Travel Back in Time to the Hope – Princeton Highway in 1966

Manning Park _1966_2

As many of you already know, we’ve been digitizing 16mm photolog footage from 1966 to give you our BC Road Trip Time Machine video series. We love this stuff and you do to. In fact, some of you have loved it so much, you’ve set out on your own road trips to document modern day roads and compare them to our time machine footage – awesome stuff. Get ready for more amazing footage with our latest installment, which takes us from Hope to Princeton on BC Highway 3, as it was in 1966.

What makes this footage so special?
Some of you may know that, a year before this photolog footage was taken, the largest known landslide in Canadian history occurred on this stretch of highway. Devastatingly, it took four lives with it and changed the landscape of the area forever.

Boulder at the foot of Hope Slide_January_1965
A Department of Highways worker stands in front of a massive boulder at the foot of the Hope Slide in 1965.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, January 9th, 1965 nearly half of Johnson Peak collapsed and descended into the Nicolum Valley, approximately 20 km east of Hope, destroying nearly four kilometres of Highway 3 (the Hope-Princeton Highway) and filling up the bottom the valley with rock and mud up to a depth of 200 feet. Outram Lake at the foot of the slide area was completely filled with debris.

Department of Highways (our old name) crews worked tirelessly for 13 days in order to re-establish the highway connection and in this photolog video you can actually see the path they cut through the debris to reconnect the road. In the early 1980’s the highway alignment was rerouted around the base of the slide debris field, instead of through it. Visitors to the area today can pull of the highway and visit a monument dedicated to the event.

Map of slide
An overview of the Hope Slide, the old Highway 3 alignment and the current alignment.

In the years since the slide occurred, the Hope-Princeton Highway has seen many other changes and improvements including:

Before the construction of the Coquihalla (BC Highway 5) in 1986, BC Highway 3 (also known as the Southern Trans-Canada Highway) was one of two primary routes for motorists travelling from the Lower Mainland to the interior of the province and beyond.  The other route was the Trans-Canada also known as BC Highway 1, which heads north out of Hope through the Fraser Canyon, toward Kamloops and then east across the province toward Alberta. Have a look at that stretch of road in 1966, here.

Hope Princeton exit sign
An old illuminated Hope – Princeton exit sign, now located in the parking lot of Manning Park Lodge, which is located in Manning Provincial Park on BC Highway 3, between Hope and Princeton.

What are Photologs?
“Photologs” were created to capture road condition information across the province and give our engineers the ability to study a particular stretch of road without having to travel into the field. The original photologs were collected by rigging a camera onto the dash of a car that took still images every 80 feet or so and then running them all together as a single film.

Looking back on these old reels reveals a lot more than just pavement condition. The camera installed onto the dash of a car and driven over 9,000 km of BC highways captured some incredible glimpses of our province during the heyday that was the 60’s. So sit back, relax and watch this glimpse of a world long gone by in the rear view mirror.

Are you patiently waiting to see footage of a particular BC highway that we haven’t shared yet? Let us know in the comments below.

Page 1 of 34 comments on “Travel Back in Time to the Hope – Princeton Highway in 1966”

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  1. I’m currently a bridge worker for a local highway’s contractor, and have been so for 8 years, and prior to that, I worked in the roads division for 18 years. The 18 years worked, were at Allison Pass, in Manning Park. First of all, I want to say thank you, and that this video is truly amazing! So many familiar sights! Plus sites that were there in 66, but long since abandoned before I started in 89. To reply to Brian Lang’s comment, the road IS MOSTLY 4 lane, as opposed to what it used to be, and some of it will always be 2 lane. We don’t always need to drive so fast, that we don’t see the beauty of our surroundings. BTW… The company I work for, actually built the Hope-Princeton Hwy in the 40s. Thank you again for this wonderful video!

    • Hi KD,

      Thanks for asking about the video. Yes, you can slow it down. Click on the gear shaped icon in the bottom right corner of the video screen. Click on the word “Speed” and choose your desired speed. (We find .5 to be the best speed for catching more of the details).

  2. Hello,

    In the “Time Machine” video, are those dials and scopes added for an aesthetic effect? Or would they have been present within these trips? If these scopes are real, what purpose do they serve?

    Mackenzie RR

  3. You wrote: “Two lanes in each direction for the majority of the Hope to Princeton stretch”
    I’d love to see the statistics on that. After driving it this summer, and repeatedly getting stuck behind slow moving RV’s, I highly doubt this point. A lot more work needs to be done to 4-lane this route – all the way through to Keremos. East of there the amount of traffic dropped off significantly.