YALE, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Population: 186 (2006 census); 136 (2011 Census)
Lady Franklin Rock in the Fraser River is named after Lady Jane Franklin (1791-1875), the wife of explorer John Franklin who went missing in the Canadian Arctic in 1845 trying to navigate the unexplored Northwest Passage. She financed 7 expeditions between 1850 and 1875 to search for the remains of her husband. The rock was named after her when she visited Yale during the Fraser Canyon gold rush of 1857-1858. Lady Franklin Rock obstructed paddlewheeler steamers from going farther upstream, resulting in Yale becoming an important pioneer settlement as the trailhead north into the Fraser Canyon.
The Gravesite of Yale pioneer Edward ‘Ned’ Stout (1824-1924) is located at the Pioneer Cemetery. Probably the most famous of the 30,000 odd miners involved in the Fraser River gold rush of 1858, Stout barely survived the Fraser Canyon War of that same year when he was ambushed and hit by seven poisoned arrows. He later headed north to Barkerville and was in the mining party that discovered Williams Creek, the richest creek in the area. After his mining days, he returned to Yale to retire. He died at the ripe age of 99 years, proud he had never drank nor smoked a day in his life.
Built sometime around 1863 by the Royal Engineers, the Anglican Church of St. John the Divine is the second oldest church on the mainland of British Columbia still standing on its original site. It is located adjacent to the Yale Historic Museum. It was facing demolition as it approached its 90th year until donations collected from across Canada resulted in a complete renovation which took place in 1953. Anglican worship services were held at the church from 1863 until it was closed in 1976. The church features the walls and rafters of the original structure as well a pulpit which was added during the renovations. In the vestry is stored a beautiful collection of church linens and vestments. These were all stitched by hand by the students of the All Hallows boarding school for girls, which existed in Yale from its opening in 1890 until its closure in 1920. A rectory used to stand next to the church but the building was demolished in 1940 – all that remains is its stone foundation which can still be seen.
Sawmill Creek is located along the Trans-Canada Highway #1 between Yale and Spuzzum. It is one of the prettiest creeks along the highway in the Fraser Canyon – although easy to miss if you are not looking for it as well as not the easiest to photograph. Usually the traffic along the highway (and no walkway) makes it dangerous to walk out on the narrow bridge, but during a trip through Yale in May 2013, with no one around for miles on the highway at 7:00am, I was able to stop and managed to snap some photographs of the creek during spring run-off.