Harrison Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs is a village located at the southern end of Harrison Lake in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia. It is a member of the Fraser Valley Regional District; its immediate neighbour is the District of Kent, which includes the town of Agassiz. It is a resort community known for its hot springs and has a population of just over 1500 people. It is named after Benjamin Harrison, a former deputy governor for the Hudson's Bay Company.

The Village of Harrison Hot Springs has been a small resort community since 1886 when the opening of the Canadian Pacific Railway brought the lakeside springs within a short carriage ride of the transcontinental mainline. In its first promotion as a resort it was known as St. Alice's Well, although Europeans had discovered it (not new to indigenous communities) decades earlier when a party of goldfield-bound travelers on Harrison Lake capsized into what they thought was their doom, only to discover the lake at that spot was not freezing, but warm.

Although the resort flourished in a low-key fashion for years after this discovery was exploited by hoteliers, the Village of Harrison Hot Springs was not incorporated until 1949. Its namesake hot springs are a major attraction for tourists who come to stay at the village's spa resort.

The hot springs themselves were originally used and revered by the Sts'Ailes (Chehalis) First Nations people who live along the Harrison River nearby. There are two hot springs, the "Potash", with a temperature of 40 °C, and the "Sulphur", with a temperature of 65 °C. According to Harrison Hot Springs Resort, the waters average 1300 ppm of dissolved mineral solids, one of the highest concentrations of any mineral spring. This hot spring is one of several lining the valley of the Lillooet River and Harrison Lake. The northernmost of the Lillooet River hot springs is at Meager Creek, north of Whistler, with another well-known one to the east of Whistler at Skookumchuck Hot Springs, midway between Pemberton and Port Douglas. One feature of this chain of hot springs is that the Harrison Hot Springs vent is the most sulfuric, and there is consistently less sulfur content as one goes northwards, with the springs at Meager Creek having almost no scent at all.

Photographies by:
Shawn Nystrand - CC BY-SA 2.0
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