My father’s parents (Del & Hilda Harder) bought a house and some acreage in Dunster when I was a youth and, living in Valemount, I would often go to visit them there. Our extended family was scattered across B.C. and Alberta but we would always eventually find ourselves having a reunion at this special, centrally-located property.
I remember well the good times spent with aunts and uncles and cousins, going to the farmer’s markets and especially taking in the annual Ice Cream Social. All of these, along with the celebration of my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary at the community hall, were fond memories for me and so I wanted to do a little write up on this historic and unique place. For even more info on Dunster please visit the community’s website here.
Speaking of geography, Dunster was once immortalized in the pages of the National Geographic Magazine. One of the most famous photos is of John and Josie Adams watching a television set in an old abandoned car. Residents have recreated the scene with an old car and mannequins near the Dunster General Store.
|Photo Credit: VisitMcBride.ca|
|Grand Trunk Pacific Railway: Royal B.C. Museum|
The name “Dunster” was bestowed upon it by a railway official for the GTP who named it after his hometown in Somerset England. In the old country, Dunster is a civil parish located across the Bristol Channel from Wales about 32 km northwest of Taunton and has a population of about 817 people.
|GTP Station at Dunster (1920s): Wikipedia|
As of August 1st, 2015, the building has been fully restored and is operating part time as a museum receiving over 1,000 guests last year. It is also a stop on the Skeena line of the VIA Rail and is one of the only remaining stations of its kind in Canada.
|Photo Credit: The Yellowhead Pass and Its People|
The locally famous General Store was opened in 1918 and 3 years later a bridge was built to span the Fraser (“The first permanent road bridge in the Valley” MW) as the ferry was getting too busy.There is even an unofficial story about a group of older ladies who kept painting flowers on the bridge until the Department of Highways gave up repainting it and named it "The Dunster Flower Bridge".
The first Community Hall was built in 1932 and the current building just off the highway was constructed in 1979. It is, of course, famous for its farmer’s markets and annual Ice Cream Social. Dunster is truly a one of a kind place in this world and will always hold a special place in my heart.