Walking Tour

Season: Summer, Winter | Activity: Sightseeing
Amble through the village of Burns Lake at your own pace and discover architectural treasures of years gone by. The heritage buildings have shaped its past and forged its future into the small friendly town it is today.

The Old Hospital was built in 1931 by Mrs Gordon of the Women’s Missionary Society of the United Church of Canada and was officially opened in 1932. There was a suggestion the new hospital be named the ‘Laura Gordon Hospital’. Mrs Gordon thanked everyone but preferred it to be known as the Burns Lake Hospital. It was once the largest and finest public building between Prince George and Prince Rupert. It was famous for its fine gardens on the west side. In 1982 it was declared a heritage building and was subsequently redeveloped as an office building by its tenant and owner, the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation.

The old police building was constructed in 1922. It was the district’s official police residence, courthouse and jail until the 1950s. Later, it was renovated as a newspaper office and declared a provincial heritage building in 1979. An iron cell block once filled what is now the production room of the Lakes District News newspaper. Many believe the building is haunted. There are rumours that ‘Jack the ghost’ still resides in the building. As the story goes…Jack was a man who had actually died in the heritage home. He was incarcerated in the building when it served as the RCMP headquarters, jail and the staff sergeant’s residence.

The ‘Bucket of Blood’ was the first house to be constructed in Burns Lake. It was built by Lyster Mulvany, better known as Barney, the founder of Burns Lake. The ‘Bucket of Blood’ was occupied for several years by Barney and his wife Lillian and it was the scene of many meetings with old-timers, prospectors, land scouts, and trappers. Here the first townsite was planned and some of the first lots were purchased. The cabin became known as the ‘Bucket of Blood,’ reflecting its supposed use as a gambling club. In later years it reverted to a home for various families. The prized building is now situated at the Lakes District Museum.

The St. John’s Anglican Church, located on First Avenue, was constructed in 1927 by the resident priest at that time and was opened to the public in 1929. With a prominent hillside location overlooking downtown Burns Lake and a unique arched doorway, St. John’s and its companion building, the Old Rectory, are among the most photographed buildings on Highway 16.

The Old Forestry Buildings were constructed in 1939 and designated as heritage buildings in 1987. They are now the home of the Lakes District Museum, the Chamber of Commerce and the Burns Lake Visitor Centre. These buildings represent a style common in the forest service buildings across B.C. during the 30s and 40s.

For more information about the walking tour, stop by and pick up a map from the Burns Lake Visitor Centre.


KM from Burns Lake


540 Highway 16 W, Burns Lake, BC V0J 1E0


Trail Details

Difficulty: Easy

Get the Burns Lake Visitor Guide