The Tashme Historical Society’(THS)’s hard work with the Hope Station House has been recognized by the National Trust for Canada during their 50th anniversary conference in October.
The National Trust has awarded Tashme their Governors’ Award — an award that provides their Board of Governors the opportunity to “recognize important work being done in the heritage community.
The award was accepted on the society’s behalf by Christine Tomlinson, the assistant curator for the Sunshine Valley Tashme Museum, during National Trust’s Transforming Heritage conference (which took place from Oct. 26 to Oct. 28). Hosted in partnership with the Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals (CAHP) and the Indigenous Heritage Circle (IHC), the event brought together “over 700 heritage professionals, advocates, and industry leaders” from across Canada to discuss and exchange ideas about heritage places and buildings.
Tashme, who entered the Station House in the National Trust’s Next Great Save campaign/competition in the beginning of the year (Jan. 20 to Feb. 23), was recognized during the conference for the work they’ve been doing to preserve the Station House — as well as the work they’ve done to showcase and educate people on the history of Japanese-Canadians and internment camps. During the Next Great Save campaign, the Station House took home third and $5,000, which is being used towards the building.
“It was really an honour to be part of the Next Great Save,” Tomlinson said. “I think we’re all really appreciative of being part of that campaign. And then to receive this award, along with Next Great Save, it helped to bring us to another level. We were first initially looking at local support, and provincial. Then it expanded to national and then to the international front of getting that exposure and support on our project (Station House).
“We’ve been creating relationships outside of Hope, with heritage professionals. And this has been a great way to spread awareness of what we’re doing and then also the history (of Japanese-Canadians).”
According to National Trust, their organization is “the leading national charity dedicated to the conservation and use of Canada’s historic places. For 50 years, since its inception in 1973, the organization has powered a movement dedicated to preserving and revitalizing heritage buildings, landscapes, and communities for the benefit of people and the planet.”
While there is no monetary prize attached to the Governor’s Award, Tomlinson said the amount of contacts and social networking that has been done, and is still being done, as a result of this award has been immense. Tomlinson also said that developing a relationship with National Trust, and all of their sponsors, has been incredible and that Tashme is very grateful for it.
Tashme officially became the owners of the Station House on Nov. 4, 2022. Formerly the property of the District of Hope, the issue of preserving the Station House has been an ongoing battle for many years that reached a head in 2020 when the District indicated their plans to demolish it.
Following their announcement, a dedicated group of Hope’s citizens protested the decision and began to spearhead the movement to “save” the Station House.
At this time, the Tashme saw the significance of the Station House, due to the history that the Japanese-Canadian community has with it, and offered to work with the District to buy and relocate it.
Now in charge of the Station House’s new future, Tashme intends to repurpose the building into a “vibrant heritage tourism and community hub,” one that will be shared with all of Hope’s communities and history. This includes the Chinese-Canadian, Japanese-Canadian, Indo-Canadian, and First Nation communities.
As of last month (Oct. 19), almost a year after becoming it’s new owners, digging has begun at 919 Water Ave — the new location for the Station House. It is the society’s hope to relocate the building by Spring 2024.
“In a very real sense of poetic justice, it is the history of racism which is saving this building,” Tomlinson said during her acceptance speech at the conference. “And it is the history of racism which gave birth to our goal to save and rehabilitate the train station. Our goal is to share untold stories of minority histories as well as the mainstream rail and supply chain histories of the station.
“The Historic Hope Station rehabilitation project is our commitment to honor the past and create a vibrant community hub. Internment history, alongside the Tashme Museum, will lead the way, weaving together narratives of Japanese-Canadians, Chinese-Canadians, and Indigenous Canadians. This space will educate, heal, and connect us—a living ‘Gateway to our Stories, Gateway to hope’.”