poll-by-poll results, Official Voting Results/Résultats officiels du scrutin. Retrieved on November 18, 2005. (Requires navigation to Prince George—Peace River)
  37. ^ Elections Canada (2006). Prince George—Peace River Thirty-ninth General Election 2006 — Poll-by-poll results, Official Voting Results. British Columbia. Retrieved on 12 February 2007.
  38. ^ Library of Parliament (2006). Oberle, The Hon. Frank, P.C., Federal Political Experience. Retrieved on January 22, 2006.
  39. ^ "Forty-First General Election". Official Voting Results. Elections Canada. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-20.  Requires navigation to Prince George—Peace River
  40. ^ "Peace River South Electoral District" (PDF). Statement of Votes, 2009. Elections BC. 2009. Retrieved 2011-11-20. 

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