History of Harrison Hot Springs
There is a hidden gem nestled in the Fraser Valley, Harrison Hot Springs…
This beautiful lake community was stumbled upon when settlers were heading up to the golden fields of the Douglas trail. Once they hit rapids, their boat tipped and all went overboard; they were pleasantly surprised by just how warm the water was. In 1858, hot tubs weren’t even a thought, and baths didn’t stay warm for too long, so these men really enjoyed their time basking in the pools.
In North America, Lakotas named their waters “Wakan Tanka” or “Great Mystery”. The Salinan Indians from Paso Robles called them “Heaven’s Spot” for their health benefits. The springs have been considered a sacred place for many people and many cultures across the globe. Now it is time to find your sacred space.
Harrison was only just recently incorporated in 1949, but it has a long rich history. It was originally inhabited by the Coast Salish people, who referred to the hot springs as Kwals, meaning hot water. they often would travel by canoe and visit these sacred pools because of their many healing benefits.
After multiple name changes over the years, it was finally settle to be named after Benjamin Harrison, a deputy governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Governor Simpson decided to honour him with naming this because Harrison was such a valued treasurer. Interesting fact is that Harrison never went to North America but still managed to have one of the best places to visit in Canada named after him!
If you are interested in First Nations arts and crafts you should surely visit the Chehalis Community School, where baskets are made from cedar roots, and Aboriginal carvings are on display. These pieces represent their legends and show the relationship between man and wild; along with, the animals and how they interacted with one another. Such a beautiful sight to see first hand with the intricate details within the carvings and paintings.
For almost 30 years, the Harrison Festival of the Arts has been joining the community together with love, laughter and a variety of different art forms. Over the years Harrison has been full of artisans who bring up the morale and make the valley just that much more lively. This event spans over 9 days in July and is sure to be a very memorable time for all who attend. Top quality musicians play on the beach, while artisans run their workshops and artists have exhibitions. It is a fusion of the arts that should be experienced by all.
Just shy of a two hour drive from Vancouver will bring you to Harrison Hot Springs, which has long been a getaway of choice for coastal urbanites. Explore the Great Mystery of Harrison Hot Springs and stay at the Harrison Beach Hotel while you are in town. Book your stay today!