In the late 1800s, a mining community sprang up on the banks of the Elk River, quickly becoming a centre of commerce and industry.
In 1904, a fire razed most of the downtown core but the industrious community quickly rebuilt the town with many impressive new buildings including a large courthouse, brewery and several music halls.
An even bigger fire swept through the city on August 1, 1903, destroying almost every building in its path.
The resulting ordinance that new structures should be built from fireproof materials resulted in a historic downtown area with many buildings featuring Italianate or Edwardian-inspired architecture. While some of the buildings have been lost to the march of progress over the years, much of the current downtown area is a snapshot of the period directly following the 1908 fire, with most of the historic buildings dating to 1909-1914.
Follow the Heritage Way Tour to discover the best of Fernie’s preserved buildings, their history and current use. Copies of the Walking Tour can be picked up at the Fernie Museum or Visitor Information Centre or found in the pages of the Fernie & Elk Valley Cultural Guide.
Hosted tours are available in the summer months by special request.