Would you like to travel back in time? Then choose your own adventure by visiting local heritage sites as you discover the history of the Kootenay Arts communities.
Creston: Learn About Local Aboriginal Peoples
Starting in Creston, you have the opportunity to learn the story and history of the local Aboriginal Peoples. The Yaqan Nuki Heritage Centre is located in the Legend Logos building. From artistic buckskin dress and beadwork, to the unique sturgeon-nosed canoe, there is something for everyone to learn about the peoples and the area. The Creston Museum is also an excellent spot for discovering more about the history of the Creston Valley.
Fernie: Heritage Sites Galore
From Creston you have two choices – you could set off toward Fernie or head the other direction toward Rossland. If you go to Fernie, make sure you visit their historic downtown. You can do the Fernie self-guided heritage walking tour. Guided tours are also available from the Fernie Museum on weekends in July and August. Be sure to also check out the Fernie Heritage Library in the original Post Office building.
Rossland: A Pioneer’s Paradise
If you head toward Rossland, be prepared for a deep exploration into the heritage and architectural art of this region. The beginnings of the small town are linked to both the discovery and mining of gold in the surrounding mountains. As you explore, be sure to stop at the Rossland Miners’ Union Hall or the Flying Steamshovel.
Castlegar: Historic Jewel of the Region
From Rossland, drive north toward Castlegar and go for a visit to Zuckerberg Island Heritage Park. There have been many inhabitants on the island, from over two thousand years ago when the Lakes Salish people first fished and built their winter pit houses here. After that, drive over to the Brilliant Bridge Regional Park. The Brilliant Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Kootenay River constructed by the Doukhobor community in 1913 and restored for use in 2009.
The Doukhobor Discovery Center is located off of highway 3 and is a heritage site and museum portraying the life of the doukhobor settlers in the early 1900’s. Consisting of several buildings housing relics and items that the doukhobors used during that time period.
Located just beside the downtown railway the Castlegar Railway Station was a bustling hub of activity and travel that established Castlegar as a transportation hub until it was closed down. Then it was bought and restored from 1930 to 1990. Then it reopened to the public as a museum portraying the history of Castlegar and the Station.
Nelson & Kootenay Lake: Something for Everyone
From Castlegar you also have two choices in terms of where to go next. You could head up north towards the Rockies or east toward Nelson and the heart of the Kootenays. If you choose to toward Nelson, make a stop at the Verigin Memorial Park, a Doukhobor burial site and tranquil flower garden. Once you’re in Nelson, there are many historic sites to visit. You may wish to start learning about the heritage of the area with a self guided tour. You will not want to miss the Number 23 Streetcar that still runs along Lakeside park. Also, poke your head into the Chamber of Mines of Eastern British Columbia. As enthusiasts for information, they have a resource library with an extensive collection of geological information and maps, as well as rock and mineral specimens. Touchstones Nelson is another great resource to immerse yourself in the history of the region. They have a permanent museum and two rotating exhibition galleries showcasing both local and outside artists.
The SS Moyie, located in Kaslo, is open for you to relive the days when passenger sternwheelers took people up and down the Kootenay River. If you are on a real adventure, be sure to pass through Kaslo and go straight on up to Lardeau to visit their ghost towns. However, if your final stop is Kaslo, The Langham is a multi-award winning centre which does an excellent job of bringing to life that period of time in history.
Arrow Slocan: A Pass Through Time
If you go north through New Denver, you can bear witness to a National Historic Site which is dedicated to telling the sombre story of over 22,000 Japanese Canadians who were forcibly relocated during World War II.
Revelstoke: Jump Into History
Driving up to Revelstoke, The Nels Nelsen Ski Jump is a heritage site that has a lighter note. It was last used 40 years ago, but visitors can step into a sculpted pair of Nels’ Knickers, a competitor’s bib and jumping skis at the top of the ski jump. Pressing on even further into the Rockies, to the Rogers Pass National Historic Site. The abandoned Canadian Pacific Railway line still slices through the majestic Selkirk Mountains and you can hike under the old growth cedar trees and think about the first mode of transportation in the area that connected a nation from coast-to-coast.
The Kootenay Arts communities are filled with history and heritage sites that are bound to have you learning a lot whilst having fun. Check out the Kootenay Arts Events Calendar to see what’s happening in these communities when you’re in the area.