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Highways 93 and 95; 16 km (10 miles) northeast of Cranbrook. Visitor Information: Phone (250) 417-6000; Website: www.fortsteele.ca
Fort Steele

 

Travel back in time to a pioneer boomtown of the 1890s and experience a day your family will remember forever. Tour over 60 restored homes and heritage shops at historic Fort Steele. Participate in living history as you enjoy street theater, museum displays, livestock demonstrations, live shows, steam train rides, horse-drawn wagon rides and heritage trades demonstrations, all with the backdrop of the spectacular Rocky and Purcell Mountains. 

 

The area was settled when gold was discovered on nearby Wild Horse Creek in the 1860s. After nearly 5,000 prospectors flooded the area, disputes arose with the local Ktunaxa First Nation. When tensions peaked in 1887, Superintendent Samuel Steele and the North West Mounted Police established Kootenay Post, the first west of the Rockies. Area residents later petitioned the Dominion Government to change the settlement’s name from Galbraith’s Ferry to Fort Steele in his honor.


When major silver, lead and coal deposits were discovered in 1892, more prospectors flooded the valley. Although Fort Steele rapidly became the region’s commercial and administrative center, by 1910 the town was in decline. Local citizens petitioned to protect the site in the 1950s, and Fort Steele was declared an historic park in 1961. Today, Fort Steele Heritage Town is one of BC’s most important historical attractions, with over 80,000 visitors each year.

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