Hudson's Hope is a district municipality in northeastern British Columbia, Canada, in the Peace River Regional District. It covers an area of with a population of 1,157 people. Having been first settled in 1805, it is the third oldest community in the province, although it was not incorporated until 1965. Its main economic support is the nearby W. A. C. Bennett Dam and Peace Canyon Dam, and timber logging.
There is debate about the origin of Hudson's Hope's name. One theory derives the word "Hudson's" from the Hudson's Bay Company and "Hope" from the Scottish word "hope" meaning a "small enclosed valley". Another theory has the name derived from a prospector named Hudson who came to the area searching gold. The crest uses elements that symbolize the town's history, geography, and economy. For example, the water represents the Peace River, the tower represents hydro power, the trees represent forestry, the fields represent farming, and the sunshine represent the extended period of daylight in the summer. The log cabin is included in remembrance of the pioneers who settled in the area. The two mountains are depictions of the nearby Beattie peaks. The shield in the crest is shaped like the footprint of the Hadrosaur which were once common in the area. The crest and flag were designed by a town councillor, Sam Kosolowsky, in the early-1990s. The original slogan on the crest and flag was "Playground of the Peace". After some time with the slogan "Land of Dinosaurs and Dams" the town now uses the original slogan.
Nomadic aboriginal Dene zaa tribes originally occupied the area. Alexander Mackenzie and his team of voyageurs became the first Europeans to travel through as they canoed westward along the Peace River and in 1793, Simon Fraser followed in 1805 and established a North West Company fur-trading outpost, the Rocky Mountain Portage Fort, at the foot of the canyon directly across the river from the current townsite. Here was the only significant portage on the Peace River between Fort Chipewyan and Fort McLeod. The Hudson's Bay Company took control of the fort after its coalition with the North West Company in 1821 and abandoned it in 1823 after a massacre in the nearby Fort St. John outpost. A new trading post was opened on the southern river banks in 1866 by the Hudson's Bay Company to compete against free traders coming in from the west. (Hudson's Bay Company Archives B.39/b/18 p. 57) Though its origins are unclear, the name Hudson's Hope first appeared in 1868. Theories on its origin include an explorer named Hudson searching for the northwest passage, or a prospector named Henry Hudson searching for gold, or the use of the English and Scottish word hope meaning a small enclosed valley. In 1899 the fort was moved to the townsite's present day location on the north bank to better service those portaging northwestwards.
Much of the area was explored by prospectors and surveying crews as the Peace River Block was opened to mineral staking in 1908 and homestead claims in 1912. A permanent settlement was established in 1912 when a police officer who was previously stationed in Fort St. John and a friend travelled from Victoria to stake a homestead. Others joined them as they travelled through Edmonton, Dunvegan, and Fort St. John to found the communities of Beryl Prairie and Lynx Creek. Soon, as other settlers came, a post office, a hotel, and a church were built around the trading post, and in 1923 a school opened. Coal was discovered a few years earlier and used locally. Commercial coal mining, attempted in 1923, was not successful due to remoteness and high transportation costs until the construction of the Alaska Highway in 1942 created a high local demand.
Major development came in the 1960s as the provincial government planned and constructed the W. A. C. Bennett Dam with its Gordon M. Shrum Generating Station. Its construction involved thousands workers with the nearest highway and railway being to the south in Chetwynd. To help organize and finance the project the Hudson's Hope Improvement District was incorporated in 1962 and the District Municipality of Hudson's Hope was incorporated 2 years later. The two incorporated areas merged in 1967 when construction was completed. The thousands of workers left as the reservoir was filled and the dam went online in 1968. Soon afterwards a second dam, the Peace Canyon Dam, was planned and constructed, only several kilometers downstream from the first. The second dam went online in 1980 and the town continued to lose population to a low 1,005 people in 1990. Since then the town has remained geographically isolated and economically dependent on BC Hydro as its single major employer, though it has marketed its isolation and extensive outdoor recreational opportunities as a benefit to living in the area.