This picture from early 1984 shows Ashcroft RCMP highway patrol officers in front of the “last stop sign” in Cache Creek shortly before it was removed on Feb. 4, 1984. (from l) Sgt. Deane Cole with Constables Mike Orton, Bill Lowndes, Peter Forbes, Brad Thompson, and Randy McEwen. (Photo credit: Submitted)

Research casts ‘last stop sign on Trans-Canada’ claim into doubt

Sign was removed from junction of Highways 1 and 97 in Cache Creek in February 1984

It has long been held that the stop sign at the junction of Highways 1 and 97 in Cache Creek was the last stop sign on the entire length of the Trans-Canada Highway when it was removed in early 1984.

However, a search of the Journal archives reveals that the sign had a rival: another stop sign on the Trans-Canada Highway in Prince Edward Island, that was also due for removal and replacement by traffic lights at about the same time.

In light of the sign’s presumed historical significance as the last stop sign on the Trans-Canada, Cache Creek council decided to mark the historical occasion with a special event.

“I think we should have all of council and as many press and media as we can get and make it a very special occasion,” Cache Creek alderman Bob Gieselman told the Journal for an article published in the Jan. 31, 1984 issue. “CFJC-TV has already said they would be here.”

The article noted that a number of dignitaries — including Yale-Lillooet MLA Tom Waterland (Minister of Forests), Cariboo MLA Alex Fraser (Minister of Highways), and Kamloops MLA Claude Richmond (Minister of Tourism) — had been invited to witness the removal of the stop sign at a ceremony on Feb. 4. Although the traffic lights had been in place for “a couple of months” at that point, Gieselman said that the Dept. of Highways had agreed to come out and turn them off, then turn them back on again when the stop sign was removed.

In something of a blow, the article also revealed that some digging by the Ministry of Highways had uncovered the stop sign in PEI, casting into doubt Cache Creek’s “last stop sign on the Trans-Canada” claim. Instead, the sign was referred to as “one of the last” stop signs on the coast-to-coast highway.

Waterland was the only provincial government representative who was able to attend on Feb. 4, along with Gieselman, Cache Creek mayor Jim Smith, district highways manager Errol Redman, and Cache Creek Chamber of Commerce president Chris Berkey. In the Feb. 7, 1984 issue it was noted that a “small but enthusiastic” crowd was also on hand, with a no-host lunch following at the Voyageur Restaurant, which was part of the Esso gas station site most recently occupied by Chum’s, across the street from the stop sign’s location.

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