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June 30, 2022

Funky Kootenay Fun Facts

Known as BC’s Mountain Playground (in the southeast corner of British Columbia) we are renowned for natural, clean, uncrowded activities and experiences that reflect the Kootenay Rockies distinctive mountain lifestyle. Each of the communities offers their own eccentric vibe and fascinating history. 

Here are some of our “fun facts” that you may not know about each of our mountain communities:

~ Sculpture Capital of Canada 

“Murmuration” by Winlaw, BC artist Peter Vogelaar; photo by David Gluns; photo courtesy of the Castlegar 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 and four wineries (Baillie-Grohman Estate, Red Bird Estate, Skimmerhorn Estate and Wynnwood Cellars Estate)
~ In 1864, mountain men and prospectors following the Dewdney Trail and discovered the beautiful Creston Valley

Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery; photo by Kari Medig

~  The largest and oldest community in the Elk Valley

Downtown Fernie with Ski Resort in the background; 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

The SS Moyie on Kootenay Lake; photo by Field & Forest

~ 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 region lies on the traditional territory of four of the Indigenous Nations: Ktunaxa, Secwepmec (Shuswap), Sinixt (Lakes), and the Sylix (Okanagan)
~ Home to 6 natural mineral hot springs
~ The Powder Highways has over 100 operators (8 alpine resorts, 13 backcountry guides, 16 backcountry huts, 23 backcountry lodges, 15 cat-ski operators, 3 community ski hills, 19 heli-ski operators and 16 Nordic ski clubs)

Halcyon Hot Springs Resort near Nakusp, BC; photo by Mitch Winton

~ 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 relocated during World War II)

~ Home of the Largest Paddle in the World

World’s Largest Paddle, south of Golden BC; photo by Mark Teasdale

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)
~ West of Revelstoke is BC’s Tallest Treehouse at the Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest’s Treehouse; photo by David Gluns

~ 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

Ghost town of Sandon (near New Denver, BC); photo by Field & Forest

~ 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

Be sure to stop at each community’s Visitor Centres – to get more information on what to do and see while visiting.

Know Before You Go – Plan ahead so you can travel safely and responsibly. Familiarize yourself with weather, road conditions, general alerts for travellers and provincial health orders & recommendations.

Related Stories
~ A Road Trip of a Lifetime: Kootenay Rockies Hot Springs
~ Adventures for All: Accessible & Adaptive Sports Road Trip

~ Colossal Things to Do & See in the Kootenays
~ Cool Ways to Travel in the Kootenays
~ Cruising Down an Open Highway: Planning your Kootenay Road Trip
~ Everything is Local
~ Kootenay Ambassadors: Mindful Explorers
~ Kootenay Made
~ Legendary Kootenay Attractions: Not to be Missed this Summer
~ Pit Stops on Your  Kootenay Road Trip
~ Quirky Attractions Only Found in the Kootenays
~ Savouring the Kootenay Rockies this Summer
~ Sculpture Capital of Canada: Castlegar, BC
~ We are All Connected

Cover/top photo courtesy of the Castlegar SculptureWalk.
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