A resort town in the Fraser Valley, Harrison Hot Springs is most famous for its namesake natural mineral hot spring.
The town is located about a 90-minute drive east of Vancouver and about half an hour northeast of Chilliwack. It is part of the Lower Mainland, region comprised of Metro Vancouver (the City of Vancouver and suburbs) as well as the Fraser Valley.
As part of the Harrison River Valley, Harrison Hot Springs is part of a collective of communities spanning Agassiz, Harrison Mills, and all the communities in between. The land is shared with the traditional territories of the Sts’ ailes, Seabird Island, Sq’ewá:lxw, Cheam, Douglas, Leq’a:mel, Samahquam, Sq’ewlets, and Skatin First Nations.
The local economy is largely dependent on tourism. The views from town include mountains, a lake surrounded by forests and hills, and long sandy beaches. The lake itself is the largest in the Lower Mainland.
According to homeworthbc.ca, in October 2021 the average price of a house on Harrison Hot Springs real estate market was $574,851. In 2020, the average house price in B.C. was $848,200. There are 923 dwellings in Harrison, with 715 occupied by residents of the village. The median assessed value has increased 82 percent since 2011. (theprogress.com)
As of 2016, 1,468 people made their home in HHS. Overall, the population grew at a rate of 0.62 percent per year from 2001 to 2016.
The largest age group is between 65-69 years old, and the least represented is 85+. 55.29 percent is in the working age group between 15 to 64 years old, while 17.28 percent make up the younger population. (Stats: https://townfolio.co/bc/harrison-hot-springs/demographics) The overall median age is 58, compared to the Fraser Valley’s 41.
Harrison Hot Springs is a part of Fraser Cascade School District 78 that spans from Agassiz through to Boston Bar. Harrison Hot Springs currently has only one elementary school directly in the community in which students then go to secondary school in one of the neighbouring cities, Agassiz being the closest.
At the mention of Harrison Hot Springs, the pools are the first thing that come to mind. There are two places people can experience the warm waters; at the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and in town.
Harrison Lake is also home to two other natural hot springs, one near Port Douglas and the other at Clear Creek. Other options include going on a river safari, bald-eagle watching, and hiking in nearby parks.
In the summer Harrison Lake is popular for swimming, boating, and beach volleyball. In addition to the large lake, on the beach surrounded by sand is a fair-sized natural pool of water. Harrison Hot Springs camping is also a very popular summer activity.
Boats of various kinds can be rented at Harrison. Chartered boat tours are another option. An inflatable water playground out in the lake is open in the busy summer season.
Not far from the main downtown area is the nine-hole Harrison Resort Golf Course. The town of Agassiz is also just down the road from Harrison, and the Agassiz Speedway is on the way. It’s a small car track with races from April to November.
A 50-minute drive away, the ski resort at Sasquatch Mountain is popular during the winter.
Festivals and events include Lights on the Lake, which features Christmas illuminations and Sasquatch-themed light displays; Harrison Uncorked, a two-day wine festival in April; Sasquatch Days, a two-day June event with war canoe races, local First Nations performances and a salmon BBQ; Harrison Festival of the Arts, nine days of concerts and arts exhibits in July, and the Fraser Valley Bald Eagle Festival. The latter takes place in November and celebrates one of the largest migratory gatherings of bald eagles anywhere.
Located in the Visitor Centre, the Sasquatch Museum is filled with compelling artifacts, history, witness accounts, science, lore and myths.
In nearby Harrison Mills, the Kilby Historic Site is a five-acre recreation of life in the area over 100 years ago. Attractions include the 1906 General Store Museum, Manchester House Hotel and Post Office, gardens, and farm animals.
Local dining includes Black Forest Steak and Schnitzel House, Chantilly Gelato & Café, Copper Room, Islands Bar, and Lakeview Restaurant.
Art galleries include Ranger Station and Canwest. Boutique shops include Enchanted World of Dragonfly, which caters to the mystically inclined with crystals and minerals, books and tarot cards.