The A-frame, half demolished, on the morning of Oct. 7. (AdvantageHOPE photo)

The A-frame, half demolished, on the morning of Oct. 7. (AdvantageHOPE photo)

Out with the old: Hope’s A-frame visitor centre torn down

Visitors have to wait for a facilities master plan before finding out what will replace the A-frame

Last Wednesday was the end of an era for the old green A-frame on Water Avenue that once housed Hope’s visitors centre and museum.

Stretching even further back into the building itself and into Hope’s past, the building demolished on Oct. 7 also used to house those who ran afoul of the law in an RCMP jail cell.

Brian McKinney, who does all things tourism at the provisional visitors centre currently housed in an Atco trailer, said it was an emotional moment seeing the building go. McKinney got first swipe at tearing down the A-frame and he later reflected on how he was helping bring down a piece of Hope’s history and usher in a “new beginning” for the town.

The building was also erected in part with his father Barry McKinney’s hard work, who at the time had been a Rotarian for at least 26 years. Barry passed away in 1998, his son explained, “way too young.”

“I have a feeling that he was probably part of a lot of evening work parties here where Rotary Club members would come to the location, wherever they’re working or whatever project they’re working on in the community,” he said. “I can envision these guys having their carpenter belts on and probably some cold beer going in a cooler or something and working on a fun community project.”

“To be able to take the first swipe, for me, I don’t know if it was poetic or symbolic or what it was but it was a pretty cool moment for sure.”

The A-frame addition, a “labour of love” as past president of the Hope and District Historical Society Lindsay Thacker described it back then, was officially opened on Brigade Days weekend in 1980.

The opening, on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 1 p.m., drew a crowd of around 50 to hear speeches by MP for Fraser Valley East Alex Paterson, Alderman Alex Kirilows, Mayor Keith Gardner and Hope Band Chief Ronald John. Gardner called the day a “historic occasion” for the town.

In a Museum Report in the Standard’s Sept. 10 edition, Rita Walsh noted that 151 people signed the guest book at the new museum on opening day. Many residents, Walsh noted, loaned items to the museum including a charcoal burning iron. A rare piece, noted Walsh, a predecessor to the electric iron and one which reminded Walsh of the laundry businesses active in B.C. towns at the time that she calls “Chinese Hand [Laundries]” that would stiffen collars like no other. “Top operate, put in a piece of paper, add charcoal, adjust the dampers, and away you go,” the report stated.

The A-Frame, Gardner explained, was part of a gas station acquired by the town. It was a Pacific 66 gas station, McKinney added. “The A-frame was attached to the old court house and jail which was no longer needed because of the opening of the new Provincial Court at this time,” the Hope Standard’s Sept. 10 edition noted.

The Hope Rotary Club was behind getting the building ready, with a federal youth grant, as well as lottery grant funding to the tune of $20,000 matched by $20,000 raised by the club and the Hope and District Historical Society. “It takes a lot of hard work by Rotarians to raise 20 grand, believe me,” noted Rotarian Jim Sinclair.

So from the basement of district hall, McKinney explained, visitors services was moved into the A-frame.

The building housed the visitors centre until late 2017 when staff discovered mould in some floor tiles and the decision was made to vacate.

Read more: Hope’s historical items are being monitored after museum shuts due to mould

The museum items, which have been moved to another location that is safe, could one day form the components of a school program offered to SD78 students. “I can envision kids coming here from basically all over our school district and coming here to learn about First Nations history, our gold rush history, our transportation history here,” McKinney said.

As McKinney and executive director of AdvantageHOPE Shannon Jones watched the demolition he wondered aloud whether they got all the First Blood stuff. The answer is yes, and these items will also form part of a future museum exhibit. “Obviously the First Blood fans are going to get a good fill, because we’ll be able to build a proper memorial tribute to the production of the movie,” McKinney said.

A piece of the building’s history, the original RCMP jail cell door, is the only part of the building itself preserved.

Where this cell door will end up will depend on a facilities master plan the district has on their 2020 to do list. Council will ultimately decide what will happen at the site and such a plan would help them make this decision.

This means the visitors centre will likely remain in the portable likely into the third quarter of 2021, Hope Mayor Peter Robb told the Hope Standard in July.

Read more: District of Hope releases 2019 annual report and ‘to do list’ for 2020

McKinney says whenever a new building is built, be it 2021 or 2022 or whenever, he is excited for it and for tourism in Hope and in the entire province.

The visitors centre has been one of the most-visited of such centres in B.C. for a number of years. Prior to the pandemic Hope was one of the top 15 centres in the province in terms of visitor numbers McKinney said.

