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Funky Kootenay Fun Facts

The region, in the southeast corner of British Columbia, includes natural, clean, uncrowded activities and experiences that reflect the Kootenay mountain lifestyle and culture in Canada’s west. Each community offers its own unique vibe and fascinating history. 

Here are some of our “fun facts” about many of Kootenay city, towns & villages:

~ Sculpture Capital of Canada (awarded this designation in 2014)

Photo courtesy of the Castlegar’s SculptureWalk

~ Receives more sunshine that anywhere else in British Columbia

Creston Valley
~ This community is always on Mountain Standard Time (they do not observe Daylight Saving Time)
~ Home to one of the few still standing original Grain Elevators in Canada
~ In 1864, mountain men and prospectors following the Dewdney Trail and discovered the beautiful Creston Valley

Looking out on the fertile farmland of the Creston; photo by Jeff Banman

~ Has one of the largest Bighorn Sheep populations in North America

~  The largest and oldest community in the Elk Valley

Downtown Fernie; photo by Henry Georgi

~ The Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge is Canada’s longest authentic freestanding covered timber frame bridge 

Golden’s Pedestrian Bridge; photo by Dave Best

Grey Creek
~ Gray Creek is famous for its lost gold boulder in the bay – lost in 1892

~ Lake Windermere is one of the warmest lakes in the region
~ David Thompson first visited this area in 1807 and build a trading post
~ Home to the longest skating path in Canada — The Whiteway

Invermere’s Whiteway on Lake Windermere; photo by RipTide Studios

~ Home to the SS Moyie, the oldest intact passenger sternwheeler in the world

Kaslo’s SS Moyie taken from Kootenay Lake; photo by Heidi Korven

~ The Kimberley Nature Park is one of Canada’s largest municipal parks
~ Home to the largest cuckoo clock in Canada
~ From 1917 to 2001 Kimberley was the leading producer of lead and zinc in the world

Kootenay Rockies
~ The Indigenous Tobacco Plains Band of the Ktunaxa were the first in the area and some of their artifacts and drawings can still be seen today
~ Home to 6 natural mineral hot springs

The Canadian Rocky Mountain Trench; photo by Kari Medig

~ Is known as the Number #1 Small Arts Town in Canada
~ The Diefenbunker is one of 50 atomic bomb shelters built in Canada between 1959-61, Nelson’s bomb shelter is in the basement of the Grey Building

Local artisan on display at the Craft Connection

New Denver
~ Home to the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre (a National Historic site dedicated to telling the story of over 22,00 Japanese Canadians who were forcibly relocated during World War II)

~ Home of the Largest Paddle in the World

Radium Hot Springs
~ The first recorded visit to the hot springs was by Sir George Simpson, Governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1841
~ The iron-rich cliffs in the south end of Kootenay National Park are known as the ‘Iron Gates’ (Sinclair Canyon) – they were formed by intense heat and pressure as the Canadian Rockies were being built

Sinclair Canyon in Kootenay National Park (Radium Hot Springs); photo by Zoya Lynch

Rogers Pass
~ Chic Scott was one of the first to complete the Bugaboo to Rogers Pass winter ski traverse

~  Founded in 1880 as a transportation and supply centre for the mining rush – this was bolstered by the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885 (connecting the west to the east at Craigellachie)

Revelstoke Railway Museum; photo by Bruno Long

~ The Seven Summits Trail is one of the most sought-after cross-country/all-mountain rides in North America and was awarded an International Mountain Biking Association Epic Ride Status

Seven Summits Trail in Rossland; photo by Ryan Flett

~ Home to the biggest penny in Canada

Slocan Valley
~ Sandon, today a heritage ghost town, was once the capital of the Silvery Slocan in the 1890s when Canada’s richest silver mining community grew to a population of 5,000

~ Home to the ultimate monster truck, the Terex Titan is the World’s largest tandem axle dump truck, 2 greyhound busses and 2 pickup trucks can fit into the box

Sparwood’s Monster Truck; photo by Don Weixl

~ Trail is the 2016 International 1st Place Winner in the World Competition for Communities in Bloom

Be sure to stop at a regional Visitor Centres, located in each Kootenay community, to get more information on what to do and see while visiting.

Know Before You Go – Remember to do your research and plan ahead! It’s no fun showing up to a trail that doesn’t allow dogs or being greeted with snow and high winds on the trail when you’re wearing sunscreen and shorts. Check the weather forecast, highway conditions and park/trail regulations ahead of time so you know what to bring (and what not to!) Pack your first-aid kit, snacks, water, layers and your friends. It’s better to be over-prepared than under! Are you unsure of where you’re going, things to pack and best practices? Don’t be shy – just ask! Us Kootenay folk are friendly and knowledgeable. We’ll get you on the right track with the information required to be a responsible visitor. BC Adventure Smart is a great resource to help you get informed before heading into the outdoors!

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Getting into Hot Water: Kootenay Hot Springs
~ Funky Kootenay Fun Facts
~ Funky Finds on the Powder Highway
~ Kootenay Made
~ Pit Stops for a Kootenay Road Trip
~ Quirky Attractions Only Found in the Kootenays
~ Unique Stays on a Kootenay Hot Springs Road Trip

Story by KootRocks Staffer (Shannon Harrison).  Cover/top photo courtesy of the Castlegar SculptureWalk.
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