Ashcroft is steeped in the history of the Gold Rush. With the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the late 1800’s, Ashcroft became Mile “0” on the road to the goldfields, and the major freight depot for all supplies heading north. Accommodations and services increased rapidly with the influx of people, and by 1887 Ashcroft was bustling with harness and wheel repair shops, blacksmiths, livery stables and freight warehouses.
During the period 1886-1920 the Village flourished, but in 1920 the Pacific Great Eastern Railway provided access to the northern interior from Alberta. Ashcroft lost its strategic position as a supply centre for the north, spelling the end of a prosperous era. In order to survive, and recover from the destruction of “The Great Fire” in 1916, the people of Ashcroft turned to agriculture. They realized that when water is added to the parched soil practically anything will grow in the intense summer heat. Ashcroft soon became known for its high-grade potatoes and tomatoes. The BC Express Company converted their freight barn into a tomato cannery, which remained open until 1957.
Mining has also been an important part of Ashcroft’s history since the 1960s. Highland Valley Copper, one of the largest open pit copper mines in the world, employs many of Ashcroft’s residents. Located 40kms south on highway 97C is the Highland Valley, daily tours of the mine are offered through the summer months. To take a trip back in time may we suggest a visit to the historical and informative Ashcroft Museum (corner of 4th & Brink St.) to learn a little about our rich past. While at the museum pick up a walking tour pamphlet, which describes the many heritage sites around town. Complete your walk at the Millennium Park situated at the end of Railway Avenue. The park features a “walk through time” with plaques and displays outlining the village’s history.