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VIDEO: Crowds line route of historic train station move

Nickel Bros. delivers Hope Station House to its new home around the corner

It was a historic day in Hope after the Hope Station House successfully made its move to its new location Thursday (Feb. 15) morning.

Cheers, clapping, and drumbeats from Taiko drummers filled the air as the historic building — which was being moved by industrial movers Nickel Bros. — finally parked in its new location right next to the Hope, Cascades & Canyons Visitor Centre. Despite the cold and strong winds, hundreds of people lined the moving route from Old Hope-Princeton Way, going down Highway 1, and ending at Water Avenue.

The move was a much anticipated highlight in the community. Over the past week, people couldn’t stop talking about the move, as they asked questions about its starting time, planned route, and where they could watch it online.

That same energy was very much present during the move with people in the crowd expressing excitement over finally having a space for the Hope museum, in addition to saving and utilizing such an important piece of Hope’s history.

“It’s a pretty exciting day for Hope and Ryan (Ryan Ellan) and all the crew,” said Mayor Victor Smith who, along with Coun. Zachary Wells, was assisting the Nickel Bros. team. “They’ve done a great job and this is going to be a pretty big centerpiece in Hope. And we’re glad that it’s all come together.”

This energy was further carried by the presence of the Taiko drummers, who performed sporadically as the building made its way to its new home.

Starting at 9 a.m., all eyes were on the Nickel Bros. team, as they prepared the building and began the journey to 919 Water Ave. Despite encountering some issues with tree branches and street signs, the building was able to be on the road and halfway to its new home by around 10 a.m.

During the move, the team, led by their operations manager and company president, Jeremy Nickel, took it slow and made sure to stop when needed. In addition to the crowd, three drones followed the team and recorded their move with pictures and video.

Finally, at around 11 a.m., relief and cheers could be heard as the building finally landed in its new location.

The move, which was completed two hours ahead of schedule, took place during the day. According to Nickel, big industrial moves like this are traditionally done during the night as they aren’t allowed to block roads. However, due to the historical importance of the move, the District of Hope worked together with Nickel and his team to make the move possible during the daytime.

The moment was especially momentous for Tashme Historical Society’s (THS) president, Ryan Ellan, and co-chair, Laura Saimoto, who were both present for the entirety of the move. While both Ellan and Saimoto expressed their excitement at the Station House’s “landing,” they also made it clear that this was just the first major step in the building’s planned future.

“We’re very, very, happy that it’s all come together,” said Saimoto. “There’s lots of work ahead. But this is the first big step, or first big kickoff. There’s a year of intensive work (ahead).

“It’s incredible to think that something built over a 100 years ago could still be so strong. Tashme has been involved since the beginning (to save the Station House), but we actually didn’t take a leadership role until later 2021. And it depended on funding, (which) we were able to launch an intensive fundraiser over the past two years. And we did a lot of relationship building with the town of Hope.”

The move cost $120,000 to $140,000, with restoration and additions to the building estimated to cost $1.8 million.

THS, who owns the building, intends to repurpose the building so it can be used by the Visitor Centre and as the new space for the Hope Museum — as well as include a restaurant and community courtyard. It will also be a “vibrant heritage tourism and community hub,” one that will be shared with all of Hope’s communities and history. This includes Hope’s logging, Chinese-Canadian, Japanese-Canadian, Indo-Canadian, and First Nation communities.

It is THS’s plan to have the building ready and open sometime in 2025.

In addition to THS, the District of Hope’s Coun. Scott Medlock was on site as part of the crowd, witnessing the move.

The Visitor Centre’s staff was also present, helping with the move.

This is the Station House’s second move. The first move took place in 1985, thanks to a fundraising campaign (from 1984 to 1985), headed by the Village Arts and Crafts Society, to save the building from demolition. After raising $17,000 the arts community was able to purchase the building from CN Rail and have it moved from the train tracks to its current resting place.

Originally built in 1916, at a cost of $7,250 by the Great Northern Railway, it was used as a station by CN, the Vancouver-Victoria Eastern and Great Northern Railroads. The Station House was used until the 1950s and then sat empty until the 1980s. After it was moved, the Station House was re-opened as the Rainbow Junction Arts Centre and was used as a space to house a wide variety of art. It also had a teahouse within its space.

Sadly, due to the cost of heating and money owed to the government, the arts centre was forced to close down in 1996. Two decades later, despite attempts to revive it and utilize the space, the building — which was now the property of the district — was again slated for demolition in early 2021.

This was not the end for the Station House, however; following the district’s announcement to demolish the building, a dedicated group of Hope’s citizens protested the decision and began to spearhead the movement to “save” the Station House. This movement was led by a number of Hope locals.

Due to the Station House’s history with the Japanese-Canadian community, THS offered to work with the District to buy and relocate it. On Nov. 4, 2022, THS became the owners of the Station House.

In addition to this being the building’s second move, this was also the second time that Nickel Bros. was in charge of the Station House’s relocation.

“For us, it was an honour to be part of this,” Nickel said. “I was probaby in my early teens when we moved this building to its previous location. My father, who started this business, he and the team then were involved. And I was just a young boy, kind of spectating. So, it’s been interesting that we get to coordinate this move.”

“And I just want to say thank you, to the (Standard) and the city of Hope, the mayor and council, and all the people involved. Especially Ryan and (Tashme). I’m so humbled by their sacrifices and how hard they’ve worked. And I just want to really congratulate them on everything they did to make this happen. We’re a small part, really, and they’re the real heroes.”

Founded in 1956, Nickel Bros. has been involved in some of the biggest industrial moves in B.C. and across North America. This includes over 500 historic buildings being moved such as the 110-year-old Fraser Valley heritage house in Chilliwack, the 1923 Mansion move in Seattle, and the 1923 Weyerhaeuser building move to the Port of Everett.

Watch for in-depth coverage in the Feb. 23 edition of the Hope Standard.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Historic Hope Station House officially on the move

Kemone Moodley

About the Author: Kemone Moodley

I began working with the Hope Standard on August 2022.
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