On a nice autumn day, I decided to drive with a friend from Prince George to Vanderhoof. Founded in 1926, Vanderhoof is a small agricultural community just over 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Prince George on Highway 16. The air was brisk as we left the city, but by the time we arrived, it was warming up. We decided to first visit the countryside surrounding the town, as we wanted to search for some Canada Geese. Because of the many agricultural fields surrounding Vanderhoof, this area is a very popular place for them and other birds to stop at on their annual migration.
The fog made the landscape seem very surreal as we were driving on the country roads. In the not too far distance, you could hear the calls of the geese. Suddenly, a flock of them flew out from the edges of the fog, and soon, we could see others as the fog was disappearing. It was the most amazing sight I’ve seen in a long time!
After exploring the countryside, we headed to town. We stopped at Riverside Park by the Nechako River and walked around; there is a lovely trail that follows the river and gives you a chance to see some bird life across at the Nechako Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
We then headed to the centre of town to look at some of the older buildings and learn a little about them (note: the Vanderhoof Visitor Centre has an excellent History And Culture Tour Card that you can use to explore the historical side of Vanderhoof). Some of the original buildings that you can find in Vanderhoof include the Vanderhoof Department store which has been there for nearly five decades, the Reid Hotel from the 1920s, and also the Reo Theatre, which is one few remaining small cinemas left in Canada (see the photo below). The building that the theatre is housed in was built approximately 90 years ago, and was also at one time a parlour and a merchant shop.
We checked out an Anglican Church down the street which was built in 1932. While we were looking at it on the outside, a nice volunteer opened the front door, and invited us in. It looked nice and cozy inside and I was amazed that it has room for 100 people. The stain glassed windows were really pretty with the sunlight filtering through them. I was so excited when I had a chance to go up the bell tower and ring the bell!
After visiting the downtown area, we headed to the Vanderhoof Museum on the outskirts of town. They have moved a lot of old buildings from the area to this location, including the OK Cafe, which was built in 1920 to serve the miners going to and from the northern mining camps. The OK Cafe is a lovely place to stop for a bite to eat, serving up homemade soup, and other tasty treats. The museum was closed for the season, but we could still eat at the cafe and then explore the museum grounds to check out the various old buildings – there is even an old CN caboose on display.
If you would like to learn more about the area between Vanderhoof and Anaheim Lake to the south, I recommend reading the collection of books by Richmond P. Hobson Jr. which includes Grass Beyond the Mountains.
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