The single most important physical feature that has contributed to the development of the Lower Mainland over the last 200 years has been the Fraser River. Over centuries it has deposited rich soil throughout the Valley all the way to its mouth known as the Fraser Delta resulting in a fertile plain supporting agricultural efforts from family farms to huge corporate tracts. The Fraser has provided a means for transportation for both the First Nations and the more recent explorers, fur traders, and colonists until it was replaced by the railway and automobile. It played a major role in the movement of miners during the Fraser Gold Rush. As well it has been a source of much sustinence and commerce with its abundant fisheries of salmon and other species. Along its path were erected the first settlements in this area.
Hope is where the Fraser River emerges from the Fraser Canyon and flows into the Fraser Valley of which technically the Lower Mainland is a part. It is at Hope that the Coquihalla River flows in to the Fraser.