Boston Bar

Abandoned Boston Bar

Now, if anywhere has seen better days, it is Boston Bar in the Fraser Canyon. At one time a popular gold rush stop, the town now looks all but abandoned, though it houses between 500 and 850 people (depending on which source you credit).

A population counted at 500 even seems exaggerated – we didn’t see a soul on the road or sidewalk. No one accessing services, shopping the streets. No one outside doing anything.

Boston Bar shows up on Wikipedias list of BC Ghost Towns – though local residents may disagree. Surely the town made it onto the list because (as Wikipedia’s opening disclaimer states), they have also included ‘derelict’ towns on the list, and certainly Boston Bar is that.

Left to Ruin Junked Boston Bar

The bar (sand/gravel bar) at Boston was full of gold – for a minute. And many people stopped here to take advantage of that fact, on their way up north.

Back in the gold rush era, Boston Bar was packed with Americans – referred to as ‘Bostons’ at the time – presumably because at least one of the settlers hailed from there. Hence the town name.

Quayome was one of the original (English spelling) names given to the region by the natives. But it isn’t the only name the area has gone by – Koiaum, North Bend (now neighbouring), and even Vancouver Bar (briefly, in 2011), are a few of the monikers once given to the town.

Boston Bar Train Station

Boston Bar is the half way point between Vancouver and Kamloops.

The community took a major hit when the lumber mill closed and logging activities in the area slowed. The train station was abandoned, as were many homes and businesses.

Apparently westbound trains (only) still stop here three times a week – if a request is made at least 48 hours in advance.

Research shows CPR to be one of the only employers in the town – and with trains only stopping 3x a week by request – I am certain there aren’t many jobs available.

I would have liked to visited before the economical losses, surely the town would have been a different place – or maybe not.

The poisonous timber rattler snake also calls Boston Bar home.

Wooden Headstones

As you drive out of town and back onto the highway heading north, you pass an (awesome!) old rickety cemetery, with many wooden headstones, much like the ones in the historic Yale cemetery.

Boston Bar Cemetery

An internet search says very little, though it is recorded that an old ‘Indian’ (First Nations) cemetery is located at Boston Bar (North Bend) – could this be it?

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You can follow us on this tour around BC by heading to the ‘Summer to Winter Tour‘ section. There are many more photos of this trip available at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.

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24 responses to “Boston Bar

  1. On the up-side – Boston Bar is located in the Fraser Canyon which is a spectacular drive, the scenery is fabulous for photo buffs and the Nahatlatch Valley, it’s lakes and river are not to be missed. I love old rickety cemeteries, such a fabulous history behind them. You know it’s old when the tomb-stones are wood. Boston Bar may not be a thriving city, but it’s location sure makes for a place of great exploration.

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    • Yes, the canyon is beautiful and the area stunning – we actually make the loop several times a year.

      I have never found a need to stop in Boston Bar – as the many amenities and sites of the Fraser Canyon can be accessed from a variety of different points.

      I love abandoned towns and rickety cemeteries, and that in itself is what makes Boston Bar special. A great way to take in some authentic history!

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    • Oh yes, John – the area is really incredible.

      I have to agree about the depressing part – though I did find some active community services in Boston Bar – it sure seemed to have the dark grey cloud of decay hanging overhead…..

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  2. I’m pretty sure my Dad and I stopped for lunch in Boston Bar on our way to Vancouver from Ontario. They must have had some kind of restaurant at least back in the 80s. I’ll have to consult my road trip diary!

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    • Oh I bet they did have more services before the new highway was built – and before the logging was shut down…I would be interested to know! 🙂

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    • Oh, thank you :). I have a tendency to write about everywhere I visit – and of course I also look for paces to visit that I can write about…!

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  3. Excellent post in an excellent blog! I’m new to it (the blog, I mean!) but enjoying it very much. I’ll be back! Glad you like “In search of unusual destinations”, by the way. Phil.

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  4. I don’t know where those pictures of houses came from,but your distracting our town.we have 2 gas stations,6 cafes,school(from K- 12) fireball,2 community halls,Kai-tire,towing company,RCMP,
    Post office,bowling alley,outside swimming pool.etc.

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    • Those pictures come from your town, where I have been many times. Though I do not question that there are a few services (I have seen them – primarily located on the highway that by-passes Boston Bar), you certainly cannot deny that your town is in a very serious state of decay and disrepair. Perhaps instead of being upset with those who notice, you should start/join a community group to help out the marginalized – and clean the town up. I wish you luck, no one wants to see their hometown in such a state – I should know – the town I grew up in has been reduced to one singular functioning variety store.

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