A pile of charred rubble is all that remains of the Experience Hope highway sign near Hunter Creek.
Firefighters were called to the scene at about midnight on Thursday to find the sign engulfed in flames and the wooden structure it was attached to burned down.
“It was pretty much a done deal by the time they got out there,” said fire chief Tom DeSorcy.
“They were just able to cool the area and make sure it didn’t spread into any grass.”
While the exact cause of the fire is unknown, the RCMP believe it was intentionally set.
The highway sign was erected in March 2009 by the Chamber of Commerce to help promote the community. It highlighted the area’s lush forest and featured the slogan “One Day is Not Enough.” The sign was designed and printed by Graphic Smarts with the goal of reminding travelers that all four exits lead into downtown Hope.
“It’s kind of sad and kind of tragic,” said chamber president Victor Smith, adding that the sign cost about $2,000. “Highways allowed us to use that structure for a billboard as long we painted it, weeded it and kept in good order. The deal was as long as it was there we were fine, but if something happened we couldn’t replace it.”