Chainsaw carvings in Henry Stege Park

(Don Petit/Hudson's Hope Tourism photo)

Hudson's Hope

Culture & History

Picture a scene with a green river flowing through a wilderness dotted with aspen, spruce, pine, and birch trees. Hudson's Hope's lies in the heart of the Peace River country, also referred to as the Mighty Peace River.

Ancient History

Dinosaurs roamed the tropical forests of the Peace River country millions of years ago leaving giant footprints. Today fossilized tracks are visible along the shorelines of the Peace River.

First Nations

For thousands of years aboriginal peoples lived, hunted, trapped, and fished in the Hudson's Hope area. The Dane-zaa people, today known as the Halfway River and West Moberly First Nations continue to live and use the area. Treaty 8 was first signed in 1899 with communities signing on into the early 1900s.

European Exploration

In 1793 before settlers reached the Hudson's Hope area, Alexander Mackenzie explored the Peace River. He discovered some spectacular country and amazing geological phenomena. Mackenzie described a geothermal area along the Peace River in his journal. The steam vents that he noted are located near the Bennett Dam.

The first settlement in the area, built in 1805 by Simon Fraser, was the Rocky Mountain Portage Fort. It was later abandoned, and moved twice more to its present location on the north side of the river. The name Hudson's Hope's was first recorded in 1869.

Recent History

In 1962 construction of the W.A.C. Bennett Dam began on the Peace River, and was completed six years later. Named for then BC Premier, Andrew William Cecil Bennett, the dam became the province's single greatest producer of electricity at a capacity of 2,730,000kW. The earth filled dam also required construction of the G.M. Shrum Generating station. In 1975 construction of a second dam began on the Peace River. The Peace Canyon Dam was completed in 1980 and produces more than 3.5 billion kWh of electricity each year.

Present Day

Today Hudson's Hope relies on the dams, local agriculture, and a variety of industries such as oil and gas exploration, tourism, and forestry for its livelihood. The community also maintains a strong focus on its local arts scene.