The Secwepemc (Shuswap) First Nation and Lheidli T'enneh have hunted, fished, and trapped in McBride and the Robson Valley area for centuries.
European exploration and settlement occurred fairly recently in the valley, resulting in rapid changes to the previously undeveloped valley. Today, McBride is marked by forestry and agriculture.
Sir Sanford Fleming worked with engineers to identify a railway route through the Yellowhead Pass in 1872. However, it was not until 1912 that McBride bloomed as a community with the development of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway through the Robson Valley. The town was named in 1913 for then BC Premier Richard McBride.
Until the railway was built, sternwheelers on the Fraser River were the main mode of travel. Many settlements sprang to life during railroad construction, but McBride's location helped it to prosper while other settlements such as Lucerne remained small or disappeared entirely. Early industries in addition to rail and shipping included agricultural development of the valley, and forest harvesting.
20th Century Growth
The 1930s ushered in a new era as McBride officially became a village. Train travel catapulted the village into the 19th century, but it was not until 1970 that Highway 16 (Yellowhead) officially opened as an inter-provincial route, enabling vehicle travel through the valley. Early settlers included astute business folk who saw potential in McBride. People were attracted to McBride for a variety of interesting reasons including draft dodging in the 1960s and 1970s. Forestry workers, agricultural settlers, Mennonites, artisans, and crafts people filled out the population.
Take time to explore this close-knit, friendly community. Today McBride's main livelihood is from forestry, agriculture, and eco-adventure. Experience more of McBride's history exploring the greater Robson Valley and nearby settlements like Dunster, Tete Jaune, and Crescent Spur.