And tourism in the province will depend on the future centre he added. “We are where the province meets. We are the only jurisdiction in the province that has four major arterial highways that go through it, under it, beside it and over it,” he said.

And those visitors don’t just want to come and see the Rambo shooting locations, McKinney said, they are also people who will not only visit but also move to and invest in Hope.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
emelie.peacock@hopestandard.com


Facebook and follow us on Twitter

hopeMuseumTourism

 

Executive director of AdvantageHOPE had a keen eye and spotted this plaque as the building which housed it was torn down Oct. 7. It may have been tucked behind an air conditioner, between two walls or behind drywall, said Brian McKinney, but wherever it was it has now been saved. The plaque reads: “This building was erected as a Rotary project. With assistance from the provincial government, the Town of Hope, Frances Thomas, Chamber of Commerce, Hope Lions Club.”(AdvantageHOPE photo)

Executive director of AdvantageHOPE had a keen eye and spotted this plaque as the building which housed it was torn down Oct. 7. It may have been tucked behind an air conditioner, between two walls or behind drywall, said Brian McKinney, but wherever it was it has now been saved. The plaque reads: “This building was erected as a Rotary project. With assistance from the provincial government, the Town of Hope, Frances Thomas, Chamber of Commerce, Hope Lions Club.”(AdvantageHOPE photo)

Hope’s former visitors centre and museum was slowly demolished Oct. 7. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Hope’s former visitors centre and museum was slowly demolished Oct. 7. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

The bars of the former RCMP jail were kept intact when the building in 1980 became a visitors centre and museum. The cell door will be the only part of the building spared, and placed in a future visitor centre building, while the rest of the building was torn down Oct. 7. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

The bars of the former RCMP jail were kept intact when the building in 1980 became a visitors centre and museum. The cell door will be the only part of the building spared, and placed in a future visitor centre building, while the rest of the building was torn down Oct. 7. (Emelie Peacock/Hope Standard)

Dignitaries posed in front of the new visitors centre and museum at the Sept. 6, 1980 opening. They are, from left, Hope Alderman Alex Kirilows, Lindsay Thacker, Chief Ronny John, Al Steves, MP Alex Patterson and MLA Tom Waterland. (Hope Standard archives)

Dignitaries posed in front of the new visitors centre and museum at the Sept. 6, 1980 opening. They are, from left, Hope Alderman Alex Kirilows, Lindsay Thacker, Chief Ronny John, Al Steves, MP Alex Patterson and MLA Tom Waterland. (Hope Standard archives)

Hope visitors centre guru Brian McKinney got first swipe at tearing down a building that his father Barry McKinney, a longtime Rotarian, was a part of opening in 1980. (AdvantageHOPE photo)

Hope visitors centre guru Brian McKinney got first swipe at tearing down a building that his father Barry McKinney, a longtime Rotarian, was a part of opening in 1980. (AdvantageHOPE photo)

The green A-frame, which housed a visitors centre and museum for decades, was torn apart piece by piece on Oct. 7. (AdvantageHOPE photo)

The green A-frame, which housed a visitors centre and museum for decades, was torn apart piece by piece on Oct. 7. (AdvantageHOPE photo)

Just Posted

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

A young couple walks through the Othello Tunnels just outside of Hope. (Jessica Peters/Black Press)
Hope’s Othello Tunnels fully open to the public

Geological testing proved the area safe enough to open for the first time in more than a year

.
Fraser Health monitors long-term care vaccination rates amid local COVID-19 outbreak

COVID-19 transmission has largely been on the decline in Agassiz-Harrison

Jacqueline Pearce and Jean-Pierre Antonio received the BC Historical Federation Best Article Award on Saturday for their story about translating haiku written in the Tashme internment camp.
Article chronicling haiku in Japanese internment camp near Hope wins award

Tashme Haiku Club’s work was preserved and recently translated, authors write

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
VIDEO: Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

Cover of the 32-page Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers, created and compiled by Jeska Slater.
New ‘Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers’ seeks to ‘uplift and amplify’ voices

32-page guide launched Tuesday by Surrey Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)

West Coast Duty Free president Gary Holowaychuk stands next to empty shelves inside his store on Tuesday (June 15). (Aaron Hinks photo)
Revenue down 97% at Surrey duty free as owner waits for U.S. border to reopen

Products approaching best before dates had to be donated, others destroyed

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Tuesday’s Lotto Max draw went unclaimed. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lotto Max jackpot goes unclaimed again

42 of the 64 Maxmillion prizes of $1 million were won, the majority were sold in Ontario

Most Read