[Hope, BC, Canada] — “Chainsaw” and “art” are words you don’t often find used together in the same sentence. Unless you happen to be a big fan of the 70s horror film “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre,” of course.

If you haven’t been to the town of Hope, in Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia, then you’re in for a double treat: not only is Hope the “Chainsaw Carving Capital of the World,” it’s also the location where the movie  “Rambo: First Blood” was filmed in 1981 (I don’t believe there were any chainsaws involved in that, however).

Hope is located at the edge of the Fraser Canyon, surrounded by the Coast and Cascade Mountains. The place is littered — well, not literally littered, but alliteratively littered in a less literal, more figurative sense — with the work of mad chainsaw artists. Well, since I’m inserting so many qualifiers here, the artists probably weren’t really mad — maybe slightly pissed off, is all — but more accurately, they were fanatical about creating art out of massive tree trunks, using the common, ordinary, household-variety Texas Chain Saw Massacre-type chainsaw.

Consequently, more than 50 examples of the chainsaw artists’ finest dot Hope’s tiny downtown. Most of the carvings reflect natural or historic themes from the area; wolves, giant bears, and whatnot.

I passed through the city last year on a motorcycle while writing an article for HOG magazine (recently published in the Spring ’12 issue). Hope is part of British Columbia’s spectacular “Sea to Sky” route, beginning in Vancouver, winding through Fraser Valley and along part of Canada’s historic Gold Rush Trail, up through Lillooet  and descending through Whistler, from the mountains to the coast of Vancouver.

If you’re in the area, it’s well worth stopping in Hope — a scenic small town with some really big chainsaw carvings.

Isn’t it time we all paid homage to the art of the chainsaw?

For more information:

British Columbia official tourism:  http://www.hellobc.com/hope.aspx

 

This family visiting from Taiwan was excited to see a Harley!

And let's not forget about Rambo: First Blood either

 

About Glen Abbott
Glen Abbott is a Florida-based travel writer & photographer specializing in motorcycle touring and travel. He is a columnist for Harley-Davidson's HOG and American Iron's Motorcycle Bagger, and his travel features appear regularly in those and other publications.

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9 Comments
  1. Rose Campbell

    February 2, 2013

    I first saw chainsaw carvings in Hope in 1963, presumably before Peter Ryan. Can anyone tell me who the original carver was & what the trees had died of, leading to their trunks being immortalized by his skills? I would appreciate an email response from anyone who knows about the beginnings of these carvings as I’ve lost my long-saved newspaper cuttings about them.

  2. Ayngelina

    April 18, 2012

    That is hilarious, I’m Canadian but I haven’t seen these kitschy things.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Where have all the farmers gone?

  3. Cathy Sweeney

    April 17, 2012

    That’s actually pretty impressive carving work, but I I tend to steer clear of anyone wielding a chainsaw. I’ve never seen the movie, but get the general idea. :) I think I like the bear best of all.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..Mystery, History and CuriOdyssey

  4. I find chainsaw are truly amazing. How do they saw such beautiful things out of a log of wood? I’ll never understand it but will always enjoy seeing them.
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista recently posted..Off the Beaten Path in Rostock Germany

  5. inka

    April 17, 2012

    The art of chainsaw is a new one to me. Very interesting. Being my morbid self I wonder how many fingers of the artists the art has claimed.
    inka recently posted..Home, sweet home – Didim/Turkey

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