The Kettle Valley Brakemen are performing at Arts in the Park on Saturday at Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. The event is part of several celebrations being held across the province to mark the centennial of BC Parks.

Arts council joins the party for BC Parks 100th anniversary

A free Arts in the Park event will be held to mark the milestone at Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park on July 23, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The BC Parks centennial celebration takes over Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park on Saturday.

A free Arts in the Park event will be held to mark the milestone, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“It’s really a birthday party for the park,” said Diane Ferguson, with The Hope & District Arts Council. “It’s to celebrate the history and culture of the park, and the beauty of the park.”

Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is home to the historic Othello-Quintette Tunnels.

The abandoned railway tunnels have served as the backdrop for filming in Rambo: First Blood, Shoot to Kill, and Far From Home: The Adventures of Yellow Dog.

Designed by engineer Andrew McCulloch, the tunnels were built between 1911 and 1916 to complete the Kettle Valley Railway.

Constant washouts plus snow and rockslides plagued the railway line causing it to close in 1959. The area became a provincial recreation site in May 1986.

Arts in the Park kicks off at 11 a.m. with speeches by arts council president Rod Fowler, Attorney General Barry Penner, Fraser Valley Regional District representative Dennis Adamson and Mayor Laurie French. Festivities include tunnel tours, art activities, a food concession by the Hope Eagles, children’s entertainment with Ish da Fish and a puppet show by Positively Puppets. In addition, there will be free drinks, birthday cake and cookies.

The Kettle Valley Brakemen will also perform throughout the afternoon, bringing railway history to life with true stories and original songs. Hear about the jail break of bandit Bill Miner, deadly train wrecks and railway brawls.

A free shuttle from downtown Hope will be running at least every 30 minutes depending on passenger volume, departing from the bus stop next the Japanese Friendship Garden on Third Avenue.

The event is sponsored by the province through Arts BC, and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts & Culture. The first provincial park was Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island.

Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is located eight kilometres north of Hope off Othello Road.

For more information, call the arts council at 604-869-3400 or email hopearts@telus.net.