The arts and culture scene in the Kootenay Rockies is vibrant, to say the least. Eclectic art galleries, one-of-a-kind studios, museums, Victorian-era architecture and festivals including music, food and crafts are constantly happening in the many quaint mountain towns that dot this area.
Let’s begin this tour in the town of Golden – surrounded by national parks, three mountain ranges and at the confluence of two historic rivers, located at the Highway junctions #1/95. The outdoor recreation, spectacular scenery and history in this mountain town will captivate you and keep you coming back.
With such a vibrant history and culture background, it’s no wonder Golden has so many fantastic places of interest:
|The Art Gallery of Golden displays the work of a variety of local artists, including wood turners, sculptural ceramic artists and painters – oil canvas, mountain-scapes, abstract expressions, mono and lino prints.
The Golden Museum displays artifacts dating back to 1865 and offer self-guided walking tours, as well as guided walking tours at set times through the year of Golden’s Residential Past, Historic Downtown Tour and the Cemetery Tour.
|Stroll along the Kicking Horse River Pedestrian Bridge which is the longest covered pedestrian bridge in Canada.
During the summer, a Farmers Market takes place on Wednesday and Saturday, downtown. You’ll find locally grown goods, live music and artisan wares.
Also during the summer, Kicking Horse Culture presents Summer Kicks, free outdoor concerts, every Wednesday evening at Keith King Park.
Along the way:
The village of Radium Hot Springs lies at the southern entrance to Kootenay National Park. The hot pool facilities are located in Sinclair Canyon, just a couple minutes inside the park boundary.
|Cultures in Contact, located at the Visitor Centre, offers a history and culture of the Ktunaxa Nation & Anatomy of Land exhibit.||Market on Main takes place during the summer, Fridays 4-7pm, next to the Visitor Centre. The event is home to artisans, crafters, bakers and chefs from the area.
Invermere on the Lake is a small, friendly town situated on the shores of one of the warmest lakes in the region. Spend the day at the beach but be sure to explore the impressive attractions and artisan galleries downtown:
|Pynelogs Art Gallery features the work of local artisans and artists. It also offers a cafe and gift shop. The building is over 100 years old and is the primary venue for a variety of arts related events.
Effusion Art Gallery & Glass Studio is a Canadian contemporary gallery representing artists from around the country. Their Summer Creative Series is popular – watch artists at work.
Stroll around town and visit the many art shops.
|The Windermere Valley Museum consists of 6 buildings furnished with pioneer artifacts and a fine old log CPR Station.
A Farmers Market takes place Saturday mornings during the summer. You’ll find freshly grown produce to artisan wares and entertainment.
Pothole Park, on Main Street, displays a beautiful monument of Explorer David Thompson. Learn the history – he first visited this area in 1807.
Fairmont Hot Springs offers a full-service resort with spa facilities, golf, adventure centre, lodge, RV accommodation and of course the wonderful mineral hot pool complex.
The alpine city of Kimberley is set on the western slope of the valley with the Purcell and Rocky Mountains on either side. The former mining town has recreated itself as a wonderful destination complete with golf courses, ski resort and an underground railway that highlights the history of the Sullivan Mine.
|The Kimberley Arts at Centre 64 is Kimberley’s arts and culture centre featuring art exhibitions and live performances.
Art Gallery Kimberley at The Laundromat, Caprice Fine Art, Kimberley Friends Gallery are a few of the city’s art venues. Stroll around town and visit many more.
The heritage museum displays artifacts, photographs and changing displays that depict various aspects of early life including mining and skiing.
|The Kimberley Nature Park is one of Canada’s largest municipal parks and offers an extensive network of trails.
An outstanding Farmers Market takes place from June to September on Thursday evenings. You’ll find fresh food and crafts from local farmers and artisans, live music and delicious food.
The Kimberley Underground Mining Railway is a fun family attraction which also presents the history of the Sullivan Mine and the importance of mining.
Cranbrook is the largest community in the region, the commercial centre for the valley and has one of the sunniest climates in Canada. The arrival of the railway put Cranbrook on the map and generated wealth that built the elegant homes of the Baker Hill district.
Key City Theatre is a world-class art gallery and performing arts venue. They bring the East Kootenay together for live entertainment. Here’s more arts and culture attractions for the key city:
|The superb Cranbrook History Centre houses the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, Cranbrook Archives, Royal Alexandra Hall and the Cranbrook Museum.
See historic residences in the Baker Hill area dating from 1888 included in the City Historic Walking Tour.
The Cranbrook Farmers Market takes place throughout the whole year. During the summer, the timing is every Saturday, downtown.
|Sam Steele Days takes place each year on the third weekend in June. It is a city-wide festival celebrating history and arts & culture.
The Chief Isadore Trail is a public recreation trail with active forest range and grasslands. The trail honours the history and customs of the local Indigenous community with interpretive signage.
Nearby Fort Steele Heritage Town is a fun family attraction complete with horse drawn wagon and steam train rides. The origins can be traced back to the 1864 gold rush.
If you are heading back to Golden again to spend some extra time touring the Columbia Valley, loop back on Hwy #93/95 and stop at Fort Steele Heritage Town. It’s been a family favourite attraction for decades. You’ll take a step back in time to the 1890s and experience life in the restored pioneer boomtown.