Big news for fans of the Hope Station House and those who’ve been following its process; as of Tuesday morning (Jan. 10), the Station House is one of 10 finalists for the “Next Great Save” competition.
From Jan. 20 until Feb. 23, people can go online every day and vote for the Station House to be this year’s “Next Great Save” winner, according to a press release from National Trust for Canada, who runs the competition. The finalist with the most votes will win a grand prize of $50,000 (from Ecclesiastical Insurance) towards the heritage site.
“It’s quite overwhelming. I mean it’s very humbling. Because, again, it’s across Canada, so for the Station House to receive that sort of recognition, it’s incredible,” said Ryan Ellan, president of Tashme Historical Society. “So how the process works now is we have to do a bunch of official media releases. We also actually have to put a video together too. And we have to create our online profile too, which we’re working on right now.”
The competition helps a community save a heritage place of importance. The prize money goes towards “a project that successfully adapts, retrofits, renews, or improves a heritage place in a way that extends its useful life.” This includes responding to pressures and community needs, reducing environmental impact, reflecting diversity and inclusion of new voices and new stories, and offering experiences, education, and inspiration to many.
Ellan said that, should the Station House win, the money will go towards hiring the project’s heritage architect and engineer.
“We’ve already engaged the most qualified, respected, heritage architect engineer in B.C,” he said. “And he loves the Station House. So, that money will got towards keeping him.”
The issue of preserving the Station House has been an ongoing battle for many years. It reached a head in 2020 when the District indicated their plans to demolish it.
Following their announcement, a dedicated group of Hope citizens protested the decision and began to spearhead the movement to “save” the Station House.
At this time, the Tashme society 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.
As of Nov. 4, 2022, Tashme Historical Society are the owners of the Station House.
Aside from the Station House, other finalists from B.C. include the Duncan Train Station, Rossland Drill Hall, and Turner House. Considering the national scope of the competition, and the volume of historic sites that some of the other provinces have, Ellan said this is a pretty big deal.
To learn how to vote for the Station House people can visit nationaltrustcanada.ca. Voting opens on Jan. 20 and closes Feb. 23.