Fort St James Tourist Attractions
Fort St James on Stuart Lake is the capital of the historic district of New Caledonia and the second oldest town in British Columbia. As long ago as 1806 Simon Fraser and John Stuart of the North West Company set up a trading post here near an Indian settlement at the eastern end of the over 100 km (62 mi.) long Stuart Lake. This lake actually forms part of a system of lakes and rivers more than 400 km (250 mi.) in length. In 1821, when the two rival fur companies, North West and Hudson's Bay, amalgamated, Fort St James became the administrative and supply center of the fur hunting teams which operated from here throughout western Canada. In 1843 a Catholic mission was built near Fort St James.In 1869 gold was found in the Omineca Region further north. A veritable gold-rush resulted which had its effects on Fort St James as well.Today Fort St James is a small modern township on the northern edge of the old settlement. Four large timber concerns, mining and tourism form the backbone of its economy.
Fort St James National Historic Park
In 1971, at great expense, the old Fort St James was reconstructed to resemble its appearance in 1896 and is now the Fort St James National Historic Park. During the summer months park staff dressed in contemporary costume, employing much enthusiasm and imagination, act out typical everyday situations portraying the hard lives led by the fur-traders. Visitors can look over the somewhat more comfortable administrator's residence, various storehouses, men's quarters, shops and offices of Fort St James National Historic Park. Exhibitions and film-shows in the Visitor Center provide background on the history of this remote trading post in the "Canadian Siberia".
Our Lady of Good Hope
The Catholic Church of Our Lady of Good Hope is a pretty wooden church built in 1873, where mass is still celebrated in summer.Our Lady of Good Hope is one of the oldest churches in British Columbia. Although there is little to see here it emphasizes the town's history and heritage. Visitors can not enter the church, which looks out onto Stuart Lake.