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Vanderhoof's Big River Country

Fishing at Cheslatta Falls

(Picture BC photo)

Vanderhoof

Culture & History

The Vanderhoof area is the traditional home of the Carrier First Nations.

However, the actual town of Vanderhoof dates back to packers, miners, telegraph operators, and railway line surveyors passing through the area for work in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Town of Vanderhoof

Herbert Vanderhoof, an American publicist, founded the town in the early 1900s with the idea of making it into a creative retreat. He hoped the town would attract artists and writers. Instead, ranchers and loggers settled here after being lured by fields of cheap agricultural land and forests.  

Visit Vanderhoof's Community Museum, on the west side of town, to learn more about the agricultural and logging history of the area. The museum features several restored buildings from Vanderhoof's beginnings, including a café, school, jailhouse and bank.

Rich Hobson

The museum also houses possessions and photographs formerly belonging to Rich Hobson, a famous local. Hobson, who died in 1966, was a cowboy who married the daughter of rich man from the Lower Mainland. A humourous TV mini-series called Nothing too Good for a Cowboy was based on Hobson's adventures around Vanderhoof with his pal Pan Phillips.

To see the former Hobson Ranch, now a spiritual healing centre, drive through the back roads south of town. The Vanderhoof Visitor Centre can provide directions.

Stoney Creek Woman

Vanderhoof is also the home of Mary John, who inspired the book Stoney Creek Woman. John is famous for her advocacy work on behalf of the Carrier people. At one point, Mary received Vanderhoof's Citizen of the Year title, as well as an honorary degree from the University of Northern British Columbia. She was also awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal and the Order of Canada. For more information on Mary John, visit the Vanderhoof Library and peruse the Mary John Collection of books.

Vanderhoof Today

Families living in Vanderhoof today have been here for generations. Vanderhoof locals are friendly and supportive. Their incredible community spirit is especially felt at festivals, such as the Christmas Parade of Lights, the Halloween Pumpkin Walk, and the three-day Fall Fair in August every year.